More than a couple of internet critics noticed that “Parks and Recreation” had much of the action take place around a Model U.N., about a month after the show’s lead-in, “Community,” also had a major part of an episode revolve around a Model U.N. Who knew such a nerdy high school and college pursuit would be so popular?
The coincidence had us curious, so we went to “Parks” executive producer Mike Schur to find out if they knew about “Community’s” episode while they were planning theirs.
“We heard that they had one as well (this was at the very beginning of the year) so I contacted (“Community” executive producers) Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan,” Schur wrote in an e-mail. ”They were nice enough to send me the script they were shooting so I could make sure we didn’t do any of the same jokes. It was a nice NBC Thursday cooperation moment.” (We dropped a line to “Community” creator Dan Harmon about it, but so far he hasn’t gotten back to us.)
Of course, the question that needs to be answered is: who did a better Model U.N.? Let’s do a quick tale of the tape:
“Community” had Martin Starr playing Prof. Cligoris (either pronunciation is correct) vs. “Parks’” bickering couple Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott)
Advantage: “Community,” if only because Cligoris’ name made for a heck of a great throwaway joke.
Watch the “Parks and Rec” episode “The Treaty”:
“Community’s” Model U.N. split into parallel Earths, with the study group’s Earth 2 managing to negotiate a peace treaty with the other students’ original. “Parks” had Andy (Chris Pratt) trading his military to various nations for an army of lions.
Advantage: “Parks.” Don’t you wish that arms-for-lions stipulations were a part of real-life diplomatic negotiations?
On “Parks,” Leslie and Ben let their breakup and disagreement on whether they should stay friends get to the point where Denmark (Leslie) is declaring war on Peru (Ben). On “Community,” the semi-icky attraction between Jeff (Joel McHale) and Annie (Alison Brie) is explored, with Jeff blurting the line, “Annie, stop! You’re acting like a little schoolgirl and not in a hot way!”
Advantage: The “Parks” relationship drama is more mature and doesn’t have the May-August dynamic of Jeff-Annie. This one goes to “Parks.”
Watch a behind-the-scenes video of “Community’s” Model U.N. episode:
On “Community,” Britta (Gillian Jacobs) tries to reconnect with her more rebellious past by protesting in a dog cage, and she’s picked up by Greendale’s newest security guard, Chang (Ken Jeong). On “Parks,” we have the former lovers’ spat as well as April (Aubrey Plaza) representing the moon.
Advantage: “Community.” The sight of Britta in a cage outdoes April’s homemade moon hat, but only barely.
So, it looks like a draw. Go back and watch both episodes and see for yourself who did it better…