Sady Doyle

Wrote a book.

The Utopian Vision of Pawnee, Indiana: The Baffler

Parks and Recreation, now entering its final season on NBC, has always represented a very particular, very liberal fantasy about how government should work.

Though the city of Pawnee, Indiana is broadly drawn to the point of caricature—every branch of government seems to have its own set of quirks, from the stoned dudes of Animal Control to the sleazeballs who work in Sewage—it’s also, in its way, a utopia. In the world of Parks and Recreation,government bureaucrats are all good people who passionately love their town and its citizens. They may disagree, but at the end of the day, nothing can stop them from working together to make Pawnee a better place to live.

In the show’s new season, this vision is laid out more explicitly than ever. It seems to be planning to close its run with one big, final (and weirdly anti-capitalist) statement about what government should be.

Read more at The Baffler. 

Page by Sady Doyle. Photos by B. Michael Payne.