Is The Office Cast Better than the Parks and Recreation Cast?

The Office cast during the series' final episode

NBC has yet to find a comedy worthy of living up to the laughs that Seinfeld, Friends, and Will & Grace brought the network back in the late 90’s and early 00’s.  The last successful sitcoms shown on NBC are The Office and Parks and Recreation.  Since The Office ended its nine season run in 2013 and Parks and Recreation is set to end in 2015, the Peacock network is hoping to find a winner with Marry Me starring Casey Wilson and Ken Marino, A to Z starring Cristin Milioti, and Bad Judge starring Kate Walsh.

There has been a debate about which Greg Daniels and Michael Schur comedy has the better cast. We at TV Overmind took it upon ourselves to compare 10 characters from each show and see would be the overall victor.  Here is what we came up with:

1. Michael Scott (Steve Carell) vs. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler)

There is no denying that both Carell and Poehler are comedic legends.  Carell’s Scott is the manager you wish you never had, but enjoy watching his crazy antics every week.  Poehler’s Knope, though very humeorus, is more concerned with making sure she does a good job in her role as the Deputy Director at the Parks and Recreation Department than making her co-workers laugh.  Since we are talking about laughs here, Carell has to get the win.  He has even had alter-ego’s like Prison Mike pop up during his weekly staff meeting and still found time to include all of his employee’s in his home movie Threat-Level Midnight. Though she loves her employees as much as Michael does, Leslie is more professional in the work-place and not as comedic.

Winner: Michael Scott – The Office 1 Parks and Recreation 0

2. Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) vs. Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe)

I think it would be safe to say that no one would want to work with Dwight Schrute or Chris Traeger, but for very different reasons.  Though Dwight has much love for Dunder Mifflin and Michael Scott, he was not as loving to his co-workers, especially Jim.  Chris is the always positive person on Parks and Recreation. He would be the kind of co-worker who you would not be able to stand if you were in a bad mood.  Chris is also competitive, which is a good trait to have in the working world, but does not come across as very funny on television. Lowe is an excellent actor, but was never really able to show off his comedic talents in this role.  He was more a secondary character, while Dwight was able to shine through in every episode.  Wilson worked best with John Krasinski as Dwight would constantly get pranked by Jim.  As a result, Dwight provided more laughs than Chris did.

Winner: Dwight Schrute — The Office 2 Parks and Recreation 0

3. Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) vs. Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott)

Jim and Ben are the most relatable male characters on The Office and Parks and Recreation.  You felt for Jim in the earlier seasons when he watched his future wife date another co-worker and cried when he proposed and later married Pam.  The same could be said of Ben, who fell in love with Leslie and the two had to figure out how to remain together through a long distance relationship and not being allowed to date due to a policy that forbids office romances. In the end, the two were able to wed and now have triplets. When you really think about it, Jim and Ben are almost the exact same person. So how are we able to compare who is better?  I think if we take a look at all the office pranks Jim pulled off in nine years, you can see who the real winner would be.  Jim was able to put Dwight’s stapler in in Jell-o mold, convince him it was Friday when it was Thursday and made him late for work, and tricked him into believing he had been recruited by the CIA.

Winner: Jim Halpert — The Office 3 Parks and Recreation 0

4. Pam Beesly Halpert (Jenna Fischer) vs. Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones)

Rashida Jones had the luxury of appearing on both The Office and Parks and Recreation. Jones played Karen, who was Jim’s love interest during season three and made random appearances up until season seven. Whether we were talking about Ann or Karen, neither one would be able to win in the competition against Pam.  One of the reasons Ann would not win in this competition is the fact that Jones was not given enough material to work with to be humorous.  She was usually playing the straight man to either Andy or Leslie.  The straight man act works for some characters (think Angela (Angela Kinsey) from The Office), but not in this case.  Also, Fischer was able to play off Dwight and Jim, but still show off her comedic abilities.  Another plus for The Office character was how much she grew over the course of the show.  She went from being a timid receptionist, to a hard-working office administrator and mother of two.  Though Ann did give birth in season 6, her character lacked depth.

Winner: Pam Beesly Halpert — The Office 4 Parks and Recreation 0

5. Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) and Ryan Howard (B.J.Novak) vs. Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman)

Jan and Ryan were both the Corporate Supervisor’s for Dunder Mifflin, while Ron Swanson is the Director of the Pawnee Department of Parks and Recreation.  Ron is probably the exact opposite of Leslie Knope in their love for the government, but that does not stop Ron for respecting his colleague.  The same cannot be said by either Jan or Ryan, who both used their power to get what they wanted from their employees. As a result, both lost their jobs with the company.  Aside from being a better supervisor than Jan and Ryan, Ron says things like, “I’m Ron (expletive) Swanson. I was born ready,” or “When people get a little too chummy with me I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don’t really care about them.”  Only a true winner can get away with saying things like that.

Winner: Ron Swanson — The Office 4 Parks and Recreation 1

Looks like The Office has taken an early lead.

The main cast of The Office

6. Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) vs. Jerry Gergich (Jim O’Heir)

Stanley is a Salesman at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company and is considered one of the secondary characters on The Office. His counterpart on Parks and Recreation would be Jerry Gergich, who works in the Parks Department.  Stanley is known for doing crossword puzzles, counting down the days until retirement, having extra-marital relationships, and telling people to “shove it up your butt.”  Jerry is known for being called Larry and Terry, having a beautiful wife and three daughters, and being the guy in the office everyone picks on.  Stanley is probably the most stubborn man you will ever meet, while Jerry is the nicest.  Though the Parks Department workers all like Jerry, they are constantly mocking him for being old, overweight, and clumsy.  O’Heir even partakes in the same type of slapstick humor that John Ritter would pull on every single episode of Three’s Company.

Winner: Jerry Gergich The Office 4 Parks and Recreation 2

7. Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) vs. Donna Meagle (Retta)

The first and early second season version of Kelly Kappor on The Office is not the hilarious version we fell in love with.  The same goes for Donna Megale, who early on in Parks and Recreation was merely an extra.  The two are very similar in their love of pop culture and fashion, Donna is even the co-founder of “Treat Yo’Self” an annual spa and shopping excursion her and Tom celebrate.  Kelly spends most of her day pinning over Ryan Howard. The two have a love-hate relationship — Kelly loves Ryan and Ryan hates that.  Though Retta is comedic gold, the trophy goes to Kaling’s portrayal of Kelly Kapoor.  It helps that Kaling was a writer and producer on The Office. If I was writing for a television show, I would make sure the character I was going to be playing was one of the funniest and that is exactly what Kaling did. Now we get to enjoy her every week on The Mindy Project.

Winner: Kelly Kapoor The Office 5 Parks and Recreation 2

8. Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) vs. Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari)

It is hard to pick which of the two is better between The Office’s Andy Bernard or Parks and Recreation‘s Tom Haverford. Both characters are probably my least favorite on both shows, so I might have to pick the lesser of two evils.  Helms joined the cast of The Office during the 3rd season when Jim transferred to the Stamford office. When Stamford closed, Jim, Karen (Rashida Jones) and Andy relocated to the Scranton branch.  During his time in Scranton, Andy managed to mess up a relationship with the beautiful Erin and go AWOL from his manager post all while wearing horrible work attire and talking about his time at Cornell.  Not only does Tom have a better sense of style, he is also not as annoying as Andy was, especially during the final two seasons of The Office’s run.  Personally, I prefer the comedy of Ed Helms over Aziz Ansari, but Tom is more tolerable than Andy.

Winner: Tom Haverford – The Office 5 Parks and Recreation 3

9. Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) vs. Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt)

It would appear that 2014 is the year of Chris Pratt. Not only did Pratt deliver a hilarious performance as Andy Dwyer during Parks and Recreation‘s sixth season he also dominated at the box office starring in such hits movies as The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy.  But does Andy Dwyer compare to the pratfalls of Accountant Kevin Malone, who has been described by his co-workers as Cooke Monster? Let’s take a look at some of the mishaps both have experienced.  Kevin spilled a huge pot of chili on the ground and then fell in it, was confused for a mentally handicapped person, and accidentally shredded his own credit card.  Andy fell into a construction pit and broke both of his legs, lived in a tent to be closer to Ann, and failed the personality portion of the exam to become a police officer.  Comparing the two, it looks like the winner is Andy Dwyer.  He even showed up to Ann’s house naked and surprised Leslie at the door. In real life, Chris Pratt was actually naked when he filmed this scene, so the surprised look you see on Amy Poehler’s face is real.

Winner: Andy Dwyer — The Office 5 Parks and Recreation 4

We are down to the final round! Can Parks and Recreation pull out another win to tie the contest or will The Office become the overall winner to the Office/Parks and Rec debate?

10. Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper) vs. April Ludgate

When Erin arrived on the scene at the end of season 5, viewers were not exactly sure if she would be able to fill the shoes of Pam Beesly at the receptionist desk she vacated to join the Michael Scott Paper Company. Luckily, Erin was not only sweet but funny. She would deliver lines such as, “My last job was at a Taco Bell Express, but then it became a regular Taco Bell, and I don’t know, I couldn’t keep up,” or “Disposable cameras are fun, although it does seem wasteful and you don’t ever get to see you pictures. If it’s an important event, that you want to remember, I recommend using a real camera.” April has also had her share of amusing quotes including, “It’s not mean if he doesn’t know about it. It’s like talking about people behind their backs. Everybody wins!” or “I don’t want to do things. I want not to do things.” If April were an actual person there is no way her bad attitude and poor work ethic would be tolerable in the workplace. Erin is the winner because she is funny and her positive humor has won us over. We do love Ellie and Aubrey equally, though.

Winner: Erin Hannon - The Office 6 Parks and Recreation 4

Overall Winner: The Office

Who do you think has the better cast?

Photos by Chris Haston/NBC and NBC.com


3 Comments

  1. Carrie November 3, 2014
  2. Melanie August 13, 2015
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