Tuned In

Dead Tree Alert: Dept. of Homeland Sincerity

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Dean Hendler / NBC

When I first pitched my editors for a return review of Parks and Recreation in its third season, the last thing I expected is that the show would end up being politically timely. But while TV’s best sitcom is scarcely a hard-hitting political statement, it’s hard to avoid the coincidence of a show about quirky Midwest bureaucrats fighting a budget crunch:

Government bureaucracy is not a popular field in the best of times, and these are not the best of times for bureaucrats. Money’s tight. Public unions are at war with governors. Asked last month about potential job losses from proposed federal spending cuts, Speaker of the House John Boehner replied, “So be it.”

In this environment, you would think that if a sitcom about city government were to work, it would have to be a vicious satire. Parks and Recreation is not such a show. Set in the parks department of small-town Pawnee, Ind., led by eager civil servant Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), it’s full of heart, offbeat humanity and — not to get political — hope…

My review looks ahead to next week’s “Harvest Festival” episode of Parks and Rec, which I’ve seen and which is fantastic. Whatever your view of public unions, I urge you to take advantage of this comedy stimulus.