Parks and Recreation: 2x1

Pawnee Zoo

“Pawnee Zoo” is the second season premiere of the American comedy television series Parks and Recreation, and the seventh overall episode of the series. It originally aired on NBC in the United States on September 17, 2009. In the episode, Leslie accidentally takes a stand in favor of same-sex marriage when she holds a marriage for two male penguins during a publicity stunt for the zoo.

The episode was written by Norm Hiscock and directed by Paul Feig. The writing staff sought to address more topical issues during the second season, and the gay marriage plot was inspired by the real-life pairing of Harry and Pepper, a pair of romantically involved male penguins at the San Francisco Zoo. Although Hiscock said he was focused more strongly on comedy than making a political or social statement, both the script and the show’s protagonist ultimately takes a position in favor of same-sex marriage.

“Pawnee Zoo” received generally positive reviews, with several commentators claiming it showed improvement and growth compared to the show’s first season, which received lukewarm reviews. According to Nielsen Media Research, “Pawnee Zoo” was watched by 5 million households. Among viewers aged between 18 and 49, the episode was seen by 30 percent fewer viewers than the first season pilot episode. In March 2010, “Pawnee Zoo” won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Individual Episode.

Sep. 17, 2009
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