Parks and Recreation is an NBC sitcom somewhat similar in premise to The Office, but with the focus being on government politics rather than business politics. It's from the same people who do SNL and The Office so go figure.
First off, the first few episodes are bad, but once you get through the first 4-6 episodes the show is nearly as good as The Office, and starts to come into its own. The series suffers in the beginning because it was trying way too hard to be the second coming of The Office. The show is shot documentary style, like The Office, with characters giving side interviews. Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live plays Leslie Knope, the leader of the Parks Department. Amy's problem in the first few episodes is that she came off less like a sitcom character and more like an SNL Skit character by overacting too much. Will Sasso from Mad TV has the same problem. Anyway, the Leslie character starts off as basically a female version of Michael Scott before hitting her own stride later on.
Rashida Jones (Karen Filipelli from The Office) plays Ann Perkins, but early on you can't really tell the difference between her Ann Perkins character and the character that she played on The Office (Karen Filipelli). As the show wears on though, she starts to distinguish Ann Perkins from Karen Filipelli.
Another thing that plagued Parks and Recreation early on was miscasting. Paul Schneider played Mark Brendanawicz, who was given the back story of a bad boy/playboy but it wasn't believable because Mark's character had absolutely no personality and came off more like a poor man's Jim Halpert. He was supposed to be this handsome playboy, but he just came off like a geek with no personality.
April Ludgate is basically the ANTI-Kelly Kapoor. She's the exact opposite. While Kelly had the personality of a mindless, shopaholic, shallow tween... April is a sarcastic, quiet, emo kid who doesn't care about anything.
Ron Swanson is like a more manly Dwight Schrute. He's not quite as over-the-top, but he fills the same sort of anti-government survivalist role and he's hilarious.
Jerry Gergich is basically the punching bag of the group. Everyone picks on him similarly to Phyllis on The Office.
Tom Haverford is another comedic character who hits it well. He's sort of like a younger more immature Indian version of Barney Stinson.
Andy Dwyer is the resident moron that every sitcom has who seems to get dumber as the show wears on.
Donna Meagle sort of fills comedic voids. She's alright too.
Once the second season starts, the show gets really good. I urge EVERYONE who likes The Office to just hold on through the first season (Luckily, season one is only 6 episodes). The show takes about 6-8 episodes to really start to get into it. The series gets even better once Rob Lowe and Adam Scott join the cast as the "good cop/bad cop" supervisors who come in to fix the department. PLEASE give this show a chance. It's awesome once you get out of the first season.