As a public art nerd and massive Parks and Recreation fan, the good people at NBC have made my week and published Leslie Knope’s guide to the murals of Pioneer Hall. As an advocate for complete and proper crediting, though, I’m disappointed that Ms. Knope’s guide doesn’t provide any information on the artist behind these fine works, only on the events they represent. Who is this genius of Pawnee? Pretty much the only context we do get is that the painter behind one of the murals isn’t Jewish. And not that I fetishize authorial intent or anything, but I would like to have some sense of the artist’s vision, and the role of state sponsorship in shaping the finished product.
Seriously, though, I love this sort of transmedia worldbuilding. I’ve always thought that the secret to Bravo’s success was the fact that they recognize that folks want to live in the world of their favorite pop culture, and so they built shows where, if you had enough money, you could hire the stars to flip your house, cook your food, cut your hair, style you for an event, find you a spouse, or sell you art. You can’t really do that with Pawnee or Greendale, but you can create a temporary illusion to that effect. That’s a real strength of NBC shows. And I hope whatever direction Bob Greenblatt takes the network in, he appreciates that level of attachment.