In an election year, there is ample reason to feel depressed about politics and the people involved in it. So it was doubly welcome to have this full-hearted, brilliant civil-servant sitcom expanding its purview from the Pawnee, Ind., parks department to the city council and Washington itself. In the first half of 2012, it took Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) through a bumpy but successful campaign against a local candy-company scion (Paul Rudd); in the second half, it sent her boyfriend and campaign manager, Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), to the capital and found time to get...

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