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The Boston Globe

Television

The towers of TV

Watching “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” and “Modern Family,” you have to give props to Christopher Guest.

With his mockumentary films, including “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman,” as well as “This Is Spinal Tap,” which he co-wrote, Guest defined the faux verite format that’s so popular now on TV. He found fresh wit by rejecting the scripted one-liners and the careful staging of old-school comedy, in favor of loose rhythms and character humor. Mockumentary sitcoms, with their hand-held effects, simply bring us into the presence of rare birds such as Ron Swanson of “Parks and Recreation” so that we can watch their amusing idiosyncrasies emerge.

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