A&E // 2008 // 154 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ian Visser (Retired) // August 6th, 2008
"The Philadelphia Parking Authority are a bunch of jerk-offs!" -- Angry citizen
You know what people hate? Parking tickets. You know what else they hate? Getting their cars towed. You know what they hate the most of all? The people who give out those tickets and do the towing. Those people would be the men and women of the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA), who roam the mean streets of their city enforcing parking laws. Spend some time with these enforcement officers, booters, towers, and lot attendants and you'll get a chance to see what it's like to work in a job that's a magnet for non-stop abuse.
"It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it" is the refrain you hear over and over during the course of this show. Watching PPA employees deal with enraged and confused citizens who have had their vehicles ticketed or seized, it soon becomes clear that the "City of Brotherly Love" has very little love for these public servants. After hearing some of their war stories, it's no surprise that most PPA workers reconcile their daily grind with the knowledge that a decent pension is waiting for them upon retirement.
Parking Wars: The Best of Season One could have been a show with a dark, miserable slant, but A&E has gone the other way and turned it into something of a farce-like comedy. The raging customers and confrontations are still on display, but for the most part the tone is set by the (generally) easy-going PPA employees who just shrug-and-grin at the madness that swirls around them. They've seen and heard it all before and most approach the job with a kind of Zen-like resignation. The show is also punched up with sound effects and pop-up statistics on parking in Philadelphia, which lends a further breezy touch to the proceedings.
That being said, this isn't necessarily a program for the kids. Although there are no physical confrontations portrayed in the show, there's still plenty of angry yelling and people acting irrationally. Curse words are bleeped out, but there are enough of them that some segments start to sound like a Morse code dispatch.
On the technical side, the show looks great. The video image is very clean with no obvious defects, and the 2-channel audio track is clear and without distortion or noise. Seventeen bonus scenes are included to flesh out some of the employee's day-to-day activities and deliver behind-the-scenes information about the PPA itself.
But A&E, what's up with the "best of" nature of this collection? Why not release the entire season so fans can enjoy their favorite moments? I realize that Parking Wars isn't exactly The Sopranos when it comes to quality and appreciation, but that's no reason to only give viewers a measly seven episodes.
Parking Wars: The Best of Season One is pardoned for creating an entertaining viewing experience, but slapped with a $41 ticket for failing to provide a full complement of episodes.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 154 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus scenes
* Official Site