TV Time: Parks and Recreation 5.10

Title Two Parties

Two-Sentence Summary Leslie spends the first half of her bachelorette party attempting to use the strained relationship between the Wamapokes and the people of Pawnee to halt construction of a new Paunch Burger where Pawnee Commons is supposed to be, and then she spends the second half trying to undo what she did. Ben’s bachelor party is far more successful, with each of the men (Tom, Andy, Jerry, Ron, and, of course Ben) being treated by Chris to the bachelor party of his dreams.

Favorite Line “Maybe it’s April. Maybe I die—skydiving explosion—and then you go marry April. And it makes me sad, but if she’s gonna be with somebody, I’d like it to be you…Only I didn’t really die. I was faking it. And I come back. I spy on you from my red Corvette, and I’m planning to kick your ass. But I see how happy you make her. And I have to walk away, I have to. And I do…slowly, in a rainstorm…But as time goes by, it eats away at me—you’re out living it up with my wife and I’m alone in a cave training…I thought you were my friend! I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND!” (Andy, telling Chris that someday he’ll find the girl of his dreams)

My Thoughts I am in love with this episode. More specifically, I am in love with half of this episode and in a state of pleasant “like” with the other half. Seriously, if the half of the episode dealing with the bachelor party was a man, I would ask it to be my Catan-playing, vodka-flash-consuming, Colts-loving, ice-cream-dropping, steak-eating husband right now. I want more than an extended episode, more than deleted scenes. I want to petition whoever I need to petition in order for there to be a full-length movie of nothing but these fantastically rich supporting characters having fun together, toasting each other, and singing in Chris’s car.

The half of the episode dealing with Leslie was fine, but it paled in comparison to Ben’s half of the storyline. I loved that a sexy Abe Lincoln is one of Leslie’s fantasies, and I loved everything about both Donna and April in this episode, but there was something too predictable about Leslie’s arc.

I would have much rather had an episode that featured the girls having just as much fun as the guys, but I know that’s not possible. Stories don’t exist without conflict, and this episode needed Leslie’s conflicts. I guess it all just felt a little rushed to me. And because of that, the emotional connection to this half of the story felt relatively nonexistent (but maybe that’s because I was so busy tweeting and flailing like an excited kid over the other half of the episode).

Ultimately, I actually liked that we got to see someone else take on Leslie’s role as the emotional center of a group, and I loved that it was Chris. We’ve seen Leslie at the center of so many familial-feeling moments on Parks and Rec, so it was refreshing to see this episode take the time to show that men can have those familial bonds with their friends, too. Group hugs aren’t just for girls.

I loved so many things about the Rotating Bachelor Party of Perfection. I loved that each character’s bachelor party fit him perfectly. I have such a deep love for character continuity, and no show does than better than Parks and Rec. I loved that even the smallest details we learned fit in perfectly with what we already know about these men: Of course Ben would be a ranked Settlers of Catan player. Of course Tom’s ideal future president would be Nick Cannon. Of course Jerry would choose ice cream as his bachelor-party indulgence.

More than anything, though, I loved seeing these characters get their time to shine and shine together. Parks and Rec is truly an ensemble show, and this is how you do a supporting-character storyline and do it right. It allowed us to learn more about each character, it gave each character moments to shine, and it reflected the core values of the show. At its heart, Parks and Rec will always be a show about good, kind people working together and caring about each other, while getting into funny situations along the way. And this episode was a shining example of that core premise.

It was there when Ben gave up his Homeland DVR plans to share his bachelor party with his friends. It was there when Chris gave Ron the most perfect toast I’ve ever seen on TV. It was there when they were all singing “Shoop” in Chris’s car. It was there when they all hopped out of the car back in Pawnee, and you could feel the real friendship between them.

But I felt that sense of friendship most strongly at the very end, watching all of them celebrate Andy’s field goal. There it was—a bunch of friends coming together and supporting one of their own, a scene of genuine happiness in a medium that sometimes seems afraid to wear its heart firmly on its sleeve. One brief moment was able to sum up the idea behind an entire series.

And what a beautiful idea it is.

 

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5 thoughts on “TV Time: Parks and Recreation 5.10

  1. I am so in love with the half of the episode that focused on the guys. Chris Traeger is the best best man of all time. I loved his plan to give each of the guys the bachelor party they never had and I loved seeing how happy it made him to do it. Seeing that shift in his priorities and his growth over the season has been so great.

    I wasn’t as impressed with Leslie’s half of the episode. I think this show could have pulled off an episode without any sort of conflict and just shown each set of friends having an awesome time together, and I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t take that chance. It felt off to move forward the storyline about the park in this episode when the other half was so focused on friendship and doing good things for each other. To me, that half is what Parks and Rec is all about and it just didn’t match with Leslie’s story this time.

    • I totally agree with you about Chris. His character development has been such an unexpectedly nice thing about this season. And Rob Lowe is playing it perfectly.

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