Thanks to some strange scheduling from my local NBC affiliate, I still haven’t been able to watch this week’s episode of Parks and Recreation. Luckily, my own personal beautiful tropical fish, Heather, came to the rescue with this great review!
Title Gin It Up!
Two Sentence Summary Donna accidentally sends a salacious tweet from the Parks and Rec Twitter account and Councilman Jamm turns it into a scandal to use against Leslie. Tom gets a crush on a doctor who comes in to reserve a park (guest star Tatiana Maslany), and Ben helps Ron create a will.
Favorite Line “Ben, your heart’s in the right place. Your heart and your butt.” (Leslie)
My Thoughts While I enjoyed the episode, there were parts that fell flat for me and kept me from enjoying it as much as I think I could have. I loved Ben helping Ron with his will and was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Tatiana Maslany, but once again, Leslie’s plot just didn’t quite work for me.
As a whole, I haven’t loved the story about Leslie’s recall election. Her election and the arc leading up to it in season 4 is one of the best things the show has done and to see that victory and her excitement taken away is hard for me as a viewer who loves her. That said, I don’t actually think this episode did anything to further the recall plot, other than to remind the viewers than Councilmen Jamm and Dexhart are the worst. It worked better as a skewering of the politicians who are more concerned about politics and getting their way than actually doing good for their community. While timely, I wanted more.
They tried to give us more by reading Donna’s tweets to the court (but primarily Leslie). It provided a little more insight into Donna and it also forced Leslie to confront the idea that she can be annoying to others. It just didn’t feel genuine. First, it didn’t quite fit into the characterization of Donna I have in my head. Second, of all the things Leslie has asked her employees to do, putting stickers on signs hardly seemed like an extraordinary effort.
Realistically, unless they were still acting as her campaign team, she shouldn’t have asked her Parks employees to do that as part of their Parks jobs, but I can hand-wave that away. Leslie knows she can be too much for the people around her sometimes. This week just didn’t feel like one of those times for me. She wasn’t over-the-top like she was last week, and she wasn’t being passionate about a cause in a “heroic and inspiring” way. It just didn’t all work together for me the way this show usually does.
Now on to things I did enjoy! I was pleasantly surprised to see Tatiana Maslany in this episode and I’m thrilled that it seems like she’ll be back. It’s been a while since Tom has had a romantic interest, and even though it’s not something I’ve necessarily missed, I will always take moments that show Tom’s more vulnerable side. He was really bad at trying to get Nadia to notice him in a romantic way, and I found it kind of endearing. I’d like to see him try to connect with her on more than a superficial level if the relationship is explored more. It’s been a while since he’s had a story that’s allowed him to do that and I miss that side of him. Also, as a side note, we need more scenes with Nadia and April. Maslany and Aubrey Plaza play off each other really well, and I want more of them!
Finally, pairing Ben and Ron for a story together will always be a favorite of mine and this was no exception. I loved Ben saying that accountants were a little more badass than lawyers, and no matter what his lawyer thinks, I love Ben’s puns. They are kind of horrible sometimes, but I don’t even care because of his facial expression when he says them. Adam Scott’s face is pretty much its own character and that’s the way it should be.
I love the growth that Ron’s character is going through right now. He is so used to living in a very specific manner, but now he’s realizing that he has to change because he has a responsibility to his family. It’s something he takes very seriously, and it’s obvious that he just wants to do the right thing wherever they are concerned. So even if it means giving his children more money than he’s comfortable with and getting a cell phone for emergencies, he doesn’t mind it because he knows it’s what’s best for them. He’s still Ron, but he’s a Ron that is slightly more open to change when it affects those around him.
Even though I didn’t really like the main plot of the episode, the good still outweighed the bad. We got a fantastic guest star, the running visual gag of the question mark stickers, and everyone’s shock over Ron’s net worth. Now all we need is for more Nielsen families to start watching this show or at least for NBC to not air it against The Big Bang Theory.