Parks and Rec 2-16: All About The Love

Plot: It’s Galentine’s Day and Justin decides to track down Leslie’s mom’s old boyfriend. April and Andy are a thing that is happening, but not fast enough. Tom and Wendy are not a thing. Ann and that person Ann’s dating are a gross and boring thing. But the best thing of all is Leslie and Ron, who are a thing of beauty.

Your Related Link For The Day: So there’s a lot of salacious garbage out there about “work spouses,” like ZOMG you’re going to accidentally cheat on your real spouse if you have one. But there are real studies indicating that work “marriages” are good for you. And here are some cute profiles if you want to feel jealous.

Ann Is Mean: Okay, Ann’s not mean in this episode, but there is an odd Ann interview moment in which she says Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-14: Appearance of impropriety

Plot: Leslie wants to impress new boyfriend Justin with a scintillating dinner party and accidentally ends up abusing her position by using all the Parks continuing ed teachers.

Deep Thoughts: I’ve actually thought after the last couple of episodes, or at least after writing about them, “Why am I so in love with this show again?” But this episode is back on track. I wonder if the lack of subplots — or, more accurately, the way the substories fit into the main plot (the party) without distracting from it — makes it better writing? There’s no gratuitous misogyny, lots of relationship-building, great one-liners, true-to-character writing, and Ron eats a plateload of deviled eggs. Thumbs up.

ONE small nitpick/question: Justin takes Leslie to a restaurant of some sort at which the owner thanks him for helping him emigrate. Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-13: GOB has the Vision

Okay, before we even get to anything, can we just take a minute about Chris Pratt and Anna Faris? I’m very sorry they’re going through whatever they’re going through. That said, can we start some sort of petition to get Chris Pratt to marry Aubrey Plaza? I would ship that so hard.

Plot: Leslie decides she’s ready to date again, and is interested in Ann’s backup guy. That guy Ann’s dating isn’t happy about this. Ron has to do actual work and isn’t happy about that. The writers apparently went on vacation and left other writers behind to handle Jerry’s character for a week.

Deep Thoughts: This episode is a little yucky in spots. That is, it has some of the flaws characteristic of this show at its weakest. Tom is about as gross as Tom gets, and the episode introduces us to Jean-Ralphio for the first time. Jean-Ralphio really does end up having his place in the series (unlike his utterly useless sister, but we’ll get to her), but… Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-12: When two women stand close to each other

Plot: Leslie finds herself embroiled in a sex scandal with a local politician. Officer Sanderson asks Leslie to move to San Diego with him. Two couples explore the nature of good gifts.

Deep Thoughts: At the end, Leslie lights the holiday tree, and everybody cheers and embraces. Mark and Ann hug. They HUG. Saying they have zero chemistry gives too much weight to the number zero.

Your Related Link For The Day: I was busy getting ready for a trip last fall when this all went down, so perhaps I missed this and nobody else did. But did y’all know that Charles Taylor made a pass at Naomi Campbell and Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-11: Oh, Tom.

Plot: Tom’s getting a divorce and Leslie wants to cheer him up. Oh, and there’s a totally stupid subplot involving Andy and that nameless guy Ann’s dating who have a pool competition to see who owns Ann. Mark realizes it’s ridiculous, of course, but I don’t care because he is a zero. Andy again seems to have no idea that he’s being scary, because as we all know, stalking is love, and it’s gross, and I can’t wait for him to move on.

Deep Thoughts: If I were being sentimental and giving the writers a lot of credit, I’d say this episode is about how people can be both good and bad and do both unconsciously. Ron is in fact the only one who knows that Tom’s marriage is for his wife’s legal benefit only, and therefore he’s the only one who can properly commiserate with Tom and give him the support he needs in the situation he’s really in. On the other hand, Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-10: Shoot me

Plot: The whole crew goes hunting, and someone shoots Ron in the head. More importantly, they shoot out one of Donna’s car’s windows. Left behind at work, April and Andy become friends. Also, women can’t shoot guns good because they get tunnel vision.

Deep Thoughts: Wow is there a major writing problem with this episode. I mean, you get past it pretty fast, but the setup premise is that Ron, Mark, and Jerry have a years-long history of a guys’ hunting trip, and that Leslie insists the whole office be invited. We’ve seen Ron have a relationship with Tom, Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-9: Art and Bunions

Plot: Pawnee needs a new mural and Leslie is determined that her department will win the suggestion contest. Ron likes Andy’s shoe-shining a little too much. Tom discovers art. For the first time in this second watching of the show, I have that “Oh wow, I married Ron Swanson” feeling.

Deep Thoughts: OH MY GOD I HATE MARK. It’s completely unjustified at this point, but I just cannot stand this character, and I think it’s mostly because there’s no there there. He is a poster child for lazy writing. We’re supposed to like him because other people do, but he’s never anything but whiny or sarcastic or smarmy. Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-8: Libraries Are Evil

Plot: Leslie finds out the Library Department wants her newly filled lot, the woman behind this nefarious plot wants Ron, and Ron wants a naked brunette and a waffle.

Deep Thoughts: There is some loss in knowing that Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are real-life married, because this isn’t just a truly delightful onscreen chemistry between two professional actors. But it is nonetheless truly delightful to watch. Tammy is a fabulously evil character and Ron-out-of-control is a beautiful thing.

Your Related Link For The Day: Tammy says “We government gals have to watch each other’s backs, right?” Tammy is evil, but her point stands. We have to watch each other’s backs… and we need to be in government. Go read about Emily’s List and then think about running for office (if you’re a lady), or helping an awesome woman you know do so.

There Is Only One Ron Swanson: This whole episode is Ron-tastic. He does say “bitch” a lot, which I don’t love, but Tammy almost earns it. I love the vulnerability his character shows, Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-7: Teens, TP, and Tom

Plot: It’s Halloween! Ann throws a terrible party, which Leslie misses entirely because of her obsession with a local teen and his vandalism. This is one sharp teenager, too. You can tell he’s going to grow up to be Julian Assange or something and think he’s very badass. This is also our first encounter with the delightful Bert Macklin of the FBI. Apparently the FBI also loved Bert Macklin.

Deep Thoughts: I wish there were a little more backstory about how Leslie pinpointed Greg as her vandal, and the things he’s done to “screw with her ’cause she gets all riled up, and her face gets all scrunched up like this.” Or that he ever showed up again. Maybe as an intern? That would have been excellent, and might have helped divert him from the path of a criminal mastermind.

Your Related Link For The Day: Why April is no longer my Spirit Animal (spoiler: because I will no longer be using the term). I actually Continue reading

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Parks and Rec 2-6: On pitfalls and legal procedures

Plot: There’s a completely unnecessary outside plot involving a one-time visiting character who “pranks” cities into building playgrounds. Like the 30 Rock/Kimmy Schmidt team, this team likes random whimsy, and I get that. But given that they’re also into throwing way too much character complexity at a 30-minute format (hi, Tom!), I think the show could have stood fewer one-offs like this guy, and more attention to its actual cast. Just a thought from the treadmill this morning before coffee.

In other news, Leslie decides to fill in the pit without asking permission, at Mark’s suggestion. I can’t explain my dislike for Mark. I guess he’s like the male Ann, in that we’re told he’s sexy and charming and desirable and fun to be around, and we’re never shown that in any way, and in fact what we do see is him grinning at Tom’s crude jokes and randomly suggesting that Leslie break the law with no background at all. But I digress. Leslie accidentally hurts Andy, again, some more, in the pit, and then breaks all sorts of more laws to convince him to pressure the city into filling in the pit.

Deep Thoughts: I’m probably in a bad mood today, but the ends-justify-the-means of Continue reading

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