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. And even in this episode, when he has an apparently profound understanding of human nature, he just seems condescending. If rebooting the show entirely after Season 1 was their best decision, ditching Mark was easily the second-best. /end anti-Mark rant/
Also? Camels are not badly designed horses! Like most creatures (pandas being one spectacular exception), camels are well-adapted for their environments and niche functions! YOU’RE ugly and badly designed, show! /end docent rant/
Your Related Link For The Day: Borders are artificial and hold us back, man. And when we start doing stupid things at borders, stupid things happen, like people’s getting separated from their camels, a minor but interesting facet of the ongoing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar this summer. (Separately, animals are an interesting and not-that-minor facet of the debate about Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, so Google that if you aren’t familiar with the subject.)
Jerrybashing: Hoooboy this episode is a good one for Jerrybashing. Jerry says “murinal” instead of mural and the team therefore disqualifies him from participation. It’s painful and he’s awkward and once again I just watch these scenes and think Whyyyyyyy. It adds nothing and detracts so much. Is it just supposed to remind us that even people we really, really like can be giant assholes sometimes?
Somebody Get Tom Some Therapy: Tom doesn’t actually need therapy in this episode, or the art is its own kind of therapy. His moment with his abstract art is one of the best descriptions I’ve heard, too: “You know, it’s actually kind of interesting. Each shape is its own thing. But then when it comes together, it really gives you a sense of completion.” The piece he buys reminds me a lot of a Miro. Somebody told me once that Miro’s paintings were all actually paintings of cats. I have no idea if that’s true and I don’t even want to find out, because when I look at them that’s what I’m looking for, and I like it that way.
April Is My Patronus: I really think a human-sized hamster wheel, featuring a real runner eating raw beef as he runs, would play well in some places. Either way, April is the deeply creative part of me I wish I could unlock. Even if she’s just throwing crap together and then bullshitting about what it “means,” she’s being creative in that process, and it’s refreshing to watch.
There Is Only One Ron Swanson: I know from the first time we binged P&R that I’m going to think many times that while in my head I’d choose to marry Ben, I actually married Ron. And if we can digress and talk about my marriage for a minute — which we can, because nobody’s reading this anyway — this isn’t a bad thing. I think that many people could be happy with many, or at least several, partners, and where you end up has a lot more to do with timing or luck than, say, fate. In a different context, Ron-and-Leslie works. So as I say this over and over for the duration of the series, this is neither incestuous (which Ron and Leslie kind of would be, as we know them here) nor a criticism of my relationship.
That said, my husband would totally say [the eqiuvalent of] “I got my first job when I was nine. Worked at a sheet metal factory. In two weeks, I was running the floor. …Child labor laws are ruining this country.”
The LOL moment: Tom goes back to the art student for a replacement piece of art after the first one is cut up. His offerings don’t suit Tom, which is totally a legitimate abstract-art experience. But when Tom holds up a circle with a line across it and snarks “This one’s racist!” I did in fact LOL.