While I've definitely lowered the bar for some comedies, my expectations for Parks and Recreation are about is high as I go for a show that's in that genre. "Campaign Ad" would have been a fine episode of another series, but here it felt repetitive and all too familiar. I'm totally with Donna -- love the new haircut, by the way -- on not complaining about Paul Rudd's good looks (seriously, whatever lacked in comedy last night was overshadowed by eye candy), but otherwise, we've seen these plotlines before on this show and they've been done much better already. As much as I'd just love to gush about how funny and silly everyone was and give them grades, pointing out the repeats seems way more relevant. Nobody make a mean political video about me, okay?
Ron and Chris
Plotline: Suddenly, Chris wants to spend all of his time with Ron after seeing how well he can fire people.
Seen Better In: For Ron being good at government cutdowns, look no further than Season 2 Episode 23, "The Master Plan." As for brief hangout encounters with Ron and Chris, the best juxtaposition of their personalities was their cook-off in "Soulmates," S3 E10.
I Can Forgive Them Because: I love me some Kyle, and he got to make a friend by the end of it, but more so because this funny little B-plot concluded with the promise that Ron may actually get a storyline this season about switching government positions. I'm not married to the idea that all of these characters have to spend an ample about of time every episode in that actual Parks and Recreation department, so I'm all for seeing if this goes anywhere.
Andy and April
Plotline: After a hilarious concussion, the couple takes advantage of their health insurance and visits every single type doctor they can.
Seen Better In: Very recently this season in Episode 8, "Smallest Park", we already had the pleasure of seeing Andy try all of the different courses offered at the local community college. It was funny then, but this time it felt stale and predictable.
I Can Forgive Them Because: Andy's gross broken thumb and, really, Chris Pratt's physical comedy gold in general. This episode also makes the beginning of my personal use of the term "brain helmet."
Ben, Tom and Jerry
Plotline: Basically, the three are tasked to come up with Leslie's campaign ad. Ben goes a little meaner than we would have expected, Tom has silly lines about how he bets on all the horses and Jerry doesn't do too much except serve as a scapegoat.
Seen Better In: Well, the writers seem okay with giving Ben a well-rounded personality that changes and grows with time, so there's not too much to compare it to -- though Ben's best moments as a former mayor were definitely seen in S3 E5, "Media Blitz." Tom's heyday seems behind him now, back in the Entertainment 720 era and the Snakehole period behind that -- look to any episode that feature either, and that'll probably give you the best of Tom, though "Sweetums" (S2 E15) introduced us to DJ Roomba. Jerry, meanwhile, was a nonentity this episode, though his dynamic with Tom and Ben was similar to what we saw in "Smallest Park" with the new logo design project.
I Can Forgive Them Because: The "Bobby Newport" voice-off, no question.
Plotline: Leslie wants to run a nice, honest campaign, but learns she has to toughen up if she wants to win and eventually finds a great commercial for herself (with the help of a loving coworker).
Seen Better In: I love watching Leslie's character development throughout the series, and the best times she learned a lesson that actually helped her moving forward were seen in S4 E2 "Practice Date," where she gained maturity about her love life (thanks to Ann's help), and S3 E8, "Camping." The surprisingly great video was kind of perfected in this season's "Meet 'n' Greet".
I Can Forgive Her Because: Leslie as a little girl is adorable, and her interactions with Bobby Newport at the end were well-acted and badass.
Plotline: A member of the family behind Sweetums stands in the way of Leslie's success.
Seen Better In: "Sweetums," in which Leslie tries to battle the rich corporation with the flashy ads and delicious high fructose corn syrup-laden products from hurting her beloved Pawnee.
I Can Forgive Him Because: One of the things that I love about Parks & Rec is how well developed the universe is, and Newport's character makes complete and total sense. Rudd was a great guest star, and Newport seems as big a part of Pawnee as, say, Joan Callamezzo. Also, I love his silent security guard and pathetic pleas for Leslie to drop out of the race.
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