How excited are you that Parks and Recreation is back for Season 5? How great was it to see the old gang again? How much did you think, "I really hope Amy Poehler is happy in her personal life!"? How disappointed were you by last night's episode?
I want to start my weekly reviews of this season on a high note: I love this show. I think the third and four seasons of Parks & Rec were some of the best single-camera sitcom seasons ever. I went into "Ms. Knope Goes to Washington" after a summer of re-watching old episodes and listening to Sarah McLachlan to get myself amped, so there's a definite chance that my expectations were unfairly high going in. But the fact remains: I really didn't like this episode, and fear that this show might be getting wrapped up in its own cuteness. Let's get to grading everyone, and figure out what went wrong.
Leslie/Ben/Hot Rebecca: B-
I'm not really sure I understand the decision to start Leslie off on a low note with minimal interaction time with Ben. When she was at her finest, she was great (and the John McCain bit was cute), but I would have preferred to see this kind of episode next week and more of Leslie's actual day-to-day tasks in her new city council job for the premiere. I also didn't feel any chemistry between Poehler and Adam Scott last night, which didn't help much, either. And I sincerely hope this isn't the end of Human Disaster Ben.
Leslie's Best Line of the Night: "Ben and I both did some amazing things today. He scored a victory for the congressional campaign he's working on. And I was mistaken for Beverly D'Angelo by a Japanese tourist. So, pretty big day for both of us."
Ben's Best Line of the Night: "I thought you'd enjoy meeting numbers 4 and 26 on Leslie's List of Amazing Women."
Andy and April: B+
I at least smiled at every single thing that came out Andy's and April's mouths (and hands, in the case of the shrimp claw) in this episode. Chris Pratt is freaking hilarious, but the writing for Andy did feel like variations of jokes we've heard before, while April was criminally underused. Fortunately, the delivery from both actors made up for it. I am also so excited that this season will show us more of April and Ben's relationship -- if you couldn't tell from our interview with Scott and Aubrey, they work very well together.
Andy's Best Lines of the Night: "Have you ever seen any of the National Treasure movies? Everything in this city is a clue." and "Could we just real quick stop at the nearest place that has free pants?"
April's Best Line of the Night: "I'm really proud of you, babe. Now put your used plate in my purse, I almost have a complete set."
The "we're only pretending to be back together" gag was over-explained and too high-concept considering how little time was spent on it in the episode. Much as I'm glad that Ann and Tom aren't together, and as happy as I am that the writers are trying to find storylines for Rashida Jones and Aziz Ansari right now, it just didn't work for me. Sure, the glitter-infused products stuff was fun, but I really want to see how these characters evolve this season past their go-to bit jokes. And for the record, I probably would have given them a C, but the plus is because Donna was given lines, reaction shots and a fantastic new haircut.
Ann's Best Line of the Night: "I put glitter in all of your moisturizes and lotions. I'm calling it 'Sparkle Skin by Annie.' Twinkle Twinkle, Big Star!"
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "I bet Donna a thousand dollars that we'd be together for another month. I can't stress this enough: If she finds out that we broke up, I'll go bankrupt."
Donna's Best Line of the Night: "As someone who has lied a lot about various aspects of a myriad of relationships, I respect the effort you've gone to."
Chris and Ron: D
Did you know Ron likes meat but Chris likes eating healthy?! This picnic subplot just didn't work for me -- I get that we're establishing that Ron will be picking up some parks department slack this season, but last night he was a caricature of his barbeque-loving self. Tom the pig (may he rest in peace) was pretty damn adorable, though.
Chris's Best Line of the Night: "I would have liked to have seen that [puppet] show. My nomination was 'Jerry accidentally forwards his bank statement to everyone.' Classic... and depressing."
Ron's Best Line of the Night: "If you do a good job, I'll give you the bladder! You can blow it up for a fun play-ball!"
He didn't do much, but I would have killed to have been on the email chain where Jerry sent out his bank statement. Classic!
Best Line of the Night: "Ron, if no one takes me to the bathroom, I'm just gonna have to go in the trees." (Slim pickin's, but he didn't ruin anything, right!)
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