Did anyone else feel that the initial few minutes of "Live Ammo" were like being back at the first day of school after a long summer filled with boring family vacations and a broken leg that prevented you from even going to camp? Leslie in sneak-around clothes! Tom's crazy apartment! The Jabba the Hut theme song! It might have something to do with a slightly disappointing few weeks of Community episodes, but other shows aside, Parks and Recreation makes me happy, and "Live Ammo" was a great episode. Everyone was in their element, the pairings were fun, the main plot was satisfying, the side plots were funny and, once again, my notes are basically the entire script. Maybe others found this episode to be full of more of the same "Isn't Tom wacky?" and "That Ron sure loves meat!" shtick, but unlike Ringer, the hiatus made what might have been a little stale feel extremely fun. Let's grade the Pawnee gang and spread the word for Knope 2012.
Leslie and Ben: B+
Honestly, I had to stop fangirl-ing to actually reflect on their storyline. While they weren't as hilarious as they have been in the past, I really enjoy watching them function as girlfriend/boyfriend and candidate/campaign manager. Their best moments were the ones where Ben played the straight man to Leslie and tried to ground her to reality while she stressed out over the budget issue. "Is that a pig?" did me in (though you should know that I really, really like animals), but against their previous performances and some of the other characters tonight, they don't quite get into "A" territory -- but like a refrigerator shelf dedicated to coconut water, seeing them in action again was (fan)girl heaven.
Leslie's Best Line of the Night: "I'm just really into you. Gimme a spin, baby!"
Ben's Best Line of the Night: "Wait a second... does that... so... am I Michelle?"
April and Tom: A
It was very smart on the writers' part to stop giving
Li'l Sparkle April things to complain about, and actually challenge her with Leslie's daily non-stop thrill ride duties. It gave us a chance to see how Leslie has inspired Tom over the years and proved to be a great example of how well this show develops its characters, and how they all relate to each other ("Come on, what does Leslie always say?" "I don't know? Weird stuff about waffles?"). Plus, we got to see Tom's many blankets, hear him say "puppy" again (though, how did that picture of him get preloaded in to that frame?) and have April talk about how much she hates people.
April's Best Line of the Night: "All due respect, Mr. Hamster Penis, but no, I don't [know what I'm doing]."
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "I was incredible at naming drinks at the Snakehole Lounge because I care a great deal about signature beverage. The Beeryonce Knowles -- just a regular beer, but we put it in a sexy ass mug. It pairs nicely with the Jay-Zima -- we bought a bunch of Zima when the factory shut down."
Chris and Ron: A-
Look, we've seen them do this bit before -- but as I've already mentioned, it's been a while since "Lucky", and I was all for Ron giggling over how much he hates government while drooling over the "hot spinning cone of meat in that Greek restaurant next door" as Chris battled his season-long depression. I was completely caught off-guard when the guy from the Greek place ran past them and said "excuse me, ladies," and watching them bond for a minute was very sweet. For the record, I am totally down with drinking wheatgrass and whisky while playing a game of Cranium with these two.
Chris's Best Line of the Night: "Actually, this strip mall has surprisingly decent qi. Although, the smells from the Greek restaurant next door are not ideal."
Ron's Best Line of the Night: "All told, we were in there about six hours. And no, I was not meditating. I just stood there quietly breathing. There were no thoughts in my head whatsoever; my mind was blank. I don't know what the hell these other crackpots are doing."
Andy and Ann: B+/B
This wasn't a big episode for either, but Andy snuck in a few fun slapstick moments while Ann let her sarcasm and yoga pants offering rip. My only issue is that most of their lines were predictable... and that you knew what was going to happen with Andy and bottle -- but he gets extra points for trying to get the dogs to play poker.
Andy's Best Line of the Night: [Knowingly finishing Ben's sentence on what happens to all of the animals if the shelter gets shut down, "They'll be..."] "Fine."
Ann's Best Line of the Night: "He's deeply in debt, but you know what? Who cares, because check it out: cheese plate and Adriatic figs!"
Jerry and Donna: A-
On the other hand, Jerry was adorable (and no one was that mean to him) and Donna had several shining moments.
Jerry's Best Line of the Night: No line, just him happily snorting back at that tiny little pig.
Donna's Best Line of the Night: "Each animal has a photo, special talents and a personal history... that I made up. A lot of these dogs have rescued people from burning buildings. This one helped Ray Charles around."
Honorable mentions: Perd Hapley, for decoding rhetoric ("I don't know the answer to that, Jennifer, but your tone makes me think yes.") and our walking-and-talking Councilman Pillner (Bradley Whitford), who knows you're just making a joke, but would like to point out that using a bigger bottle would be considered cheating to most of our trade publications. And I really want to adopt that pig, y'all.
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