The Telefile
<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: Who Made the Comedy Grade Last Night?

I hate apocalyptic predictions. I don't find them quite as funny as the rest of the Internet does, and mostly feel anger toward them rather than an urge to laugh and throw an end times party. I'm not even a fan of "If you had one more day on Earth" questions, and when I saw that last night's Parks and Recreation was titled "End of the World," I feared it would be a particularly awful episode. The good news: I was completely wrong (and there was barely even any Donna in it!). The show handled the subject really well without exploiting it too much for the sake of storyline -- after all, I wouldn't put it past Pawnee to have been run by a "freaky cult" in the '70s. I especially credit Ron, who replied to Leslie's confession that if this was her last day alive she'd want to spend her time with Ben by dryly remarking, "Well, that's significant. The problem is, Leslie, the world's not ending tomorrow -- the sun's gonna rise right over there. It'll be a regular Friday and you'll be in the exact same position you were in before." It grounded the story in reality and is just one of the many reasons I find myself lost in the drama of Parks & Rec sometimes. Let's talk about that and assign everyone completely arbitrary grades.

Ron: B
Okay, that being said about Ron's greatness, I had trouble believing he would rip off people -- even obnoxious, hysteria-mongering people -- for a few bucks. Then again, Ron is all about the free market and free religion, and one can assume all of that flute and recorder money is going straight into improving his woodshop and buying meat.
Best Line of the Night: See above, and "Did you not hear me when I said no?"

Leslie: A-
My heart! You know, in all this time, I was so busy feeling sorry for pathetic Ben that I never really thought about how hard the break up must be on Leslie... especially considering how Leslie has to pretend to be fine 24/7. She was as amazing as ever last night, from her treatment to The Reasonableists/Zorpees to "Keep your pants on, girl!" to her theories about M. Jagger. I've been anti-Shauna Malwae-Tweep since her brief affair with Mark Brendanawicz in Season 1, and using her as the pawn in Leslie and Ben's relationship read a little bit lazy to me in terms of writing. But the real reason Leslie gets a few points off is because she ruined my chance to see Ben at the final E720 party.
Best Line of the Night: "He's a man and he's a worker, and he is... we've never discussed sex, so. We've always just been very businesslike. So, your guess is as good -- nay, better than mine. The end, by Leslie Knope."

Ben: A
I know that he and Leslie are like Jerry & April and Obama & Madonna, but damn did Ben break my heart last night. He was stoic and fair while being obviously upset about his current situation, and it was all too real. And again, I am so glad Shauna didn't stay the night.
Best Line of the Night: "I feel like we shouldn't hang out just the two of us, because every time we do, it just makes it harder." (Hey, I didn't say "Funniest Line." This one was just the saddest.)

Tom: B
Glad the writers had one last chance to pen the final dreams of E720. There was a lot of promise with the VIP areas (especially the one where they weren't even allowed in), but was a drum line the best they could come up with? Anyway, he was sweet and fine, and I'm secretly happy this story arc is over before I grew bored with it. And it was nice to see Lucy again!
Best Line of the Night: "My company's no better than a company where you ask a fake butler to Google things for you."

Jerry: A
He was in one scene this entire episode and managed to steal it... and he didn't even have his cheaters on!
Best Line of the Night: "Can I go? Gail is making a roast."

Ann: C
The average grade for a fairly average Ann episode. I think Ann is best when she's being a supportive friend to Leslie.
Best Line of the Night: "I think the danger in believing in reincarnation is that you spend so much time trying to figure out what you're going to be in the next lifetime that you forget to enjoy the one you're in how." (Slim pickings, though I'd be lying if I said I'm not ever so slightly shipping her and Chris right now.)

Chris: B
Surprisingly, I kinda liked how speed reading came back in a funny way, and I'm just really glad he's doing something tolerable with his hair.
Best Line of the Night: [On Lance Armstrong dumping Sheryl Crow] "That was a tragic day. Live strong."

April: A+
First of all, I love everything about Andy and April's typical night, though I'm grateful that she was in the mood to do something "weird." This was truly an episode for April enthusiasts, especially those of us who love her non-cynical moments.
Best Line of the Night: "I'm trying to find a way to be annoyed by it, but I'm coming up empty."

Andy: B+
Andy is lucky to have a wife as smart and generous as April, though I think he may be on to something when he says that repetition is the key to a good marriage. Sure, he's the one who had the ridiculous bucket list, but I still give April the credit for making everything happen... ha, but that line about sitting in first class, and wondering where all the faces, "the presidents", are at the Grand Canyon. Andy is great.
Best Line of the Night: "Nickels! I want nickels! A billion nickels!"

The Reasonableists (Herb and the Zorp followers): A+
See you May 19th... oh make that the 20th.
Best Lines of the Night: "Would you take a check? You can cash it tomorrow."
"When Zorp shows up your faces will be melted off and used as fuel."

Honorable mentions: I know this won't be the last we see of Jean-Ralphio, and part of me hopes he does "accidentally" get hit by a city bus to start a hip hop label and be "In like Lara Flynn Boyle from The Practice." And RIP, DJ Bluntz. You were too dope for this world. It was also nice to see April's little sister, Natalie, though I would've loved to have seen her as the victim of a horrible prank instead of just a camerawoman. Oh well.

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