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

I would start gushing now about how five weeks is too long to wait for new Parks and Recreation episodes, and reminisce about all the things I'll miss in that time... but I already did here. Instead of wallowing, let's just get right in to the very funny "Lucky" -- which was written by Nick Offerman! -- and wish March away.

Leslie: A
I might have a higher tolerance than some for binge drinking and cursing on my network sitcoms, but Parks & Rec generally does a nice job getting its characters wasted and (in Ron's case in this episode) bleeping out profanity. Drunk Leslie is generally awesome, and I liked that "Lucky" was a bit conventional in how it got her inebriated and forced her into an awkward situation where hijinks ensued, only to be saved by the "handworking hearts" she's been good to in the past. It worked for the story arc, and reminds us of just how much Leslie does do for Pawnee. My main complaint with her last night was that she neither chose the patriotic beanie nor an outfit that would have allowed her to pull scarves out of her arms like a magician.
Best Line of the Night: "It's like dealing with a strict mother who I am confusingly attracted to. Ben is like a MILF."

Ben: C+
Obviously Ben was the straight man last night -- not even charismatic enough to be the President of the Boring Club -- but I feel torn about how he played it. I like that the way he acted was true to life instead of being over the top, and if he had taken his seriousness a step further it may have been too predictable. We've seen Ben work with his material better, but he gets extra points for his grump-walk through the hot tub Hummer limo, and for how out of it he is when he wakes up. I think we can all agree how great it is that Fun Ben lives!
Best Line of the Night: "Are you hitting on Leslie... for me?"

Tom and Ann: A
Each week, I feel slightly more sold on these two. Their drunken banter demonstrated that there is some real chemistry happening, and it looks like we're actually seeing Tom ever so slightly grow as a three-dimensional character. I'm glad they beat the 47-hour mark (especially since Tom's condom anniversary gift was so gross) and that they writers also wrote in a lot of sweet Leslie-Ann moments.
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "Oh -- it says 'NYMPHO' on the butt in silver sparkly letters. 'Nympho' means you're addicted to sex... and since it's on the butt, there's implications as well. So those are a maybe"
Ann's Best Line of the Night: [In a drunk Russian accent] "Leslie, in your humble opinion..."

Ron and Chris: A
It's probably gross that I love post-coital Ron as much as I do, but the red Tiger Woods victory polo shirt had me in stitches. Their non-spoken non-battle over Linda made for a great juxtaposition of these characters, and though we've seen a lot of Ron and Chris scenes this season, it felt fresh in this episode. It didn't hurt that we learned Ron guzzled down three steaks and offered $25 to the kids for a Walkman, while Chris enjoys grueling land-kayaking, reading depressing books (but not speed-reading them, as I have a black heart when it comes to continuity) and teaches a morning Zumba class for retirees. Extra points go to both of them for not objectifying any of us with their male gaze.
Ron's Best Line of the Night: "Doughnuts, go nuts!"
Chris's Best Line of the Night: [To a befuddled stranger] "Bye, friend."

Andy and April: A-
Andy was superb, and I only wish we got to sit in on one of his Women's Studies classes that he P'd (but not P-plus-ed, sadly) this semester. I'm glad he didn't flunk out of the course, though I do wish we got to see him succeed a bit more instead of being told that he's got intelligent life floating around in that brain helmet -- not that I'd want to give up moments like the one he had where he gave Ron a piece of his own advice. April was clearly not the stronger of the two in the episode, but she's a great study buddy and treat-feeder. And I share in the concern about Super Baby being too powerful.
Andy's Best Line of the Night: "Usually tests scare me, but this is an oral exam. And if there's one thing I know... is my fantastic... it's talk."
April's Best Line of the Night: "If you can't remember what one woman did, just tear up and say, 'She changed my life!'"

Donna and Jerry: B+
This tiny little storyline was so perfectly anticlimactic, and I appreciate that these two got a bit of screentime before the hiatus. It wasn't the funniest they've been, but much more than I expected from a D-plot about two minor characters sealing envelopes 'til 4 AM.
Donna's Best Line of the Night: "I have a date with my bathtub, a glass of red wine and a gigantic fireman named Marcus."
Jerry's Best Line of the Night: "It ain't government work if you don't have to do it twice. Here we go!"

Buddy Wood: B
I found Sean Hayes to be slightly disappointing and maybe a little too mean for the realism of this story. Joan Callamezzo already plays the high-power antagonist journalist in the Parks & Rec universe, and I would have preferred to see a different kind of position for Wood altogether. Let's all just thank God for that mitten factory tragedy.
Best Line of the Night: "We're setting up over there. Found a small piece of carpet without a horrifying smellscape."

And in the meantime, in case you missed an episode over the course of Season 4 so far, or you just want to relive the best moments, here are links to all of them. See you in April for more campaigning.

"I'm Leslie Knope"
"Ron and Tammys"
"Born & Raised"
"Pawnee Rangers"
"Meet 'n' Greet"
"End of the World"
"The Treaty"
"Smallest Park"
"The Trial of Leslie Knope"
"Citizen Knope"
"The Comeback Kid"
"Campaign Ad"
"Bowling for Votes"
"Operation Ann"
"Dave Returns"
"Sweet Sixteen"
"Campaign Shake-Up"

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