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

One of my fears after watching "The Debate" is that Parks and Recreation will go hardcore sitcom on us and make someone other than Leslie or Bobby Newport win the City Council seat. It's not my favorite trope out there, and I know I should give this show a bit more credit than to go that route without a bigger picture in mind, but the writers clearly have so much fun with Fester Trim (Buddy Garrity Brad Leland), Brandi Maxxxx (Mara Marini) and, to a lesser degree, Manrico Della Rossa (Gary Carlos Cervantes) -- does anyone else feel like he's oddly phoned-in? -- that I feel only cautiously optimistic about not being let down.

On the other hand, I've been reading lots of mixed reviews at the idea of the show shifting its focus away from the parks department, and I disagree with the naysayers -- I trust that Parks & Rec won't do us dirty the way Brandi Maxxxx has done her co-stars. Series co-creator and executive producer Michael Schur recently explained that if Leslie does win, she'll still hold her day job. Alternately, if the writers decide to have her lose the election, Schur says, "There could be other possibilities -- people offering her different things that would be better than being a city councilor. That's where losing the election might actually be a good thing or a blessing in disguise or something." Hopefully that makes you feel at ease... or, even better, feel that you're less neurotic than me and know how to enjoy a good episode of a TV comedy without worrying about the future of the series. On that note, let's grade everyone.

Chris, Ann and Tom: C+
There were definitely some funny moments between the spin team, but I'm not really interested in the will-they-won't-they of anyone and Ann right now. Chris -- the new Jerry, apparently -- is back to being the character who gets the most crap dumped on him, Tom had a few silly moments that I barely remembered when I went back and watched the episode a second time, and Ann didn't really get a single joke all episode. Pick up the pace, people.
Chris's Best Line of the Night: "If I had to have anybody tell me that I had cancer, I would want it to be me."
Ann's Best Line of the Night: "There's a chance I'm never gonna date anyone ever again."
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "So we're up in the club, we're dancing, we're sweatin'. Let's just say we got to second that night... kind of. ["Me so horny" sound bite.] This chick's name is Ann Perkins. Look her up on the government website. She is crazy hot."

Andy, April and Ron: B+
Andy carried the team this week with his skills in acting out movies and in not having any concept of what rich people are like -- though I imagine there are some wealthy Dotty, Todd and Ricks out there. I'm enjoying April's character development (and her world-famous $100 lap dance offer) and am glad that Ron was at least given something to do. And seriously, Andy kicking the table at the end made me laugh out loud.
Andy's Best Line of the Night: "I recently invested in some shirts I got at a garage sale. Left those at Wendy's on the way home. Ha ha ha, so, the economy."
April's Best Line of the Night: "I care about Andy, and Champion, and I want Leslie to win, and I like sleeping... so."
Ron's Best Line of the Night: "I am a lineman for the cooounty and the Wichita linemaaan is still on the liiiiinnnee."

Jerry and Donna: B-
Just the usual complaint: Give me more!
Jerry's Best Line of the Night: Like last week, no line, but he looked adorable holding those nuns' hands.
Donna's Best Line of the Night: [On how she should see Babe, while wiping away her tears] "I feel like I just did."

Leslie and Ben: B+
In terms of being adorable, loving and liking each other (squee!) and kicking ass, these two were great. But the only time I really laughed because of them was at the lines below, and basically every reaction shot they had. For the record, I'm a little bummed we didn't get to hear Leslie's response to the raccoon safety question.
Leslie's Best Line of the Night: "Nothing gets me more amped than Sarah McLachlan!"
Ben's Best Line of the Night: "Leslie just answered a question, then audibly farted, then threw up. Spin!"

The Debaters: A
To be clear, since the other grades don't really reflect this: I really enjoyed "The Debate," largely because of its guest stars. Paul Rudd has been a great addition to the cast this season, as has Kathryn Hahn as Jennifer Barkley. Perd and Joan were fantastic, and I was caught completely off-guard by the guy who cheered for both Fester Trim and Brandi Maxxxx. If someone other than Leslie gets the seat, I hope the writers let us see them in action for a least a brief moment in Season 5... and you better believe there's going to be a Season 5. If not, I'm moving to Mexico with Sweetums.
Bobby Newport's Best Line of the Night: "I'm against crime, and I'm not ashamed to admit it."
Jennifer Barkley's Best Line of the Night: "Does that guy Chris Traeger have a girlfriend? And is his penis normal?"
Manrico Della Rossa's Best Line of the Night: "Anyone who even rubs their hands on a leather jacket should be tried for murder."
Brandi Maxxxx's Best Line of the Night: "Just like Leslie, I know what it's like to be the only woman in a room full of men."
Fester Trim's Best Line of the Night: "There's no reason on Earth that I can think of why we shouldn't have concussion grenades in our nation's movie theaters."
Perd's Best Line of the Night: "I do have an update on your time allotment, and that update is that your time is almost gone."
Joan's Best Line of the Night: "This question about public safety comes from Twitter, because apparently that's something that happens now."
@munchmeat2015's Best Line of the Night: "Pawnee used 2 b safe. Some1 stole my car. What will u do 2 make Pawnee safe & can u help me find my car?"

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