We've reached the penultimate episode of a pretty fantastic season of television... not that the gradually sinking ratings really reflect it. Last week's "The Debate" had the least U.S. viewers in the series' history, with the previous weeks behind it not faring much better. I don't fear Parks and Recreation being cancelled -- I'm just trying to say that it'd be ideal if everyone and their moms watched this show together to help build a better Pawnee. Though, it does make I... sad.
"Bus Tour" wasn't my favorite episode of the season -- it wasn't even my favorite episode that featured Gloria Estefan's "Get on Your Feet" (but that's what happens when no one slips repeatedly on ice). Let's give everyone a grade, laugh again at Andy's code names and hope that the Season 4 finale is at least half as good as Season 3's "Li'l Sebastian."
Leslie, Ben and Ann: B+
Code Names: I'd Be Lying If I Said I Haven't Thought About It, Eagle Two and Been There Done That
The two-second pause from the failed Rodney Dangerfield impression, the Groffle the Awful Waffle drama and the ultra-classy fruit basket with no melon or apples were all pretty great, but this wasn't supposed to be a week for these three to be the comic relief, unfortunately. It was interesting to actually see the show explore Leslie and Ben getting so wrapped up in politics that they lose their tender core for a hot minute, but otherwise this episode was clearly a set-up for next week's finale. My favorite moment between the trio was when Leslie asked everyone to gather around her in order of how much she trusted them and Ann and Ben were equidistant (and Jerry stepped back a little bit -- sad!). I'm glad the show didn't make her choose between them or anything and instead let it be a fun little moment. (It reminded me a bit of the new, underwatched and most likely soon-to-be-cancelled Best Friends Forever, which I wholeheartedly recommend checking out.) I also loved the slapstick of having the S.S. Knope bus clumsily try to drive away from the memorial service.
Leslie's Best Line of the Night: "This is gonna be our home for the next 24 hours. And, if we win, hopefully it will be the home that Ben and I share forever... It's just an idea I had, we don't have to do it, whatever. We can talk about it."
Ben's Best Line of the Night: "Everybody says they care about the issues, but at the end of the day, all anyone really wants is free clothing shot at them from a cannon."
Ann's Best Line of the Night: "Yeah, that's a ridiculous claim." (Slim pickings, but at least Ann is good at sarcasm, right?)
Bobby and Jennifer: A
It was a great call on the writers' part to kill off Nick Newport, especially since it gives Bobby's campaign manager less incentive to see him through to the end. I loved everything about Bobby and the bowling alley and how he stole Leslie's heartwarming story about impressing her mother, only to completely miss the point and manipulate the story to make him sound better. I like that Jennifer really wants to have no-strings-attached sex with Chris and that it can be a fun, normal thing between two adult characters instead of it become a huge deal -- I've always thought this show was good at both this kind of thing, and sticking in a bleeped curse word every episode for the hell of it.
Bobby's Best Line of the Night: "I like this one better. Little guy looks like me."
Jennifer's Best Line of the Night: "I am calling on Leslie Knope to cancel all of her campaign events out of respect for the Newport family. Anything else would be a classless move on par with spray-painting nipples on Lincoln Memorial."
Bonus: Perd's Best Line of the Night: "Harsh words, but this reporter does love those t-shirt cannons."
Ron, Donna and Tom: B
Code Names: N/A, It Happened Once In A Dream, N/A
I didn't love this side plot, but it's always nice to see Mike O'Malley on a show less deplorable than Glee (don't get me started). The dialogue was funny enough and it put these three in surprisingly useful positions, but the $10,000 van subplot isn't exactly going to stand out in my memory as a season highlight.
Ron's Best Line of the Night: "Look, friend, I respect your slavish devotion to the free market."
Donna's Best Line of the Night: "If you let us have the vans, they drive around town all day. Free publicity. Everyone will see your logo... which is you all pressed up on some chick with huge cans."
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "Let me tell you how it's gonna go down. In a few minutes, we'll walk in there, we'll give him our demands and then BAM! -- I start crying."
April and Chris: C
Code Names: Currently Doing That and If I Had To Pick A Dude
While his shirt was amazing, Chris's story arc has been going on for way too long -- here's hoping we get somewhere with it next week. As for their parts in "Bus Tour," my favorite little moment was April indulging it hitting the keys on Bobby's fancy piano when no one was looking and Chris filing her post-marriage name-changing paperwork for her.
Chris's Best Line of the Night: "I absolutely think that we should keep campaigning. The worst possible thing we could do would be to stop, 'cause the campaign stops, we all stop. And stopping is certain death. Who wants a Panini? Anyone? Everyone? I'm gonna say everyone."
April's Best Line of the Night: "I wasn't listening, but I strongly disagree with Ann."
Andy and Jerry: A-
Code Names: Eagle One and N/A
Andy cracks me up. Period. Jerry was a good sport about getting pied over and over again, and I'm happy that he at least got a Panini from Chris out of all of this (one can assume). Also, I love that Parks & Rec actually let Burt Macklin crack the case and do a callback to Sewage Joe at the end. And how great was Andy's evidence wall, consisting solely of a picture of a pie and a photo of Leslie?
Andy's Best Line of the Night: "If you are watching, perpetrator, just know that you are still at large."
Jerry's Best Line of the Night: "Okay, that's permanent marker."
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