Half of Two Parties was so good -- like, series-highlight, disappointed-in-the-middle-of-the-episode-that-there-were-only-so-many-minutes-left, waiting-for-this-premise-to-turn-into-a-feature-length-movie good. The other half felt oversaturated, rushed and disorganized, and a waste of Donna with a male stripper and Leslie, Ann and April surrounded by penises and alcohol.
I think a big problem with the bachelorette party side of things is that Parks and Recreation suffered from its scheduling; because the hiatus was so long, I'd forgotten pretty major plotlines at best, and at worst felt like we were digging up sacred Wamapoke artifacts just for the sake of burying them again... so to speak. I also feel like we've already established that Ken Hotate respects Leslie Knope and, when push comes to shove, is a decent guy -- I'm not really sure taking a whole story arc to draw him as a stronger ally was really necessary (especially under the thin veil of bringing together the white people of Pawnee and the Wamapoke tribe). Same goes for Councilman Jamm and the woman from Paunch Burger -- we know they're underhanded and shameless, so dedicating all of this time to them felt like overkill. Maybe this episode was for new viewers who the writers are trying to cater to in order to establish Pawnee and the world of Parks & Rec in hopes of better ratings and, in turn, a Season 6. Now, there's something I can get on board with.
But for us diehard fans, let's grade everyone. And welcome back!
The Lucky Mary Todd, Ann, April and Donna: C
So rather than what April and I would have liked -- one of those cool bachelorette parties where things get out of control and they murder someone and have to make a blood oath to never reveal their secret -- we got this. I don't want to beat a dead horse, so I will say I thoroughly enjoyed watching April thrive when everyone else is miserable ("Don't be afraid! Use the penises!"), Ann failing to bond with April and the important info that Leslie takes her coffee with extra cream and 30 sugars.
Leslie's Best Line of the Night: "Historically, Pawnee's relationship with the Wamapoke has been more... murdery." (Nice use of mural here!)
Ann's Best Line of the Night: "As Leslie's Maid of Honor, I really need her bachelorette party to go well... which is why I'm stress-eating gummi penises."
April's Best Line of the Night: (After Leslie says her dream is dead.) "Mine too! This is why I prefer nightmares."
Donna's Best Line of the Night: "All right, tear it up, 16. Emancipate them abs!"
Ben, Andy, Ron, Jerry, Tom and Chris: A+
Where do I begin? I guess first of all, I'm thankful that Jerry forced his way into this and that Ben was so cool with splitting up his bachelor party -- I never realized how complicated of a history these characters have with marriage. The locations for each celebration was spot-on, especially the following tidbits: Of course Ben is a nationally ranked Settlers of Catan player (best game EVER, though I will point out that there were too many players to be using a non-expansion pack version of the game) and that he thought Part 2 of the night would be sitting around watching DVR'd episodes of Homeland since strippers make him sad; the cotton candy in a glass and the bartender putting Scotch lotion on Ron's hands at Tom's event; that the guys driving to Muncie for Jerry's ice cream parlor fun, where Ben jumped on the opportunity to find out why Gayle ever chose to be with him and Ron got ice cream all up in his mustache; absolutely everything about the Colts game, especially that Andy did a great job; the car ride to St. Elmo's Steakhouse, where we got the perfect callback to Benji's Cool Times Summer Jamz Mix; and then the steakhouse itself where we were graced with an Entertainment 720 reunion, complete with Roy Hibbert calling Ben "Jell-O Shot." This episode was all about the boys being nice to each other and having fun, and even if Shauna Malwae-Tweep is historically not my favorite character on this show, if she works with Chris, I'm completely fine with them getting together at this point.
Ben's Best Line of the Night: "We're surrounded by hot guys!"
Andy's Best Lines of the Night: He gets two, though for the record, I like the former better: "I didn't even have time to take a shower before my wedding... or after! For like a week and a half!" and "Maybe it's April. Maybe I die -- skydiving explosion -- and then you go marry April. And it makes me sad but if she's gonna be with somebody, I'd like it to be you... Only I didn't really die. I was faking it. And I come back. I spy on you from my red Corvette and I'm planning to kick your ass. But I see how happy you make her. And I have to walk away, I have to. And I do... slowly, in a rainstorm... But as time goes by, it eats away at me -- you're out living it up with my wife and I'm alone in a cave training... I thought you were my friend! I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND!"
Ron's Best Lines of the Night: He gets two also: "Son, there's no wrong way to consume alcohol," and "I'm going to be very candid with you all: I like her."
Jerry's Best Line of the Night: "You know, I met Gayle right here at Sherm's. She was slender, blonde hair, big breasts, long legs... not my type at all."
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "Boop! That's me hitting the snooze button. Don't talk again for another ten minutes!"
Chris's Best Line of the Night: My favorite speech of the night, which literally gave me goosebumps because I'm such a fangirl: "To Ron."
Honorable mentions: Ken Hotate was not without his moments -- I cracked up at "Our Slots are Downright Filthy" (especially April's response about it being a slam-dunk); Councilman Jamm in the headdress was pretty fantastic; we should all be thankful for Things magazine for recommending Essence in the first place; Glenn a.k.a. Babe Lincoln for still rocking the clarinet and working for his money; Sherm for calling Jerry by his birth name and always making a backup cone; the Colts' Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne and Jim Irsay and the aforementioned Roy Hibbert, natch; John doing the Lord's work at the steakhouse (I guess I should thank Newt Gingrich, but his cameo was weirdly out of place and generally useless, right?); the non-XXL Ben's Bachelor Party "Board Game Madness" t-shirts which I'm sure are already for sale in the NBC Store; and the burger-eating "Tweeped" Shauna Malwae-Tweep, who does, in fact, have dimples. And hey, anyone else notice that both Parks & Rec and 30 Rock had jokes about Grease this week? Conspiracy!
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