About five minutes in to "Women in Garbage," my fiancé and I were laughing so hard that we had to pause, rewind and turn up the volume -- and this continued throughout. Maybe this episode didn't move the season's plot along very far, but it was consistently funny and made me extremely happy in the way that Parks and Recreation often does. I wouldn't describe it as "epic" the way I would "Two Parties" (and I don't use that term lightly), but I do think it's the kind of episode you can show a non-believer in order to finally convince them to binge-watch Parks & Rec with you from the beginning (actually, I'd recommended starting at the first episode of Season 2, but I digress). Until then, let's do this:
Leslie, April and Donna: A
So this storyline was inspired by Mitt Romney's now-infamous "binders full of women" line, right? In any event, it felt totally natural to the show and allowed for us to learn a new thing that April genuinely loves (garbage) and see Leslie model for some sweet Google Earth pics. Our little canaries were really great as a team, and I like where the story went with the obviously impossible-to-move refrigerator because at first it felt a little bit like last week's (and before that, it was the central theme to "Lucky") "everything always comes out well for Leslie because she has a history of being nice to people." Instead, it turned out to be "everything worked out well for Leslie because she's smart and thoughtful and really very good at her job" -- though I do think that they should have at least tried eating the fridge piece-by-piece while on PCP. The only reason this doesn't get a plus with that A -- and trust me, April being a total troll in the beginning of the episode and her feminist "gift" to Leslie at the end nearly put them there -- is because of the odd pacing; it was morning by the time Leslie and April finally figured out what do to with that refrigerator. Did they really stay up all night? It sure didn't look or feel that way.
Leslie's Best Line of the Night: "Easy, breezy, beautiful... that's a Cover Girl slogan, I didn't mean to say that."
April's Best Line of the Night: "Mmm, if I were 300 years older, Councilman."
Donna's Best Line of the Night: Not applicable, but I did enjoy the impressed look on her face when Paula told her how the boys in the City Council used to wear mirrors on their shoes to look up her skirt.
Chris and Shauna: C+
Ugh, this started out so strong with Chris being excited about Leslie's gender equality idea, but Shauna totally dragged the whole thing down, making me like her even less than I used to. Chris not knowing their relationship status was just too conventional, but that being said, I loved his line about falling for someone from old media, the assertion that he could never be chill and the fact that Chris and Shauna sat together in the Smallest Park. And I don't say this enough, but Rob Lowe is highly underrated on this show and has quickly become a guaranteed episode highlight for me. I hope he gets some kind of major nod for his work as a supporting character because he really is fantastic.
Chris's Best Line of the Night: (At the equality meeting, after he assumed some of the departments would bring women) "Oh my god, I am part of the problem."
Shauna's Best Line of the Night: (During the word association exercise) [Chris: "Us."] "Magazine!"
Mustache Dum-Dum, Hansen and Jerry: A+
This is by far my favorite Ron-Ann storyline, and though maybe that's not saying much, I was sincerely excited whenever we came back to it. I love that Ann got to be an adult while staying true to character, and that Ron called her "terrific" in front of Ivy and Zoe without a would-be predictable reaction shot from her. This whole story could have been an afterthought, but it was rich with great little details and moments -- the girls painting Ron's shoes red; Ron just chugging scotch silently in his TH; Ann's owl shirt (it was just really cool, okay?); Ron not knowing Ann's last name; Ann testing the girls' reflexes while one held a stuffed frog, which in my head was totally a shoutout to Muppets Take Manhattan; Jerry's many keys; everything surrounding the hair cutting, especially Diane's reaction; and obviously "Ron loves Mommy!"
Ron's Best Line of the Night: "I'm out of activities and they're playing with my landmine."
Ann's Best Line of the Night: "Hey dudettes! You stoked about the weekend?"
Jerry's Best Line of the Night: "Well hey, girls." (To say this made me laugh is a gross understatement.)
Ben, Tom and Andy: C
On the other hand, this part of the "Women in Garbage" didn't really work for me, most likely because "one of the guys needs to learn a sport in order to slowly move along a plotline" was done much better in "Soda Tax." I guess I also find it hard to believe that Tom knows so little about basketball (especially since he had NBA players around at Entertainment 720), but not completely out of the realm of possibility given how well he did as a referee in "Go Big or Go Home." In any event, the basketball stuff was okay but could have been amazing, and it just kind of felt like a waste of Ben wearing sport goggles, Andy making ridiculous faces while playing against children and Tom shattering his phone's screen. Nice to see Rent-A-Swag is doing well, though!
Ben's Best Line of the Night: (After Tom acknowledges his text about R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe being there was a lie.) "Yeah... I knew it was. I just couldn't live with myself if it had been true." I also cracked up at "Aw, he gets his thing?!" and "Well you suck at being polite, sir!"
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "I can't keep referring to basketball players as 'Khloe Kardashian's husband and his friends.'"
Andy's Best Line of the Night: (On cancelling the rest of his plans for the day.) "No need, my only plan was buying Skittles." (Really, though, does NBC have some kind of marketing deal with Skittles? My fellow Parenthood fans will know what I'm talking about.)
Honorable mentions: So many this week! Paula Hork who blows her nose on a receipt (why is that so gross?) and pioneered women in Pawnee politics while having her menstrual cycle documented by her colleagues (which felt a bit like a Community homage); Andy's POOP LITE-BRITE; Councilman Milton who tried to force the snack girl out of her own meeting, keeps track of her cycle and must be confusing women with lightbulbs and/or his own hip; the Sanitation Department -- especially secretary Dan, who's the best -- for clapping when being told they have the least women in their department (and I know Sewage Joe has been fired for texting pictures of his penis and everything, and will certainly not be allowed back after several pie-related harassment incidents, but his spirit lives on); Stacey Noblock, who dyes her hair and has to use prescription-strength deodorant (take that!); the guy from the bakery, who is not a ghost; and seriously, major props to Ivy (Sadie Salizar) and Zoe (Rylan Lee), who not only did not cut off their toes but had amazing comedic timing and were absolutely adorable. I've said this before and I'll say it many times again, but doesn't it seem like the writers are prepping us for more kids on this show... maybe in the form of Andy and April having a baby?
And check out this deleted scene that maybe would have helped the boys' grade:
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