Parks and Recreation dipped into its usual hat of tricks, callbacks and beloved townspeople for "Animal Control" to produce a slightly formulaic episode... not that I'm complaining. Last night's episode cracked me up and made me happy while propelling some hard-earned character development, which is more than I can say about any other TV comedy currently airing right this moment, except for maybe New Girl. I'm not sure if you read my Modern Family reviews, but for a while (maybe an entire season or two, gulp) they became about me pointing out every single awful thing about that show followed by our commenters asking me to please stop being an awful grouch about a sitcom, to which I say: "If you just watched Parks & Rec and read my reviews of that, there'd be no issues here! You'd know I do have a sense of humor, Internet strangers!" But I digress. I'm just trying to say that "Animal Control" was good, dammit, and I'll start writing fangirl-y things about other shows once they put at least ten percent of the effort that this show puts in. Okay let's grade everyone yay!
Leslie, Chris, April, Jerry and Jamm: B
The second Leslie and Chris fired Harris and Brett, this storyline became a countdown to when April was going to step in and save the day (and do like 100 funny things). It was a fun journey getting there -- especially with Chris stepping into a coyote trap, the reveal that Jamm bribes his dental clients with promises of easy political gigs, the reference to Jerry's history in animal control, sleepy Milton and April's suggestion of Leslie divorcing Ben ("What? I really think he's wrong for you."). I do wish that the writers relied less on cartoonish villains like Jamm even though I do love him, and instead created a bigger conflict this season.
Leslie's Best Line: "Yes, Miss Daisy." (I was hoping for a little more, there.)
Chris's Best Line: "You see Dr. Richard Nygart? I'm a Nygartian, too! Would you sign my cast?"
April's Best Line: "I don't like lotion. I like my hands to be cracked and callous like a railway worker." (I love that Leslie filled the bottles with fake blood, vinegar and mud. I wish we got to see that, too.)
Jerry's Best Line: (On getting his pay lowered) "Oh, fair is fair!"
Jamm's Best Line: "Hey, you know what? He's not a rack of ribs, so stop grilling him."
Ann and Ron: B+
This was one of my favorite Ann and Ron storylines thanks to Ann's newfound confidence and Ron's desire to provide for Diane and her kids, though like last week, it depended on the tried-and-true recipe of "Isn't it funny when these people get sick?" mixed with "Isn't it funny when Ron giggles and talks about meat?" I mean, yes, it is definitely still funny to me, but I'm an easy target. I'm also a big fan of Ron redacting his medical information and then going through his medical history with Ann was a wonderful little moment, with the best part of the episode clearly being the tag with Ron forcing himself to eat a banana.
Ann's Best Line: "Okay, I'm gonna go get your doctor. He's a rude, brash jerk -- you'll love him."
Ron's Best Line: [Whispering to a banana] "Ladies, ladies."
Tom, Ben, Andy, Donna and Dennis Feinstein: B-
Look, I love Jason Mantzoukas, but I was hoping for more from here, too. That being said, I'm glad that the core guys weren't too cartoonish and that the buildup was for Andy to call Feinstein a dick and eventually have Tom prove how much he's grown... and for the guys to see Donna smoking, duh.
Tom's Best Line: "I think that guy wants to hunt me!" (I almost wish though that they didn't have Tom say that since those of us who know Dennis Feinstein knows that he likes hunting people, but it was still really funny regardless.)
Ben's Best Line: "So, The Sweetums Foundation really accomplished a lot recently. Our healthcare outreach program has reduced pink eye in the rural community by 30 percent... to 70 percent."
Andy's Best Line: "I already took what I call a 'Dwyer Shower.' I rubbed my armpits with air fresheners... new car."
Donna's Best Line: "Gentlemen."
Dennis Feinstein's Best Line: "You know, they claim smoking is bad for you, but is there any medical evidence to back that up?" (Tom: "Great point!")
Honorable mentions: Bark Obama; Wild stallions/roommates Brett and Harris, who made me crack up with:
"Oh yo, yeah, we found this bird outside. We tried to turn it into a work whistle like in the beginning of The Flintstones... tougher than it look, though."
"Wazzup, I'm Harris, I'm 33 years young, I have my cousin Jason's truck for two more weeks, I have one testicle (Whac-A-Mole accident!) and I'm down to clown."
"Whattup! Yo, my name is Brett. I like burgers, and also, I'm very high right now."
Then there's the goat who was gnawing on a plastic bag; the fine scents of Spasm, Butterface, Allergic ("Cause a Reaction"), Ooze, Money Shot and Blood Spurt; the new generation of wealth -- rappers, tech geniuses, X-Games medalists and scent artists; the Rolexus; DJ Jazzy Verns and the beet red gums; Mark Cuban (if you, like me, are obsessed with Shark Tank, you know how great he genuinely is); Dumb-Dumb Eddie! garbage people; the Dr. Nygart patient who is very, very, very frightened of animals; the man very interested in the spaying and neutering tools; Zoology student Orin -- I think this was the most we ever heard him talk, actually! Also, he made me say that.
And seriously, for your own sake, re-watch Ann going through Ron's medical history right here:
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