"Partridge" was great. I mean, of course we were going to love doped-up Ben -- given how good flu-stricken Leslie and human disaster Ben have been in the past, it only makes sense. The pacing in this episodes was fantastic, all of the storylines were fun and my only real complaint is that Parks and Recreation is never frickin' on, and I desperately want to watch a new episode every week instead of a seemingly random installment every first Thursday of the month, or whatever this schedule is. More, I say, more! On the bright side, there are still four episodes left this season, all of which are consecutive -- there's even two in one night on April 18! -- so I can stop my complaining and get to talking about how much I laughed last night. Until then, I'm not above suing the parents of whoever made up this stupid schedule for spawning a human turdburger.
In episodes like "Partridge," (and frankly, most installments of Parks & Rec), it feels like the writers are rewarding us for sticking around for so long -- I've always hoped we'd get to learn more about Icetown, and here, we did. Same goes for the follow-up to Ron punching Jam in the face; it would have been totally fine if we never circled back to the incident at Ben and Leslie's wedding, but it makes perfect sense that we did, and was a great way to get more Jamm in there, considering a villain like him is such a fun addition to this cast. And of course Chris and Ann's subplot makes sense, and is definitely benefiting from its slow-building pace since at first Ann wanting to have a baby and even considering Chris for a father felt completely out of nowhere. Basically, this show makes me happy and I like watching it. While I'm at it, here's what I want to happen in the Season 5 finale (and there better be a Season 6): Leslie, Ann and April all find out they're pregnant at the same time and then we get to watch them with big bellies for an entire 24-episode run. Just a thought.
Okay, let's grade!
Baby Smurf and Ice Clown: A-
I'll straight up tell you right now that I was kind of hoping for just a little bit more from Ben in Mayor Stice's office toward the end there, and felt disappointed... though I'm glad that the scene was in the episode to explain why Partridge would go through all of this trouble of inviting Ben back, and I adored Leslie stealing the key. The rest of this plot was obviously hilarious and surprisingly not too over-the-top, especially with Leslie and Ben's little sister Stephanie finally meeting (and hugging!). LesliBen as husband and wife is great, and any chance to see Ben make this face is welcomed with open arms. And just an FYI, according to my approximations, it's an 11-hour drive from Pawnee to Partridge. OH; also, love is everywhere, and we have to surrender to the flow of the universe.
Leslie's Best Lines: (Most people are going to get a few today) "Who were Ben's high school girlfriends, and what base do you think he got to?," "Every time you say that speech, I think about where you've been and where you're going, and our future children and America and just our history as a nation," "He has a calcified rock lodged in his penis!" and "Ben Wyatt is better than Lee Jansen, and he's better than Judy Garland... that's crazy, Judy Garland is amazing. But Ben Wyatt is better than all of you because he cared about this town, and he tried to help it. You know, screw you Partridge! And a sled is a stupid mascot!"
Ben's Best Lines: "Leslie and Dr. Clipperton? Wow, man, I'm so glad you guys are meeting. It's like worlds collide, you know? I love it. I want candy. [...] Leslie, come here. Do you have an idea how beautiful you are? I'm serious. You're like a flower. Or, no, like a snug-bug. Or like a snugger-doodle or something like that. We should just go for it, you know? Life!" and then just Ben crying about staying home from school and watching The Price is Right and "I feel like I never gave Miles Davis proper shrift."
Ann, Chris, Donna and Jerry: B+
I wouldn't say I ship Ann and Chris, but I'm not opposed to the writers finding an organic way for them to fall in love, as we already recently saw what happens when two friends decide to have kids together (with bonus Adam Scott!). Until then, I enjoyed the cute little slapstick moment of Ann leaving the eggs at the grocery store and Chris breaking his mug, and laughed throughout the failed name-association test with Dr. Van Dyne. I would have been nice to see Chris win that organic gardening contest, though.
Ann's Best Line: "I bought 12 babies and then I immediately abandoned them at a Kroger's!" (I also really liked when Jamm said of Ann: "The nurse still won't have sex with me, and she's not even queer.")
Chris's Best Line: "It's not like we failed -- we got a 58 percent, which as I'm saying it, sounds very clearly like we failed."
Donna's Best Line: "You wanna make a baby, Traeger? Your hair, my everything else. That kid would be unstoppable."
Jerry's Best Line: "Ann and I got 84 percent!"
Ron alias "Swansuck" alias "Softypants McHuggable," Andy, April and Tom alias "This Munch": A
I was a little nervous about this storyline falling flat, but it remained funny throughout, and had some of the best Tom stuff we've seen all season. I really liked Ron jamming (!) the baseball bat into the wall, of course all of the depositions and when Andy mimicked the way Ron was holding is gut at the top of his pants and talking about how young Tom and April are, but my favorite part was the montage of all the times Ron told Tom he wanted to punch Jamm in the face. I think that this would actually be a great episode to show someone who had never seen Parks & Rec before but wanted to get into it, especially if you explain to them that these are the first times we got to see these clips, too. It was Chronicles of Riddick-ulous.
Ron's Best Lines: "There's only one thing I hate more than lying: Skim milk. Which is water that's lying about being milk," and "Just daydreaming about punching Jamm in the face." (Also, we now know that in addition to gold, Ron's money is also in palladium.
Andy's Best Lines: [On Jamm's claim for $13,000 orthodontic surgery, $6,000 enamel repair and $46 million for psychological damage] "Ugh, yeah, that seems about accurate," "That's right, I love telling the truth. Case in point: sometimes when I blow my nose, I get a boner. I don't know why. It just happens. Truth bomb," and in general, Andy honestly believing that Tom is actually in pain from Jamm and then carrying him off like a baby.
April's Best Lines: "The guy's like, a vegetarian," "Whatever, the truth is stupid. I only tell the truth when it makes it sound like I'm lying."
Tom's Best Lines: [On the Jamm family calling it "payback time"] "Everyone calls it that," "I was like Mark Z in The Social N," "Yeah, lying is all I know. It's how I was able to scrape by on the streets of Bombay and make it on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and get reunited with the love of my life. Latika!" and "I'm tweeting that to Drake to use in his next rhymes."
Honorable mentions: The Guy who served Ron, who totally Jamm'ed me; the lawyers of Gately, Wayne, Kittlenplan & Troeltsch (which is apparently an Infinite Jest reference -- actually, if you click through that link, it seems that there are a bunch of IJ shoutouts in this episode, all of which went over my pretty little head); Jean-Ralphio who once sued a haunted house for getting him too scared, and he won $60,000, which is also the a subplot of last week's Nathan for You, a show I have been telling all of my coworkers and friends to watch and will now tell you because it is seriously so funny; Stephanie Wyatt, who loves the Star Wars movies just as much as her big bro did; Lee Jansen -- He's a golfer. He's pretty good. (I had to pause and rewind from laughing so hard); Dr. Van Dyne, who just wants to confirm that you're not complete strangers and that this isn't one of this Craigslist-fathers situations; the bronze eagle, who is starving; yabbos; J.K. Simmons's Mayor Stice and also Dr. Clipperton; and the park ranger, because, "Hey, lake's not a garbage can, pal."
And for your viewing pleasure, here's Ben on morphine:
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