I would start gushing now about how five weeks is too long to wait for new Parks and Recreation episodes, and reminisce about all the things I'll miss in that time... but I already did here. Instead of wallowing, let's just get right in to the very funny "Lucky" -- which was written by Nick Offerman! -- and wish March away.
One hand giveth, the other taketh away: While we're excited about Community coming back with new episodes on Thursday, that means that our beloved Parks and Recreation will go on a five-week hiatus. Sure, compared to, say, Mad Men (which took approximately 12 years between seasons, give or take), a little over a month is child's play, but we're still bummed. Season 4 has been so compelling that we don't know how we'll do without Pawnee and the excellence that comes with it. Here's what we've loved this year:
Any Parks and Recreation episode that features the return of Pawnee's finest news personality, Perd Hapley, a water balloon fight in the Parks office that ends with Andy kamikaze-ballooning Chris, a guest star turn by comedy legend Carl Reiner as Ned Jones (the "grand-godfather" of the town's senior voter block) and the introduction of Kathryn Hahn as a new nemesis for Leslie -- a Washington-seasoned political operative named Jennifer Barkley who is now heading up the Bobby Newman campaign -- gets an instant A from us.
Hey, everyone! Last night was another episode of a show that's always really funny.
If I had it my way, every single episode of Parks and Recreation would be wonderful, and we could spend Friday mornings going over funny lines and cracking up at all of the crazy shenanigans witnessed in Pawnee -- that's what happens most of the time, and what I expected to happen with the return of Louis C.K. as Officer Dave. Like most people who go on the Internet, I love basically everything about C.K. (and can vouch that Live at the Beacon Theater is well-worth the $5), but Dave just didn't do it for me, nor did "Dave Returns" as an episode.
If I ever get into the acting biz, Parks and Recreation is the first show I'm auditioning for (is this even how people get acting gigs?) because once you're in the Pawnee universe, you're there forever. That crazy DJ that Tom hired to announce his entrances into new places? In "Operation Ann," he's being considered in the search for the person responsible for getting the Valentine's Day dance attendees "wet with sound." That weird friend of April's who always freaks Ben out? He just may be an eligible suitor for Ann! It doesn't hurt that my memory for extremely minor characters is freakishly good, but I love every appearance we've ever gotten of both DJ Bluntz and Oren... but even then, as soon as you hear their name and see their mannerisms, they are instantly recognizable as the hilarious archetypes they're meant to be. Same goes with all of Pawnee's fine business establishments.
When Parks and Recreation first debuted, I remember the attitude surrounding it was that the series what basically The Office with Amy Poehler... especially considering it was originally conceived as a spin-off. The similarities were there, and The Office was still good enough at that point that a new show with a cast of mostly-unfamiliar faces seemed pretty much vestigial.
While I've definitely lowered the bar for some comedies, my expectations for Parks and Recreation are about is high as I go for a show that's in that genre. "Campaign Ad" would have been a fine episode of another series, but here it felt repetitive and all too familiar. I'm totally with Donna -- love the new haircut, by the way -- on not complaining about Paul Rudd's good looks (seriously, whatever lacked in comedy last night was overshadowed by eye candy), but otherwise, we've seen these plotlines before on this show and they've been done much better already. As much as I'd just love to gush about how funny and silly everyone was and give them grades, pointing out the repeats seems way more relevant. Nobody make a mean political video about me, okay?
And we're back. "The Comeback Kid" returned us to Leslie's city council campaign, Ben's unemployment and... that's pretty much it. I look forward to the minor characters' storylines for the rest of the season -- mostly Tom, because things have been quiet on the Haverford front since the collapse of E720 -- but for now, I'm fine just catching up with Knope 2012. Before we jump in and grade everyone, I should make the disclaimer that these letters are assigned sans the ice-walking scene, because otherwise everyone would have an A+. And as for harsh criticism of the episode, all I'm saying is, I sincerely hope there's more Donna next episode. She was also missing from the fabulous Parks & Rec short shown at the People's Choice Awards!
Now that Leslie and Ben are finally together forever, Parks and Recreation faces the challenge of giving us satisfying struggles for our power duo, and I think that "Citizen Knope" is so far covering that ground well. In last night's episode, we got to see Sad Ben make sense of his career plans and Leslie lose her campaign managers -- and while both plots where kind of predictable in their outings, their conclusions were unexpected yet sweet, while still managing to be believable and zany.
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