I think "Leslie vs. April" may be my favorite episode of Parks and Recreation this season. I know I always go on about the character development on the show, but it is seriously delightfully to watch our Pawnee friends grow up and change and find new ways to be completely hilarious. I like April more and more every episode, and while there's some divide on whether Aziz Ansari can pull of a slightly dramatic plotline (I think he can, for the record), he's definitely capable of being funny while acting a bit more grown-up and serious. I'm slightly worried about the futures of Chris, Ron and Andy at the moment since their characters have felt a bit stagnant lately, but they each clearly have some big side plots going on off-camera from week-to-week, so that's a good sign.
Here's a bit of TV math: If Jonathan Banks plays both Ben Wyatt's dad on Parks and Recreation and Jay Pritchett's brother on Modern Family, then surely that means Ben's cousins are Claire and Mitchell which... would actually make a lot of sense, and would so be a crossover I'd watch in a heartbeat. In this totally falsified timeline, it also evens out that both Jay and his brother got divorced from uptight blonde women and are now dating much younger -- not to mention pregnant -- ladies. Though I guess this would also mean that Breaking Bad's Walter White basically ruins everything for both family which... also makes a lot of sense. But I digress.
Full disclosure: This episode was spoiled for me, so the whole time I watched "Halloween Surprise," I just wanted to get to the engagement already. It's frustrating, because this was supposed to be special. It was going to be my big night and it was completely ruined. Humph.
I laughed a lot during "Sex Education," but I wouldn't call it a great episode of Parks and Recreation. Season 5 has been off to a fairly slow start, and I'm wondering if sectioning off two major players of the cast to another city maybe wasn't the best idea in the world. I love Ben and April together, but aside from building a nice little friendship, I don't really see how far the plot of the show can be moved along with the two of them joking around in Washington... unless one (or both?) of them leaves their partner, something that I'm pretty positive isn't going to happen. (Though my research has led me to find a tiny community of Apren/Benpril shippers and apparently there's some pretty convincing fan fiction out there, though I sure as hell am not ever going to read it.)
"How a Bill Becomes a Law" did not feel like a standard Parks and Recreation episode -- and I mean that in a good way. The jokes were a little more advanced, and instead of relying on what we already know the characters do so well, the writing centered on the new roles and relationships we've been seeing in Season 5. Turns out, the episode was written by Dan Goor, who also penned such Parks & Rec greats like "Hunting Trip," "Freddy Spaghetti," "Harvest Festival," "Li'l Sebastian," and "The Trial of Leslie Knope," (to name a few), so they guy clearly knows what he's doing. The episode felt tight, the subplots hit their marks and we're actually starting to see some real character development play out on-screen. Let's get to grading. Please and thank you.
I've come to realize that my favorite Parks and Recreation episodes are the ones that are cartoonish in plot but realistic when it comes to the characters -- last year's "Pawnee Rangers" sticks out to me for doing just that, while last week's "Ms. Knope Goes to Washington" was disappointing because the Leslie-Ben plot was all too accurate while Ron's character was a caricature. Or, I don't know, maybe I just really enjoyed last night's "Soda Tax" because of clever writing and great acting. Either way.
How excited are you that Parks and Recreation is back for Season 5? How great was it to see the old gang again? How much did you think, "I really hope Amy Poehler is happy in her personal life!"? How disappointed were you by last night's episode?
It's been a very long summer without our favorite local government, but they're finally back. Parks and Recreation will return for its fifth season tomorrow, and we couldn't be more excited to catch up with the Pawnee gang -- even if a few of the members are out-of-town. We talked to Adam Scott and Aubrey Plaza about their characters, and in between cracking us up and bringing out our inner fangirls, we learned what to expect for the new season.
I know I should probably be stressing out over Parks and Recreation still being in limbo for a Season 5 (at least as of this writing) while deciding whether "Win, Lose, or Draw" was better than last year's Season 3 finale, "Li'l Sebastian," but honestly, all I want to do right now is sit in a high-quality leather chair and reflect on a season of television that made me happy.
We've reached the penultimate episode of a pretty fantastic season of television... not that the gradually sinking ratings really reflect it. Last week's "The Debate" had the least U.S. viewers in the series' history, with the previous weeks behind it not faring much better. I don't fear Parks and Recreation being cancelled -- I'm just trying to say that it'd be ideal if everyone and their moms watched this show together to help build a better Pawnee. Though, it does make I... sad.
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