I'll admit right now that I was already pretty biased going into "Bailout" -- Jason Schwartzman was my longtime high school crush (I wish I could tell you it was because of Rushmore or even Freaks and Geeks, but it actually spawned after Slackers) and I've been a fan of Jenny Slate's since before she was on Saturday Night Live. Also, hello: "Time After Time." I could totally understand an argument on why this installment could have felt repetitive or even like a filler episode (outside of Chris's dad-cision), but come on... we got two Sappersteins in one sitting. Let's get to grading.
Leslie, Dong Swanson and Andy: B
Considering how different their politics are, it's kind of surprising that this is the first time Leslie and Ron faced off in a public government forum. It was fun to watch and I appreciate that Andy got to be funny-dumb without it being overkill, but this won't go down in my collection of Parks & Rec face-off highlights -- that's been reserved for their battle in "Pawnee Rangers." Nice twist with the Video Dome turning into a porn rental place, though, and extra points for Leslie's slam poetry.
Leslie's Best Line: "Ron, what are you doing at a city council meeting? Are you lost? Are you hurt?"
Ron's Best Line: "[Capitalism] is what makes America great, and England okay, and France terrible."
Andy's Best Line: "The point is, obviously, you do not throw rocks at a hornets' nest."
April, Ann and Donna: B+
I would normally say that we didn't need yet another episode of Ann desperately trying to be friends with April, but the writing was so good and the actors were so committed that it worked. For those of you who are also convinced that April is going to be pregnant by the season finale, I'm sure you were just as let down when she said her big secret was applying to veterinary school, and maybe similarly even further convinced when she was immediately understanding of Ann's struggle and even gave her a baby naming book at the end of the episode. When this season wraps, if it turns out we called it (the way I correctly guessed a big plot development on Parenthood this year), I'm buying us all waffles. I also cracked up at Ann indeed having hooked up with the guy from the vet school.
April's Best Line: "Yao Ming's torso, Napoleon's brain and the Hunchback of Notre Dame's hunchback."
Ann's Best Line: She gets two: "This is Jerry Gergich calling, bye," and "Generally, between us, April always has the upper hand. And that hand is usually giving me the finger or pouring honey in my purse. But now, I have the upper hand and I'm going to use it to crush her into being nice to me."
Donna's Best Line: "I will be waiting, time after time. Time after time. Time after time."
Tom, Chris, Ben and Jerry: B-
Mostly everything out of Chris and Jerry's mouths were gold, but Ben and Tom were lacking on the funny dialogue -- though of course, Ben's physical reactions to Jean-Ralphio were genius.
Tom's Best Line: "If she murders me, tell Jean-Ralphio to clear my browser history."
Chris's Best Line: "You're Tom Haverford. You're a smart, successful young man with an adorable little belly. Stand up for yourself!"
Ben's Best Line: "Mona Lisa Sapperstein? Does that mean --"
Jerry's Best Line: "And other thing is... like... [gibberish]. I'm sorry, guys. No one ever lets me talk this long, I just got lost."
Mona Lisa, Jean-Ralphio and Dennis: A
We already knew that Pawnee breeds a lot of strange people, but I never get tired of a good freak, you know? Dennis's aversion to Michael Bay, Mona Lisa having once punched a police horse in the face and Jean-Ralphio... just existing were enough for me.
Mona Lisa's Best Line: "Ecstasy takes [singing] forever to leave my system"
Jean-Ralphio's Best Line: "I heard 'sack of flour' and 'high school.' Are you ding dongs making fake drugs for sophomores? Because if true, this guy wants in." (Series highlight?)
Dennis's Best Line: "We only have Japanese slime candy and Bulgarian wheat balls."
Honorable mentions: Vintage Perd Hapley, who gave E.T. 1.5 stars on Light, Camera, Perd because although it's a heartwarming story, "it's just not believable"; Morris, who made his second appearance and is probably watching Iron Man 2 on his phone and ordering tools online right now; April's giant syringe from the Internet; three new (I think?) business establishments -- The Pawnee Video Dome, Boondogglers Fine Eats & Frozen Treats and Pinky's Nails (who do a mean "ANN SUCKS" nail design); Michael Fassbender and his.... sense of humor; Sewage Joe, who needs $3,000 minimum (though I thought Wilson Gromling of the Liberty or Die Party was just too on-the nose); The Pawn Shop Guy who likes this Video Dome now; Brandi Maxxx, whose work has always been supported by Leslie; Bran muffins, the highest honor that flour can achieve; and Ann's uterus, which has been the source for a surprisingly huge amount of jokes this season.
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