After last week's double dose of Parks & Rec proved to be a bit of a mixed bag, I was more than a little skeptical about the "Fluoride" and "The Cones of Dunshire" pairing, but by in large these were much more solid episodes, really banking on what makes each character so strong and enjoyable in the first place. While "Cones" had a glimmer of sadness as Leslie lamented the inevitable departure of Ann and Chris, these episodes weren't as depressing as last week's "Recall Vote." And while I'm going to spend the hiatus trying to pre-order my copy of Cones of Dunshire and reading Are You Gonna Crawl My Way, I'd Like to Solve the Puzzle of Parenting and Rad Dads, here's my take on what really worked in these episodes:
Donna and April
We learned more about Donna in this week's episode than we have in the entire rest of the series. From her love of the book Downton Abbey (yes, that's what she means) to how she 23spends her Sunday's and how she's more of a cat person (complete with meowing) than a dog person. And all of this was because April spent a few minutes getting to know her. We also discovered that Donna recently got her real estate license and tried to help sell Ron's cabin (with an assist from Tom on décor). And we can't say enough about April trying to convince the hipster couple to buy Ron's cabin. Her ability to transform into horrible people is quite the skill, as we also saw this season with Tynnyfer. And the duos attempt to find the perfect dog counterpart for each Parks employee gave us just the perfect amount of Craig.
Best Donna Line: "Skill positions only for Donna Meagle."
Best April Line: "Oh my god. I heard that Neko Case and Ben Gibbard made out here once."
Ron, Metaphors and His Cabin
Ron's discovery of his crib tree (the tree that he chopped down to make a crib for his soon-to-be-born child) led to an interesting exchange of words (only 100) with Chris. Chris eagerly hanging on Ron's every word and motion-thinking that it meant something was great, as was Ron's disdain for sound machines ("You bought a machine that replicates an open window?") and safety regulations. When it came to selling his cabin (or the one that we know about, not the other two secret ones), he was fine with the selling skills of Donna, April and Tom… until he realized that obnoxious a-holes would be invading the woods. So instead he sold it to April for a little over eight dollars and the other random contents of her purse. Knowing that you won't have hipsters and developers bugging you all the time is probably worth the monetary loss. Though I loved those clever fence traps around the place, but he's right about them not being safe for small children.
Best Ron Line: "I hate metaphors. That's why my favorite book is Moby Dick."
Ben and Accounting
When Leslie went off the rails and started complaining about the horrors of the Sweetums corporation, Ben got fired from his gig (does this affect Andy in any way?). And we thought he'd be bummed about being forced to go to that sad accounting firm, but his sheer delight at working at a place where they appreciate your ideas so much that they shine a light over your head and throw you a calzone party was awesome. And I love the ongoing gag of him leaving that firm and Barney every time he gets offered a better job (in this case the soon-to-be-vacated city manager position). Also, Ben's downtime gave him ample opportunity to create the titular complicated board game. At least he left that as a parting gift, because those accountants seem like decent folks.
Best Ben Line: "If I'm murdered tonight… start the investigation with those two guys."
Chris and Councilman Jamm
Jamm was at his most obnoxious tonight. He tried to destroy the dental health of Pawnee citizens, side with Lex Luthor, ate edamame improperly and performed as Sandy instead of Danny during his Grease duet, all while finding ways to destroy his nemesis Superman Leslie Knope. Wouldn't have expected Chris to be the one to really get back at Jamm (I thought Ben would be more on the revenge warpath) but the normally super-honest Chris surprised me. After getting sage wisdom on parenting from Ron, he decided to referee the Asian-themed meeting between Jamm and Leslie (complete with color-coded penalty cards) and slowly realized what a horrible human being Jamm really is. So he promised him many huge favors in the next term, if Jamm agreed to give Leslie the cash to finish her dream park project, knowing that he was leaving soon. Did Jamm miss that memo?
Best Chris Line: "I would like to buy five DVDs of this. No, 20. No, 60! No, that's insane. 20!"
Leslie and Tom
Leslie got out of her funk and realized that she could just say whatever she wanted to the City Council because the worst they could do was fire her… and she's already on her way out the door. It made Leslie a whole lot more fun, and willing to take Tom's suggestions on how to re-brand fluoride water (#Tdazzle and H2Flow). One can only wonder if she'd taken this more aggressive approach to her recall campaign, if she'd still be in office. And Tom now has nothing but time because Rent-a-Swag is out of business, so he's using his salesmanship skills to take advantage of social media and possibly enter the real estate staging business.
Best Leslie Line: "No matter what I do, literally nothing bad can happen to me. I'm like a white male U.S. senator.
Best Tom Line: "What's he gonna be in ten years? Snoop Laser Snake?"
Ostensibly Ann was in Michigan preparing for her upcoming move, but I honestly didn't miss her in these two episodes. Especially since it really gave Chris a chance to shine and explain to Leslie in no uncertain terms that they are actually moving. In fact, not having Ann around for these two episodes made us easily realize that the show will be just fine without her around.
The Indiana Colts
I know little about football (actually, little is probably overselling it), but I now know from Donna not to stoop so low as to date a linebacker. So this show can be educational. Also, I always love that outsiders rightly consider the staff of the Pawnee parks department just plain weird.
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