I was beyond excited for a double dose of Parks & Rec after the long unexpected hiatus, but perhaps my hopes were too high. The "Filibuster" episode had me laughing really hysterically, much to my neighbor's chagrin, I'm sure. But "Recall Vote" fell pretty flat. "Filibuster" was filled with weird quirky sex kinks, '90s costumes, Leslie at her most earnest and had Andy and Orphan Black herself Tatiana Maslany. "Recall Vote" had a lot of Tom trying to be popular and a pretty lame Halloween theme that really felt out of place two weeks late. Here's hoping that next week's back-to-back episodes don't suffer the same fate.
Leslie and City Hall
It's been an emotional roller coaster for Leslie in her run for City Council and her attempts to keep her position, so much so that Ben and Ann had to form the Leslie Knope Emotional Support Task Force just to keep her on track. But she didn't really need their help -- she took on Councilman Jamm head-on as he tried desperately to block her at every turn. He even called a secret emergency session to try and stop the former Eagletonians from being able to vote in the recall. So even in roller skates and overalls, she pulled her best Wendy Davis and got to filibustering. It was really Leslie at her finest, being funny and principled all in one bit, even once the Eagletonians revealed they were going to vote against her. Why Jamm persisted in torturing Leslie with giant glasses of water after he knew they weren't siding with her beats the heck out of me. But it just made it all the sadder when Leslie lost the recall vote (which may mean more Ingrid/Kristen Bell, I can hope!) and only has 30 days left in office to get done what she wants. Honestly, it took a weird turn, with Leslie moping, being depressing around children, drinking and nearly getting tattooed in a pawn shop with Ben (who realized that he peaked at 18 years old), but Leslie picked herself up (with the help of Ann) and got back to business. I'm just optimistic that the end of her councilwoman stint may have cast an odd pallor over the season that at least it may mean the end of Jamm for a while.
Best Leslie Line: "Ann, you poetic and noble land-mermaid."
Ben and His Birthday
He didn't have a ton to do, aside from being the supportive husband, but any episode that allows us to learn a little bit more about Ben's sexual quirks is fine by me. Do you think he watches Xanadu instead of porn? And drunk Ben and Leslie are the best, especially when dressed up as Buttercup and the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride. I also loved his '90s-themed party -- can we get a do-over so we can see more synchronized skate dancing? And more of his thoughts on R.E.M.?
Best Ben Line "I know this is a dire situation, but I swear to god this is like a crazy sex fantasy for me "
Ann (and Chris) and the Teddy Bear
On the other hand, I didn't really need to know that Ann learned to make out on a giant teddy bear (which she then decided she need to have). We did like her interactions with Tom, including questioning how he got such attractive dating partners all the time, and she was great in her pick-me-up speech to Leslie (and made a super-cute Little Red Riding Hood and Blossom). Chris, on the other hand, tried to cheer up April, but really had nothing to do at all aside from awkward hugging with an Eagletonian.
Best Ann Line: "What do you think mummies are?"
Ron, Donna, Hunting and Bloosh
I need more Ron and Donna hanging out (even though we wonder about Ron's pregnant wife and where she was during all of this), playing hunting video games and just generally being awesome together… they are the best odd couple on the show. They don't speak the same language at all, but they just get each other. It's cool and fun. I also loved that while she was thrilled that Ron's handmade chairs were in Bloosh (this show's GOOP equivalent) and beyond thrilled to meet Annabel with the genetically perfect hair, she never really used it to gain anything the way that Tom tried to. And Ron had a lot more tolerance for the insipid and entitled behavior of the Bloosh-loving socialites than I thought he would. And while I couldn't have cared less about Bloosh, and would be happy never to see Annabel again, I'm glad that it allowed Ron and Donna more scenes together.
Best Ron Line: "I'm not a sore loser. It's just that I prefer to win and when I don't, I get furious.
Best Donna Line: "Come on now, you know I don't give a f***."
Best Ron & Donna Moment When he put ASS as his initials in the game and they giggled.
Tom, Nadia and Rent-a-Swag
I adored the Tom and Nadia stuff. Seriously, watching Tatiana Maslany and Aziz Ansari together just warmed my heart. But after she headed off to Rwanda for "vacation," I soured on Tom quickly. He went back to being that money-grubbing guy that I have a low tolerance for. Trying to strike a deal to save his store before his cash runs out, he glommed on to Ron's sudden Bloosh success and attempted to get Annabel to promote him. Then even though Ron told him to save the Rent-a-Swag name, he went and sold out. I really don't know what Nadia sees in him, but I still want more of the Orphan Black star on the show so I'm a little conflicted.
Best Tom Line: "She's definitely out of my league. We don't even play the same sport. It's kind of like she's in the NBA and I work in a muffler store next to the stadium."
April, Andy and Dumpster Diving
Andy came back from London for a quick visit and jumped in a dumpster when he thought he might have to go back to his overwhelming job. April, who is wise beyond her years, advised him that we're all clueless about jobs and we just do them until we figure them out. He headed back (after dumpster diving again). Brilliant --as the British would say -- and just enough Chris Pratt to keep us happy while he's busy guarding the galaxy. After he left, we got a sad April who missed her husband, moping around in her flower costume. It's too hard to have Leslie and April be depressed in the same episode. Also, her scenes with Chris weren't even funny or adorable or particularly mean. They just seemed like padding. I was relieved by the end when she at least went back to picking on Ann.
Best April Line: "Now be the Chuck Norris of making out with me."
Best Andy Line: "Just remember every time you look up at the moon, that I too will be looking at a moon. Not the same moon, obviously, 'cause that's impossible."
Jerry/Larry and the Great Pumpkins
I don't care much one way or the other what Jerry is called, but I do like that since they made such a big deal about the name change that they are at least sticking with it. It may be an odd choice, but at least they've committed. Whatever you call him, he buys pizza and does amazing pumpkin carvings. Cool by me.
Watch both episodes here:
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