NBC didn’t do a ton of promotion for “Parks and Recreation” this week — between all the spots for Will Ferrell on “The Office,” the premiere of “The Paul Reiser Show” and the endless parade of hype for “The Voice,” there just wasn’t much room.
That’s not exactly a bad thing, though, because when the big deal in “Fancy Party” arrived, I was as surprised as Leslie Knope was, and much more amused. Because who saw an Andy-and-April wedding coming? And even as they were standing in front of the justice of the peace, who saw them seriously going through with it, and there not being a single TV-style complication?*
(*Apparently you did, if you remember the promos that aired after “Ron and Tammy Part 2” earlier in the season. The “Parks and Rec” team engaged in some disinformation afterward to undo the inadvertent spoiler — you can read more here — but either it worked on me, or I just didn’t pay close enough attention to that particular teaser, so I remained blissfully unaware.)
Expected or not, it ended up being a pretty delightful half-hour of TV. April and Andy are two of the “Parks and Rec’s” more purely comedic characters, but the show has always treated their relationship seriously, and it’s spent a good amount of time this season showing how devoted Andy is to April and how that devotion has made April drop her I-don’t-care facade at least occasionally.
Is this marriage a good idea, or destined to last? Maybe not — all the reasons Leslie cited about how young they are and the short time they’ve been together (to say nothing of Andy’s general cluelessness) could still undermine it. But good on her for biting her tongue and letting these two goofballs who clearly love one another their moment.
“Fancy Party’s” B-story was also a winner, with Ann attempting to get back in the dating pool and failing spectacularly at a singles night until Donna, who’s initially not happy to see her, takes Ann under her wing. Rashida Jones continues to knock befuddled Ann out of the park, and the show has found something in the teaming of her and Retta. It’s not likely that they’ll become BFFs — Donna wouldn’t want to anyway, I’d wager — but we hope they get a few more chances to play off one another before the season is out.
Other notes from “Fancy Party”:
- Yet another in the line of past Leslie Knope dating humiliations: “Relationships are like scuba diving: If you come up too fast, you get the bends. I know this because I was dating this guy, and we went scuba diving, and I told him I loved him while we were underwater, and he shot up and got the bends.”
- Three distinct great Ron Swanson moments tonight. 1. The tooth-pulling gag before the opening credits (“It’s fun to see Tom faint”). 2. His horror at the vegetable loaf Chris brings to the party: “Not only does that thing exist, but now you have deprived everyone of cake!” 3. His instructions for the burning of an ex-wife’s effigy. Remember to keep a safe distance.
- Donna to Ann, after Ann has a particularly awkward conversation with a guy at singles night: “Are you Nell? From the movie ‘Nell’?”
- New contrivance to keep Ben in Pawnee: He takes a job working for interim city manager Chris. That Chris’ offer created several more awkwardly sweet moments for Ben and Leslie is enough to excuse the plot machinations.
- More of Chris Traeger dancing, please. Thank you.
What did you think of “Parks and Rec” this week?