Aside from one big development at the end of the second episode, Thursday’s (May 12) double scoop of “Parks and Recreation” was a little light on plot.
In the first episode, “The Fight,” everyone went to the Snakehole Lounge and got drunk (although Ann made something of a career move). In the second, the rest of the staff goofed off/shared political philosophy while Leslie and Ben went to Indianapolis for work. That was about it.
But the relatively loose plotting made room for lots of wonderful comic flourishes, and those moments made for a really fun hour of TV. Some of our favorite things from the two episodes:
Everybody’s drunk: Tom’s latest money-making brainstorm, a wicked (yet apparently pleasant-tasting) adult beverage called Snake Juice, brings everyone to the Snakehole for a launch party in “The Fight.” They proceed to get all Snake Juiced up, and what follows is some of the funniest drunk/hung-over acting you’ll see. The Ann-Leslie fight — with morning-zoo DJ The Douche caught in the middle — was clearly made exponentially worse by the booze, and Rashida Jones in particular gets high marks for her hangover scenes. And, yes, Ann and Leslie make up, and Ann takes the job as the health department’s PR person. (And if I were adding one more bolded item to this list, it would probably be the signs the previous spokesman made.)
But easily the best part of “The Fight” was the sequence of talking-head moments in the middle of the episode that showed just how blotto everyone was. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but Ben’s smirking “Baba Booey” is a front-runner.
Ron’s recovery: Ron was as out of it as anyone, but the fact that he showed up to work the next morning as well-coiffed as ever, whistling and bearing armfuls of hangover-curing burgers, only adds to the Swanson legend.
April and Andy’s role-playing: I worry a little that Andy and April have retreated a little too much into their own little post-wedding world — it sometimes feels like they’re in their own show separate from the rest of “Parks and Rec.” But when it leads to things like April’s crackpot old-timey heiress and the return of Burt Macklin, FBI (and his twin brother, Kip Hackman), I’m totally OK with it.
“Know Ya Boo”: So, yeah, as Tom freely admits, he’s ripping off “The Newlywed Game” with his latest scheme in “Road Trip.” But the test shows with Jerry, Donna, April and Andy make for some good comedy — not so much with April and Andy’s silly fight over how much she likes Neutral Milk Hotel as with how well Jerry and Donna really know one another. Working with someone for a long, long time can do that to you. Plus, I have to give points to Tom for having all the sound effects on his phone.
Ron Swanson, the government and land mines: Even Ron Swanson’s got to know his limits. The crash course he gave little Lauren on the evils of government was amusingly presented (eating 40 percent of her lunch and the like), but really, Ron? A land mine? He probably deserved the chewing out he got from Lauren’s mom, even as he was clearly excited at how well his message had hit home: The sum total of Lauren’s first pass at an essay on “why government matters” was, “It doesn’t.”
Chris Traeger: He has been an impediment to a Leslie-Ben relationship in ways intentional (his no-office-dating policy) and not (showing up in Indy to celebrate Pawnee landing a state Little League tournament with them). But Rob Lowe is so doggone cheery as Chris that it’s hard to be mad at the guy for keeping Ben and Leslie apart. Chris line of the night: “I keep myself very well-hydrated and my bladder is the size of a thimble. I urinate roughly 12 times a night.” But that’s only because his air-banjoing on the ride back isn’t exactly a line.
The kiss: Finally! I’ve lamented about the artificial barrier Chris’ no-dating policy put between Ben and Leslie, but the fact that the show both acknowledged it and then blew past it tonight has made it, in retrospect, a little more palatable. Ben and Leslie aren’t Jim and Pam, but the fact that “Parks and Rec’s” two showrunners come from “The Office” gives me a lot of confidence that they’ll handle this relationship well. And since they now have even more to hide, we should get ample opportunities for Amy Poehler and Adam Scott to play the awkward sexual tension that they’re really good at.
What did you think of “Parks and Rec” this week?