Parks and Recreation Episode 3.04 Review

Greetings Parks and Rec fans! Time to check it on our favorite city! It seems like things are moving swimmingly for our Pawnee state employees this week. They conquered the flu, fought off all the crazy Stephanie Meyer fans, and seem to be running a full governmental ship after the budget cuts. Even Chris and Ann seem to be enjoying their burgeoning relationship. She’s even picking up his verbal traits. Cue the smiles and aww’s.

Wait, what’s that? Ron’s lady friend, she of the ex Mrs.-Haverford club, is moving back to Canada? Well shucks, just when I thought Ron was finding some peace in his life, there had to be a monkey wrench. Speaking of wretches, Megan Mulally has returned as evil-ex librarian Tammy and is trying to “check in” on Ron by issuing him an overdue notice for a library book about thirty years after he stopped setting foot in a library. We all know what happened last time Ron and Tammy went department-to-department. And just when things were getting good, too!

As if that’s not enough, Tom, jealous of Ron parading Wendy around the office, tries to get revenge by taking Tammy out to a local police shindig at the Pawnee bar. With everyone from the Parks department there, Ron intervenes in the almost-illegal dating situation– Tammy’s getting a little too frisky with Tommy H there– until an “altercation” occurs. The celebrating police, in a hilarious bit, all proceed to describe the scene for the film crew, using slightly different variations of the same sentences. Tammy and Ron agree to bury the hatchet and go outside to talk.

Unfortunately, “going outside to talk” is a euphemism for ending up in a jail cell several hours later with your hair in cornrows and part of your mustache missing. “I didn’t shave it off. It went missing. From all the friction”, Ron explains. Yes, sadly, Ron and Tammy are going at it again. Nick Offerman in nothing but a black and red kimono, with the Hilter portion of his mustache missing for half the episode was a hilarious, out-of-character situation, and served to bring some humor into the mediocre retread of the two’s history.

The gang tries to stage an intervention of the re-marriage, but the goofy-looking Ron gets mixed signals until he comes across the most convincing member of the group: himself, aided with the power of Video Ron the Sane. It doesn’t work. This night is ending up to be a disaster…

Not everything was doom, gloom and va-da-voom this episode. The B-plot where April is roped into subbing for Chris’ Indianapolis-bound assistant was a bright spot of the night. Needless to say, April doesn’t exactly appreciate being around such radiant optimism, and constantly fudges her work or writes secret pleas for help on one of five million orange sticky notes. I really hope she continues the assistant job, as it’s a hilarious pairing of characters and a nice way to draw out tension in the whole Andy romance thing. Luckily for me, Ann gets back at April for not informing her of Chris’ schedule by praising her work even more.

Also fun was Ben’s continued displays at social inadequacy. He and Leslie are starting to become a nice pair of hard-working government folk, and Leslie’s attempts at teaching the icy Ben how to schmooze with the local movers and shakers are starting to chip through. Ben’s attempts at “small talk” and being cool-like-its-the-80’s with local cops were cute, if humiliating, to watch. Less humiliating was the fact that the police have taken to calling Ben “Calzone Boy”. (At least it beats Ice Clown.)

The episode didn’t really get anywhere in the larger scheme of things until the end. Leslie’s positive influence on our good friend Dave the police officer earned her brownie points to get the cops on board for the Harvest Festival. It looks like this thing might happen after all. Also, thank god, Ron came to his senses. The sooner I see Offerman out of those cornrows, the better. Still, an overall fun episode, though veering too much on the wackier Office-style adventures than the classier stuff Parks is used to.


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