Parks and Recreation — Ms. Knope Goes to Washington (S5E01 Premiere)
This episode of Parks and Recreation in no way measured up to the high standard that I have set for the show. Season four had hit a very high point on the comedy scale, and it was bound to falter sooner or later. I still enjoyed watching the episode, and there were some great jokes, but compared to last season, I think this episode was a bit of a bust.
Leslie and Andy head to Washington DC for a location episode to visit their significant others, Ben and April. When they arrive, Leslie is the same chipper woman that we know and love. She is thrilled to be Andy’s tour guide, hoping that he will love the capitol’s wonders as much as she does. He, however, is completely clueless. Not only can he not distinguish the Capitol building from the White House, but all he notices about it is that it’s shaped like a boob. As they further explore explore Washington, Andy is intent on finding the clues from National Treasure to uncover government secrets or some treasure. Though this stint was funny at first, it grew boring quickly. As did Andy and April’s constant make-out sessions.
Back home in Pawnee, Ron has finally decided to take initiative in his position as the head of the parks department. During Leslie’s absence he leads the annual “Leslie Knope’s Employment Enjoyment Summer-Slam Grill Jam Fun ‘Slopsion,” however, he refuses to have any froofy things such as the Parks and Dolls play. All that the barbeque will entail is meat and quiet. The meat that he plans to serve comes in the form of a live pig named Tom. He wants the employees to understand the true circle of life, and killing a pig named Tom is just the icing on the cake. And this is exactly why Ron Effing Swanson has become such a hit and a fantastic meme on the internet. I mean, who doesn’t want Ron to teach them the ways of “meat love?”
Tom and Ann have been pretending to be in a relationship to prove that they weren’t an absolutely terrible match. That and Tom really wanted to win his bet against Donna. Though I have never shipped Haverkins and I thought that they would be an awful couple, as they share more scenes together I love them together more. And if they get together in the end, it will at least feel less awkward and forced than it did at first.
Very unsurprisingly, no one is enjoying Ron’s barbeque. They have so many complaints! They have to see the animal that they are going to eat, they want vegetables, they want non-alcoholic beverages (mainly for the kids), and they can’t handle the wait. To deal with the latter issue, Chris offers up raisins, adding (my favorite line of the episode), “Raisins, [they’re] nature’s candy!” Trust me, when people are dissing raisins, I am using this line. Skyler, you have been warned. When Ron gets sick of everybody’s ranting, he drives off, with the barbeque (still on!) in tow. This left everyone at the BBQ slack jawed and us at home laughing hysterically.
Back in DC, Leslie’s attitude shifts dramatically. She finds out that the congressman that she was in DC to contact has absolutely no interest in Pawnee: he doesn’t even show up for the big meeting that Leslie thought she had with him. Soon after, she attends a gala with Ben, where she sees countless “Hot Rebeccas,” those who she believes are perfect, both professionally and socially. She starts to doubt the glory of the city that she has loved so much when she finds out that there are so many other Pawnees and that hers is completely unknown. She quickly becomes ashamed of both Pawnee and her position on city council, and this makes her become distraught when she meets two of her idols, Olympia Snowe and Barbara Boxer. She blurts out that “We’re overrun with raccoons and obese toddlers” and runs off to the coat closet. In this closet, she runs into Senator John McCain, who is extremely polite to the strange crying woman he just met. She, however, doesn’t turn around, so she is clueless as to who is speaking to her. This guest appearance seemed a little bit odd and forced, I think they just tried to fit him in somewhere.
While Leslie is tearing up, Andy makes an amazing turn of character. He sits beside Leslie and tells her that she is better than she thinks she is. And Pawnee is the greatest town. Though this could have seemed like a strange change, Chris Pratt and the writers made it work beautifully. Andy still sounds like the same goofball that he always is, but manages to be so much more caring and understanding than he typically is. And don’t worry, right after this scene, he returns to the same nut when he gives a fake tour of the capitol. With the extra help from Andy, Leslie decides that she is going to take on the challenge of cleaning the Pawnee river herself. If the national government doesn’t want to do anything, she will do it herself!
And Andy isn’t the only one who shows that he has a genuine side. Ron, after an extra push from Chris, throws a mini-BBQ from the employees. Not only does he bring the employees a cooked Tom the pig (which they actually appreciate), but he brings them the corn that they begged for previously. Though this would seem like a tiny thing from most people, this is a huge gesture from the emotionless Ron Swanson.
The last thing I have to say about and Recreation is not about this episode, rather the coming season. I am genuinely worried about how they will manage to keep the show as fun without Ben in Pawnee. I know that I’m not the only one who absolutely adores Adam Scott and his portrayal of Ben. I love his and Leslie’s banter and I’ll thoroughly miss it. And, I’ll be honest, I’m starting to get creeped out by Leslie’s butt fetish. I bet that if Ben were home (where he belongs), it would be less obvious. Not to mention, he would have more screen time!
Posted on September 23, 2012, in Comedy, Parks and Recreation and tagged adam scott, amy poehler, anne, april, ben, DC, knope, leslie, meat love, nbc, parks, parks and recreation, pawnee, pig, premiere, rec, recreation, rob lowe, ron swanson, tom, washington. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.