TV Review: Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 2
So April’s back to her old ways this episode.
Unthankfully, Ron’s still there to step up to the “unnecessary emotionally significant” plate.
TL;DR Don’t worry, the jokes are actually funny, and Leslie’s role is showing some real evolution. And Ron’s retarded pep talk does involve the revelation that he tried to get Leslie fired 4 times, so there’s that.
So we’ve got 3 separate plots running this episode. Leslie takes point as she tries to curb Pawnee’s rampant obesity by limiting serving sizes for soft drinks (the titular Soda Tax. Duh). She and Ann lead a public forum (because these always go so well!). It doesn’t go well. Crisis of conscience ensues. Meanwhile, Ben and April are still in Washington. Ben is worried his interns don’t respect him, so he tries too hard to get their approval. Meanwhile meanwhile, Tom and Chris try to get Andy fit so he can become a police officer.
So I’m not really that pissed off at this episode. I should do more reviews after watching Glee, that way I can have a nice reservoir of rage built up. Oh well.
I guess April would still be a bit of a sore point. While she does return to her horrible ways (I’ve missed them), she still has a couple of moments of her lovey-dovey new self. At the very start of the episode she clutches a photo of Andy and almost breathlessly proclaims her love for him. Ugh.
After getting a well deserved “fuck you” speech from Ben, she ends up threatening the interns to be more respectful towards Ben. While she does an admittedly boss job of it, it still kinda sucks that she’s using her evil abilities for good.
I think I’m just going to have to accept that old April isn’t coming back. I don’t want to get stuck in an Emma from Once Upon a Time style situation where I bitch about the same character problem every episode just because I don’t like it. I need to be better than that.
Do I have to?
Why I hate this episode:
Ron’s pep talk to encourage Leslie to do what she believes in, while effective, was a little too obvious. Every time Parks and Recreation wants to make a serious, emotional impact, they just palm off some cheesy speech to Ron or April. Stale!
Speaking of recycling shit, Leslie and Ann lead yet another unsuccessful public forum. While it is funny, I would think Leslie should have realised how insane the people of Pawnee are, especially at forums. And I’m getting tired of Leslie always getting beaten down by these fuckheads. Bitch needs to stand up for herself (and not hold the fucking forum in the first place. Wise up).
Oh, and I didn’t give half a shit about whether Andy can get in shape for his police thing. Looked like the writers realised they had a few characters who weren’t doing anything important, so they just slapped together some training sub plot. Because Chris is a fitness freak and Tom is enthusiastic about things that don’t matter.
Reasons to watch:
That said, Chris’s eventual breakdown, after realising Andy is motivated by love for April (and Chris has nobody), was finally a meaningful plot point for him. Chris’ ridiculous pep had to come undone eventually.
Likewise, Ben’s sucking up plot was in character, too. Ben has a history of working hard to get people to like him, and with Leslie not around (and fucking April sabotaging him. Yeah!), it makes sense for him to slip back into those ways. Consistent character development!
Also, his speech to April is amazing. I don’t think anyone has ever really gone at her about how much a fuck-knuckle she is before. Nice.
The ridiculous drink sizes are an easy joke, but I liked it.
When discussing how damaging the drinks are, Ann shows Leslie a tub of sugar equalling the weekly intake of a Pawneean child. Leslie starts eating the sugar and proclaiming how delicious it is. I do like a broken aesop (especially when the lead character is doing the breaking).
Later, after consuming a gallon of soft drink to keep herself awake, Leslie vomits during the council’s vote on the soda tax. Vomiting is always funny. Always.
Ben makes a big deal about inconsistent fonts from the interns’ memos. Fonts matter, dammit!
Second best line goes to Andy. He has just informed Chris and Tom that he completed the minimum physical training for the police thing: “Minimum champion!” Andy is my kind of ambitious.
Best line goes to Ron when he’s describing why he didn’t initially like Leslie. He lists a few of her qualities, and ends with this: “…and worst of all: bubbly.” There’s a childishness to that which makes it crackle.
Oh, and Leslie ends up passing the soda tax. Take that, Pawnee!