TV Review: Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 3
Leslie continues to have meaningful struggles!
Finally, some actual growth in this show.
Buuuuuutttt Ron almost ruins everything.
TL;DR Leslie faces another tough decision as City Councilor. That’s good. Ron is an utter pussy piece of shit. That’s bad.
So this episode Leslie is trying to introduce another initiative (when the last one went so well). She faces opposition in another councilor who wants her to sacrifice her personal bathroom for his vote. Tough decisions ensue. Ben and April…bond, I guess (?) when they’re stuck in a parking garage for hours on end. Chris introduces a phone directory program which ends up with Ron and Andy going to fix a pothole. Ron meets Xena (Lucy motherfucking Lawless) and they want to fuck each other.
So Ron really is the big problem here. Almost everything he does in this episode is completely out of character and is even more evidence of a real pussification of the formerly badass Ron Swanson. Ron Swanson shouldn’t be taking time out of his day to go and fix a pothole for some rude bitch on the phone. Former plotlines have focused exclusively on how much Ron doesn’t give a shit about people on the phone (and these were people calling specifically for the Parks department, not just random hoes with potholes). He hired April specifically to fuck up people who call in. What the actual fuck is going on with his characterisation?
April is a bit on and off with her PMS level bitchiness, but she gets a couple of good moments, so hopefully this is more improvement for her.
The best part about this episode is Leslie’s determination to help the kids (her initiative is to extend pool hours for a kids’ swim team). Sure, it’s low stakes stuff (her “sacrifice” is miniscule), but I’m glad to see that Leslie is still as dogged and selfless as always. That’s why we love her.
Why I hate this episode:
Oh my god, Ron. What happened to you?
He lets 2 little girls put princess make-up on him for fuck’s sake. What the fuck is this fucking shit? I know Xena is still hot as hell, but dude.
Donna is shown reading 50 Shades of Grey. No. No, Parks and Recreation. You do not need to make a 50 Shades of Grey joke. Donna is better than that, and the show is better than that. No.
Tom is out of focus so far this season. He gets a teensy sub-plot this episode about wanting to infiltrate an exclusive gentlemans’ smoking club, but it’s only brought up in one throwaway scene, then resolved in the credits sequence. We need some more Tommy swag.
Oh, and April smiles too much.
Reasons to watch:
However, she does toy with Ben’s emotions pretty well. And her murder face when he reads to her is priceless.
Leslie is shown to be working on her river clean-up project. Continuity matters.
Jerry is still constantly the butt of jokes, so at least that hasn’t changed. I liked the subtle one where Leslie waves at him from her new office and when he waves back he drops the files he was carrying. It’s little treats like that which let us know the writers are thinking of us.
Leslie tries getting a perm but is interrupted halfway (literally. Half of her head is done) through. She spends the rest of the episode with half of her hair badly curled. I loved it. It looks like someone vomited the 80s on her but couldn’t get all the chunks out.
Remember Leslie’s wall of inspirational women from season 1? Well she’s decided to add her own photo to the bunch. I approve.
Xena is hot.
Ethel Beavers is back. Sassy.
Tom turns out not to like smoking cigars. Tom not thinking things through is a staple of his character. Keep it up.
Second best line goes to Chris. He has a huge monologue about how he’s seeing a new therapist (after his break down last episode), which culminates in him realising how much he’s mentioning he has a therapist and deciding to speak to his therapist about it: “I sound insane.” Chris has finally achieved self-awareness.
Best line goes to Leslie. Her initiative looks like it’s about to fail (also, the “Porpoises” is the name of the swim team): “The bill is dead, the Porpoises are doomed, democracy is over.” Hyperbole!
Oh, and Joan Callamezzo (sp?) is back and more gloriously over made-up than ever.