TV Review: Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 4
Let the filler begin!
TL;DR Nothing in this episode fits any kind of established arc. Ron is still being a pussy. But Leslie does get to teach oldies about sex, and I don’t want to live in a world where that isn’t a thing.
Condom Bananas and all.
So yeah, this episode focuses mainly on Leslie and the Parks Department trying to teach Pawnee’s seniors about safe sex to curb the spate of STDs among the elderly. Things are going well until Marcia Langman makes her puritanical return and forces Leslie to choose between what’s right and what the law says she’s allowed to do. Meanwhile, Tom is banned from using any device with a screen for a week after crashing his car while tweeting, so Ron takes him out to the cabin to detox him from technology. Ron was not prepared. And April and Ben encounter a strange congressman.
If you haven’t guessed already, my problem with this episode is that it’s obvious filler. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with filler. Most sitcoms are almost entirely comprised of them anyway. But Parks and Recreation (and 30 Rock, its close cousin) are such excellent shows because they usually manage to avoid regular sitcom trappings. Like filler.
We don’t even learn anything new or exciting about the characters. Leslie’s dilemma about her conscience and her duty has been done before, Tom’s obsession with technology is hardly anything new, and April and Ben don’t do, well, anything. The only close to relevant thing is Anne’s realisation that she changes herself too much for her boyfriends. But that point kinda falls flat because we don’t actually get to meet him.
Plateau-ing was what made me bored of season 4. I don’t want that to happen again.
But even uninspired Parks and Recreation is still funny. I mean, elderly sex education in Pawnee? How is that not comedy gold?
Why I hate this episode:
The pussification of Ron continues.
I’m starting to wonder why Ben keeps April around. She purposely makes his job more difficult. She’s lucky the congressman she and Ben meet this episode is a robot, or she could have seriously offended him and embarrassed Ben. April clearly doesn’t care about the work either. Just get rid of her.
Although the whole sex ed thing is brilliant, I’m not sure if this is an issue Leslie would be that keen on. She’s risking her job and legal retaliation by violating her censure. I was okay when she was willing to take a stand on childhood obesity, but I just don’t see Leslie really giving that much of a fuck about old people fucking. I think the writers just wanted to make a point about how abstinence education doesn’t work (which the characters bring up 12 thousand times). Politics in a show about politics? Absurd!
During the cabin detox, Tom tricks Ron into believing he’s getting better. Tom then suggests Ron give him the car keys so Tom can go buy some victory steaks. I know Ron loves meat, but there is no way in the fucking world that Ron should have fallen for that. What’s happened to you, man?
Oh, and Tom eventually admits that he’s tech-addicted because he’s unhappy in his real life. After the loss of Wendy, his business and coming back to the Parks department, I think it’s too little too late for the writers to suddenly realise that Tom should have emotions.
Reasons to watch:
Oh god, so many fruits. So many condoms.
Leslie, when she decides to violate the censure, vigorously rolls a condom down a banana. Bitch has had practice.
Marcia Langman is back and more fabulously ridciulous than ever. She’s brought her husband Marshall along this time, and girl is an ex-gay who ain’t ex. He is queen-tacular.
Tom also builds himself an IRL Pinterest board. That’s fucking depraved, dude. He is an addict.
Tom uses his knowledge of the show Intervention to trick Ron. I lol’d.
The congressman is creepy as fuck. He just sits in his office, staring at the wall. Turns out he’s merely a puppet to look good and say slogans. Politics!
Chris says that he and Leslie are best friends. Aww, he’s so lonely and handsome!
Perd is amazing. Always.
There are 3 lines that I loved this episode. When Tom is sentenced to a week without screens, he protests: “No, please! Send me to jail!” That feel.
Second best line is from Ron, showing a rare return to apathetic form. After the whole cabin ordeal and Tom admitting he’s unhappy: “If you ever need to discuss your problems…find Leslie.” Finally, some OG flippance!
Best line goes to Donna. Anne has been wearing a hideous cowboy shirt (at her boyfriend’s suggestion). Anne goes to Donna to see if she really is that unstylish. Donna is honest: “It’s not my favourite shirt. But it is my least favourite shirt.” Agreed.
Oh, and Tom berates Jerry for not using bookmarks to get to his email login page. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in the world who still actually types URLs into the address bar for every website I visit. I’m with you, Jerry.
And Andy gets some good reaction shots to old people sex talk.