TV Review: Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 6
After the disappointing meeting of Kenneth’s parents in 30 Rock this year, I’m kinda wary about the whole “bring in kooky parents” plot device.
Luckily, Ben’s parents don’t suffer from seasons-long build up and are perfectly horrible people. So naturally I identify with them.
It’s good to be bad.
TL;DR While it is funny, the Ben’s parents thing just comes out of nowhere and doesn’t really prove anything. The Tom sub plot at least shows some important character growth.
And Jean-Ralphio is back, bros!
So the plot this episode focuses on the Leslie/Ben engagement party (they’re getting married!). Ben’s parents divorced a long time ago but still vehemently despise each other. So things go well when they’re brought together at the party. Ben wants to just abandon the whole thing, but Leslie thinks sticking it out is the right thing to do. When it goes extremely sour, Leslie wants to back out and Ben finds the strength to convince her to persevere. Aww. Meanwhile, Tom is preparing a presentation for Ron so he’ll invest in Rent-a-Swag (because Parks and Recreation is apparently going to make this a thing). Tom brings in Jean-Ralphio as a partner, but soon realises his be-afro’d friend doesn’t really give a shit about the project. Hard decisions about Tom’s future ensue. And Chris is still a bizarre, emotional wreck. So the rest of the characters, clearly lacking any plot lines this episode, rally to cheer him up.
Okay, so the main plot here (meeting Ben’s parents) is more obvious filler. It’s just another iteration of how good Ben and Leslie are together. We get it, guys. It doesn’t show us anything new about either of them (except that Leslie is very good at making quilts).
Worse, the tension of the episode is promptly dropped as soon as Ben and Leslie decide to work together to defeat the parents. They literally just sit them down and go “you stop bad stuff now, k?” And they immediately comply. Because we’re out of time on the episode so there’s no room for a proper solution to the problem. Wtf?
On the plus side, Ben’s parents are cruelly hilarious. Special mention goes to Ulani, his dad’s newer, younger girlfriend. She is a ray of fucking sunshine. If the sun was made of frozen Jenna Maroney blood.
Why I hate this episode:
The Jean-Ralphio sub plot, while having momentum, feels long overdue. It really took Tom this long to see that he doesn’t care about the business projects? Did Tom learn anything from Entertainment 720? Well, yes, he has. Because he fires Jean-Ralphio’s ass. But damn, it took him long enough.
The Chris sub plot is also a banal distraction. I feel like ever since Ann broke up with him that being a downtrodden, emotional wreck is his only joke. It’s not so annoying when it’s flipped off with a couple of one-liners per episode, but when it swells to its own story, I can’t stand it. He better stop it after this. I’m sick of everyone having to cheer him up.
Rent-a-Swag is a fucking stupid idea, even for Tom. And Ron does invest (simply because Tom fired Jean-Ralphio), so it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of it.
Marlene (Leslie’s mum) is at the engagement party and witnesses Ben’s parents being awful, but does nothing. Bitch is a badass bitch. She should have stepped in and put a stop to that shit. Lazy.
Oh, and seriously, the conflict with Ben’s parents is way too easily solved. Filler crap!
Reasons to watch:
Ben’s parents are hilarious, though. Ulani says her name means “cheerful” or something. Irony!
His dad is an abrasive bastard. Dude won’t even accept red vines. And he’s one of those divorced parents who feels entitled to bring new partners even when they haven’t been invited. Hmm, entitled? Has he been hanging out with Kurt and Alex from Glee, perchance?
Speaking of entitled, Ulani has a shit fit when she discovers she isn’t represented by a square on Leslie’s unity quilt. Even though Leslie didn’t know she was coming. Leslie, exasperated, uses a pen to write Ulani’s name on the waffles square. Ben’s mum later furiously cuts it out (like, literally. With scissors). Quilts are serious fucking business.
Leslie thinks Joe Biden is sexy.
Ron is swag-assaulted by Jean-Ralphio at the party (see above). Dat silent rage.
Champion is so goddamn adorable. Goddammit, Champion. God. Damn.
April is a mean bitch this episode, which makes me happy. When Chris claims “You’re all my friends, too,” April shrugs it off with a disdainful “Eh.”
She also complains to Ann about how selfish she’s being (she isn’t. April’s just being a jerkass) in trying to help Chris: “Ugh, why is it always about you, Ann? Self-centred much?”
And her best line would have to be this, which she says after Ann successfully helps Chris out of his funk: “This lesbian nurse is right!” Easy digs are satisfying.
Leslie shows off her engagment ring. Squee.
Oh, and Leslie takes the defacing of the waffle patch on the quilt incredibly well. Bitch loves her waffles, so snaps for Leslie.