TV Review: Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 7
Yes, it’s more filler.
But it’s character-relevant filler, dammit.
And that’s what a sitcom should be.
TL;DR April and Leslie go head-to-head. And who doesn’t love a catfight?
So the main plot this episode involves April proposing a new dog park for Pawnee. She chooses Lot 48 which, for all us Parks and Recreation hipsters out there, is the vacant lot that the first 2 seasons revolved around. You should also remember that although it got filled, Leslie never did complete her mission of making a park out of it. So resentment and hurt pride ensues when April’s plan looks to be gathering steam so easily. Meanwhile, Tom hits up Ben to help him get some investors to make Rent-a-Swag a thing. Instead, everywhere they go Tom gets rebuffed and Ben gets job offers. And Andy prepares for his police academy training by trying to sniff out a computer thief inside the Parks Department.
My biggest problem with Parks and Recreation nowadays is the worrying absence of a clear plot arc. Last season we had Leslie’s campaign, but now we’re kind of just ambling around, clutching for plot lines.
Worse, the Tom/Rent-a-Swag plot seems to be the one they’ve gone for this episode. And it sucks. Rent-a-Swag is a fucking terrible idea. This is desperate writing.
On the plus side, the Rent-a-Swag thing does run into trouble. Maybe there is some reality left in Pawnee.
Why I hate this episode:
I’d say “How could Ben think Rent-a-Swag is a good idea?” But Ben did bankrupt his home city by building Ice-town. I don’t think Ben really excels on the conceptual side of things.
Tom is surprised when he is constantly passed over in favour of Ben in the meetings. Because running an entertainment business into the ground should totally appeal to media types. What a world!
Ben turned down Jen’s job offer. Tension = destroyed. Weak.
Andy’s sub plot is obvious padding and only exists to give him and the other minor characters their required lines.
And the Leslie/April plot, much like last episode, gets resolved way too easily. Their battle escalates to open name-calling at an official council meeting. Then Ann just sits them down in a conference room and is like “apologise now,” and they’re like “oh, okay.” FFS, the episode is even called Leslie vs. April. Don’t talk it up and show some actual animosity between them then just deflate it so arbitrarily. It’s ridiculous.
Reasons to watch:
The April/Leslie thing does provide some decent hilarity, though. The highlight would have to be Leslie going to April’s friend’s (remember creepy Oren?) art show and pretending she likes it.
She doesn’t. When asked by April what her favourite part is she replies, a bit too quickly, that it’s “heavy-handed.” Because it’s pretentious modern performance art anti-establishment crap. Nice one, Leslie.
Leslie meets Joe Biden (the real Joe Biden, too) and goes gaga over him. Points for both the cameo and for the implicit burn against John McCain, who Leslie didn’t even see in the season premiere. Stealth insult.
April’s initiation of the dog park project is in line with her previous character development. The only thing she’s ever shown passion for was rehoming those pets last season, so this is a logical next step. Thanks, writers.
Also nice of them to remember Lot 48 exists.
I like watching Tom’s business venture fail.
Andy admits that he can’t tell when people are lying to him. Hopes it won’t interfere with his police application. I lol’d.
April calls Leslie a hag at the council meeting.
Andy gets best line this episode, and one that the shippers out there will be jizzing over. He thinks Chris (oh, btw, he thinks the stolen computer is part of an exercise he asked his friends to help him out with) is the culprit behind the thievery: “You’re as guilty as you are sexy.” He later takes his shirt off in front of Chris. It’s pretty much canon now.
When Leslie defeats Councilman Jamm, who has been covertly playing April to get the Lot 48 issue into a meeting so he can propose they sell it to a fast food restaurant, she uses this catch phrase (which is a rebuttal to Jamm’s “You just got Jammed” line): “You just got Knoped!” I’m gonna start using that IRL.
Oh, and when Leslie needs to take April down she goes to ask Ron what he used to do to her own projects. Bitch practical.