TV Review: Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 13
Sometimes filler is utterly pointless.
Sometimes filler is tolerable and semi-appropriate, but bizarre.
And sometimes (especially with an impending wedding and the fruition of 5 seasons’ worth of arc) it manages to be funny, serious, plot relevant and throwaway. Together.
Which is what Parks and Recreation does at its best.
TL;DR This is Parks and Recreation at its best. The emergency response plot echoes the excellent model UN plot of last season, but it’s given context around the Lot 48 proposals to prevent it from being worthless.
What is with all the good television today? I’m starving here.
So the Lot 48 proposals are finally going ahead. Leslie is given an insider tip that if she can raise $50,000 to properly fund her idea, she will defeat Jamm’s Paunch Burger project. She and the gang begin organising a charity gala, but they are interrupted by Pawnee’s random emergency preparedness evaluation drill. Leslie, Chris and Ann are trapped in City Hall while they deal with a fictional crisis and Ben is left with several problems to fix before the gala. Once Leslie discovers Jamm requested the evaluation to block her, she intentionally tanks the simulation (by killing all of Pawnee. Finally, justice) to get out ASAP. Luckily, everything comes together and the episode ends with Ben and Leslie deciding to get married at the gala. Meanwhile, April takes Andy to his police entrance exam. Failure ensues.
After already praising goddamn Glee earlier today, you’d think I’d be so backed up with raging bile that I’d be literally sweating fury. But alas, I am calm in the knowledge that this has been one of the most unobjectionable episodes of Parks and Rec this season. Fuck, I really have gotten soft, haven’t I?
Why I hate this episode:
There’s really not much to complain about this week. So, you know, nitpicking incoming.
Tom’s dull, as usual. His tiny subplot involves him trying to secure some catering for the gala. He’s bad at it. It’s only, like, 2 scenes, but I still felt like my time was not being spent valuably when watching them. This from someone who spends hours every day shouting abuse at the Internet that nobody will hear about television shows that don’t require analysis.
I was left wanting a few more scenes with the emergency simulation. The model UN episode was fantastic with this kind of thing, and what little we do see of the Pawnee bird flu outbreak is gold. Just a little bit more would’ve been nice.
Ron chews up too much screentime with his hosting of Pawnee Today while Joan Callamezzo sleeps off her booze-cruise hangover. Yes, Ron is dry and likes to talk about woodcraft. We get it.
Ron also proclaims his dislike of small dogs and cats. Not okay.
Andy apparently got 100% on his written exam for the police. Fuck off.
Oh, and Leslie and Ben eschew a wedding registry in favour of donations for the Lot 48 proposal. Where is your sense of materialism? I feel so distant from them right now.
Reasons to watch:
Luckily (unluckily, considering how much I complain about him), Tom has my back on that one. He even earns himself the episode’s best line when espousing the importance of the wedding registry: “Love…love fades away. But things…things are forever.” Preach it, bro.
Jamm is back at his slimy, selfish best. And his plan really is inspired. He’s just unfortunate that Leslie was willing to throw the game this time.
Joan Callamezzo does some fine hangover acting. I have enough hands-on experience to be able to have an expert opinion on this matter. Superb.
Leslie’s ability to so quickly destroy Pawnee is both testament to her effectiveness and everyone else’s horrifying incompetence. Classic Parks and Rec.
Andy’s poor performance during the polygraph test is also pure Parks and Rec. And even though it’s definitely a limp subplot, I feel kinda bad that he won’t be able to pursue his law enforcement dream.
Chris dies in the simulation (see above). If only, right?
Ron turns out to have been an immensely popular host on Pawnee Today. And I do like his original pitch where he simply lays out the bare details for the gala. And nothing else. His immediate hanging up on the first caller, who has a fluff question meant for Joan, is totally in character, too.
Mouse Rat performs at the fundraiser. The song is just a lyric switch of The Pit. I really need to buy a Mouse Rat shirt. A band shirt the hipster inside (and outside. I’m all hipster. And in denial) me can don without wretching whenever I see myself in a reflective surface.
Oh, and Leslie wears a pretty cool red dress to the gala. It’s not white, but I guess it’ll do…