Last night’s Parks and Recreation was an answer to the call many of us have been making for a while: Less Mark and Ann, please. Well, it was worth the wait. The well-paced, Mann-less (Mark + Ann = Mann) episode eliminated the one aspect of the show that has been lagging in the past few weeks, and in all, produced a half hour of one-liners, fantastic guest-star-free ensemble work, and one of the best episodes of the season.
In this episode, Leslie is once again on a mission. This time, she tries to convince Ron that she is a more worthy recipient of the Pawnee’s Woman of the Year award from the Indiana Organization of Women. Ron, who approaches the honor in typical Ron fashion (aka: I don’t give a damn), decides to mess with Leslie and act as though he takes the award seriously. (Psst. He actually intends to recommend Leslie for it.) I love how the writers are cultivating the big brother-little sister vibe between these two. It’s truly the best function of this on-screen relationship, and I hope they continue in this direction.
In the two sub-plots, April helps Andy search for a new place to live after his guitarist/roommate complains about his more than questionable living habits (”The bag of smells was fun, but this has to stop,” his roommate begs.), and Tom tries to buy a $10,000 share of a nightclub. The April-Andy segments gave us a chance to see more of April’s subtle wooing and more of Andy being … well… Andy. My only fear with these two is that oblivious Andy will realize April’s intentions and be disinterested in a relationship, which would be heartbreaking to watch.
Tom’s slimy friend Jean-Ralphio, who we last saw interviewing to be Ron’s assistant, returns in this episode. He pitches in $5,000 toward the $10,000 share, leaving Tom $1,000 short of co-owning a part of the nightclub. Desperate, he tries to get Mark, Donna and Jerry to kick in the remaining funds, with no results. Donna seems interested, but after meeting Tom’s prospective third business partner, opts out of the deal. In a classic Donna moment, she tells Tom in front of Jean-Ralphio, ”I hate that guy.”
In the end, Andy opts out of getting his own place so that he can give Tom the remaining money. Donna ends up buying three shares of the club on her own (Smart woman!). And Ron – being the woman-empowerment-loving, WNBA-watching stand up man he is – gives the award to Leslie at the ceremony despite the IOW’s insistence that they honor a man. Leslie gives the award back to Ron, who gives it back to Leslie, who… you get the point. Ron closes out the evening with the signature, heart-warming line of the night after Leslie finally accepts the plaque: ”I still think awards are stupid, but they’d be less stupid if they went to the right people.” Hear that, Academy?
Before I present you my two slaved-over lists, I humbly ask for your thoughts on the evening. Will Andy fall for April? Did you enjoy the lack of guest stars, too? And is it about time we have a Jerry-centric episode? Sound off below. And enjoy/contribute to the Best Of lists below!
The now-recurring Best Moments list:
- Tom and Jean-Ralphio’s ”hand-shake”
- Ron’s photo session
- Andy closing up his shoeshine business, with someone still in the chair
- Tom’s presentation to Mark, Donna and Jerry
- Tom’s imitation of Mark
”Don’t you work at Lady Footlocker?” – April to Jean-Ralphio’s attempt to hit on her
”Yes, camp Xena” – Ron, referring to Leslie’s camp Athena
Ron: I’m doing my official portrait for the official IUD awards dinner program
Leslie: (unamused) I-O-W.
”Are these real people?” – Jerry to Tom’s presentation of celebrities, including Jon Gosselin and Snooki
”I have the Dorothy Everytime Smurf Girl Trophy for Excellence in Female Stuff.” – Ron, wrongly identifying his award to annoy Leslie
”I’m like Warren Buffet (pronounced as in all-you-can-eat). I’m investing.” – Andy