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'Parks and Recreation': Love (and a nasty virus) is in the air

Ah, flu season – that magical time of year when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Well, as long as that young man happens to be a character on Parks and Recreation.

In “The Flu,” April’s illness inspires Andy to swear he won’t leave her side (before he realizes that she could be sleeping for hours), and to bestow a sweet kiss upon her fevered forehead (which he instantly regrets because the fever has made her forehead all sweaty and gross). Leslie’s determination to deliver an important speech despite her flu-induced hallucinations (has anyone seen her tiara, perchance?) impresses a smitten Ben so much that he makes her chicken soup from scratch. And then there are Ann and Chris, who are also brought closer by the flu – and who might just have been the episode’s MVPs.

Even Parks and Rec lovers often agree that Rashida Jones’s character can seem, well, kind of boring, especially compared to the comedy powerhouses that surround her. Tonight, though, we got to relish the sight of usually unflappable Ann accidentally showing Chris her inner geek (who else loved the way she delivered that lame joke about her body being like a potato chip?), forcefully taking charge as the rest of the cast succumbed to sickness, and flipping out after April’s demands pushed her to the breaking point.

Rob Lowe’s Chris, too, really came into his own tonight, especially when he started freaking out about getting the flu – the way he deadpanned “My brain is on fire. I’m dying” had us practically rolling on our friend the floor. Clearly, he and Ann belong together not only because they’re the best-looking people in Indiana, but also because they’ve both got seriously weird sides. Okay, maybe that’s still more true of him than it is of her; I love them together anyway.

What about you, PopWatchers? Did you relish watching each of Parks and Rec’s three major couples took baby steps toward real relationships tonight? Or were you just dazzled by the sheer volume of quotable lines and hilarious moments from “The Flu”? (I haven’t even mentioned the Ron/Andy scenes, or Tom’s spa day, or Leslie offering to write Ben a rap, or…)

Originally posted January 28 2011 — 1:00 AM EST

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