Parks & Rec returns and hits the ground running with a pretty great episode that lays the ground work for the season ahead.
The episode is split between Washington D.C., where Ben and intern April are working, and Pawnee, IN. Leslie and Andy go for a visit to D.C. and the trip doesn't go quite as planned. Besides wanting to see their significant others, Leslie also plans on seeing every site and pitch a proposal to a Dept. of Interior representative. Seeing Leslie struggle with how little she is, in both stature and importance, seems to already be hinting that the writers might want to send her off to Washington as a Senator when the show comes to a close. This could allow the show to really let her grow her presence in Indiana, i.e. her clean up initiative at the end of the episode, slowly over the next couple seasons and put her and Ben in the perfect place at the end of the show. Ben and Leslie remain the rock of a couple they should be and I can't wait to see the writers keep their sweetness fresh as most any wedge between them would feel false. Poehler was particularly good in her moments with Senators Boxer & Snow and I really look forward to her relationship with Andy as the two miss their lovers together.
Chris Pratt was in top form as Andy as well this week as his lovable idiot just keeps getting better and better. Seeing him and April in over the top lovers mode is always a blast, especially when they are making Ben feel awkward. It's a bummer Plaza didn't have more to do this week, but I hope we either see her get into it with some of those D.C. tall women or grow up some more while she is a resident in our nation’s capital. Her busting Ben’s balls should be great as well. Andy and April should be fine relationship wise, but I will miss their interactions as long as they are apart.
It looks like the writers, wisely, blew up Tom and Anne as a couple for good this week and while their exposition in their first talking head segment was all of the character growth we got out of them they still managed to give the pair some good bits of humor; some excellent Tommyisms as well. It would have been nice to see a bit more of them feeling awkward in their faking it for Donna.
That leaves us with Ron Swanson who had an A+ role throwing an appreciation picnic for the Parks Dept. staff which forces him to learn he has to change in his new role as the leader of the Parks Department. Ron is obviously more concerned with his manly BBQ then his employee's stomachs and the picnic never gets off the ground. Before Ron gets serious with Chris he was very funny; "There will be no fucking vegetables," "That is his given Christian name," trying to slaughter dinner in front of everyone and driving off in a huff are only a few of the highlights. Chris also goes toe to toe with Ron comedy wise here and Lowe and Offerman have rarely been better on the show then they were this week. Chris does lay down the line for Ron in the end and he is actually going to have to lead his department; I hope he does a nice job. This will be no easy task for Ron, being nice & comforting aren't his strong suits, but it should be a good challenge for him going forward this season; hopefully providing much hilarity along the way.
Parks and Recreation has continued to improve with each year and if the premiere is any indicator this season could continue that trend. Everyone got a moment or two, Ron hasn't lost any of his mojo and the writing didn't miss a beat. Parks & Rec continues to be one of the best sitcoms, possibly the #1, on television and this season's premiere has got them off to a great start.