Parks and Recreation returns from hiatus with a seemingly solid episode that sneakily builds into a fantastic finale.
Leslie is back on the campaign trail and her first order of business is to hire a new campaign manager, Anne Perkins. Anne jumps into the job with a lot of heart and ambition and Leslie is able to get everyone in the office to pitch in for her big comeback rally. Anne and Leslie break off from the group to plan her speech and to try and figure out how to hook the town back on to her side, but they and the group run into a bit of trouble.
Anne is able to track down a local legend, Pistol Pete, but when he comes over to endorse the campaign and commit to making an appearance at the rally he wants to leave his past behind him. It’s when Anne is left to persuade him to dunk at the Rally that things get even more out of hand as Pete dives into his personal life and brings both of them to tears. Anne’s attitude to just sit back and take the emotional ride was an amusing road to take for the story, made even funnier in that she is able to still get him to the event anyway; even if Pete was a blubbering mess in the back of her car.
Pete isn’t the only issue the rally has though, as Ron, Tom, Andy, April and Champion (Andy and April’s awesome new three legged dog) round up the supplies to build out the event. Ron is avoiding using scheming contractors and building the stage, Tom is getting a deal on red carpet, and Andy and April are bringing along Champion for the ride. The group piles into a moving truck to head off to the rally venue, but they quickly find that they are in violation of a number of laws as they are pulled over by a police officer on a wide array of citations. Ron’s disrespect to the officer is fantastic and seeing Tom take a back seat to Champion is a joke I hope to see continue in the future. I love Champion by the way. To make matters worse their back gate was open on the drive and they lost the majority of their supplies for the rally. Leslie sweeps in and spares the group's arrest, but the loss of the supplies will prove more than detrimental to the success of the rally.
Before we get to the rally we must first stop by Ben’s house as Chris tries to save him from the brink of depression. Ben is busy creating calzone franchise ideas and stop motion short films as he takes a break from finding a job, but Chris can see through his sadness. It’s only when Ben sees his three weeks of work in animation amounted to only 2 seconds of actual screen time that he see his sadness himself and he desperately needs a change. Adam Scott was great in these scenes, teetering on the brink of insanity, and it was especially nice to see Chris and Ben reunite their friendship which had kind of taken a back seat.
Back at the rally, all of the group’s failures culminate in an epic failure as one thing goes wrong after another. The red carpet is too short, the Knope sign only has one panel left, the stage is only big enough for one person, and worst of all, it is all set up on an ice rink. What follows is a brilliant display of physical comedy punctuated with a great audio gag to boot. I seriously haven’t laughed so hard at Parks and Rec this year and as the scene went on it just got better and better. From Chris Pratt’s slipping on the ice to the valiant attempt to get Leslie up on that stage, all accompanied by Gloria Estefan's "Get On Your Feet," the scene was truly perfect. The show earned the moment and it was an excellent use of everyone involved.
To wrap it up, Anne happily fires herself, and Ben is brought on to lead the campaign as the show corrects itself to the path we knew it was always going to take; I am just ecstatic the diversion was such a successful one.
This week’s episode of Parks and Rec was a solid effort over the course of most of its runtime, and surprised by really taking it up a notch in the end. The episode had one of the shows all-time funniest moments in the rally from hell and it did so by tapping into a comedic side of the show it usually doesn't rely on for laughs, the physical side. The serialized nature of the show continues to make the show’s narrative compelling while still allowing for a lot of random silliness along the way and the writers continue to balance that dynamic with seemingly ease. Bring on the campaign trail and Paul Rudd.
-"Wow you're doing a real bad job."
-Are those planets on Leslie's shirt?
-"I tried to make Ramen in a coffee pot and destroyed everything."
-"Except for digging."
-Champion gets to come to work.
-Calzone's are fatty, and unnecessary.
-"There's more things to look at on the Internet than naked guys."
-The Pawnee Central Drunken Savages, amazing.
-"Be a man and sit on that girls lap."
-That is some serious break dancing.
-"Heard you bud."
-What the hell is a 'durmin hamloaf'?
-"She had already hung up on me."
-Ben is losing it.
-The Low Calorie Calzone Zone? I agree with Chris, terrible.
-"Kind of tearing this claymation a new one."
-"With my claymati?"
-"I compared it to Avatar."
-"We had to Jetson..."
-"Can't you do anything wrong Jerry?"
-Champion is great.
-This is the saddest rally ever, and maybe the funniest.
-"Get on your feet."
-"Every herb in my herb belt."
-Oh no, this dunking isn't going to end well.
-"Pistol Pete everybody, he's still got it."
-"Don't make out, it's making Champion sad."