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Back from a post sweeps hiatus, Parks & Rec gets off to a strong start in its run up to the season, and possible series, finale.
Chris gets a welcome spotlight this week as he has to make the final decision on whether or not he will be a surrogate father to Ann’s baby. He might turn out to be more that just a sperm donor though as Chris seems to want an active role in the child's life. Ben suggests he guide Tom, one of the shows child like adults, to see how parenting might be and the results are a mixed bag. The life lessons learned are only part of the entertainment, but Rob Lowe really gets a chance to shine as Chris for the first time in a while. No longer lost with no direction, the show has been rebuilding Chris to his early greatness while giving him depth as well. Lowe gets a number of funny interactions with just about everyone in the cast. Plus, give us even more, and welcome Jean Ralphio, through him and his sister, Mona Lisa. Tom and Mona Lisa hit off a very hostile relationship, that seems to be not just a one episode deal, and I am excited to see where it goes. It's nice to see they are finding some direction for people like Tom and Chris, and I look forward to the awkwardness that is bound to happen between Chris & Ann and Tom & Mona Lisa. Also, the bit with Jerry not knowing what to say because he got to talk longer than ever was brilliant.
Speaking of Ann, her and April have a week of friendship in exchange for a Vet school rec letter for April and it is all very sweet and works quite well. People complain of Aubrey Plaza being a bit too one note, but she shows plenty of range here and is very believable at giving Ann her usual grief while warming up to her all the same. The sing along was the best bit, but it was fun to see the two interact every time they pop up. April has slowly been warming up to Ann, and I am sure their relationship probably won't change all that much after this, but it's nice to see these gals connect regardless. Also of note is just how girly Ann is in all the things the two do. They have always made it seem like Ann was a bit of a stereotypical girly girl, but never this overtly. It seemed a bit much, but the two's chemistry overcame it.
The last storyline of the week is a nice showcase for Ron as he and Leslie spar over the need of a government “bailout” to the local video store. It's nice to see Jason Schwartzman in Pawnee, but he unfortunately doesn't get a whole lot to do. He's funny, but his part is rather limited. The meat of this story comes from Ron's vocal opposition to Leslie's proposal of making the video store a historical landmark. Watching Leslie and Ron at odds is always fun, but this is one of their best duels yet. Ron is always on top though and he is loving every minute of it. We get an all-timer giggle out Ron as well as an epic victory meat platter that are just cherries on top of one the better Ron episodes in some time. Offerman is just gleeful at every turn as Ron keeps getting his way and its always fun to see Poehler play grumpy Leslie.
All around a pretty solid episode of Parks & Rec that moves a couple pieces forward while providing plenty of laughs in every story. Ben and Andy get left on the sidelines unfortunately, as I would love to see what they do with Sweetums, but they are barely missed as everyone else shines. Six episodes left.
-Rent A Swag
-I miss him.
-Lights, Camera, Perd. One and half stars? Oh no Perd.
-"If true, this one wants in."
-"This is Jerry Gergich calling, goodbye."
-"As a janitor."
-"I once saw her punch a police horse in the face."
-"An adorable little belly."
-"Tell Jean Ralphio to clear my browser history."
-"Ecstasy takes forever to leave my system."
-"I'm coolin on you."
-"You're like a scary Charlotte."
-Oh, Ron's giggles.
-Too Big To Nail
-"Of course I do, everyone knows this song, it's amazing."
-"Never grow up to the loaf of bread he deserves to be."
-"No one ever lets me talk this long."
-"I know what I'm about son."
-"All right, party time."
-What is Tom wearing?