Parks and Recreation Watch: Season 5, Episode 2 - Soda Tax

Parks & Rec laid the ground work last week and now they are starting to move the pieces in another pretty great episode for the show.

Leslie is about to have her first council vote and her first initiative happens to be on the ballot as well. Her proposal is to put a soda tax on all of the giant soft drinks the local restaurants are serving, but the soft drink lobbyist is going to try her best to not let that happen. In a private meeting with Leslie, the beverage lobbyist threatens Leslie with job losses and a world of hurt if Leslie votes yay on the tax measure and Leslie begins to doubt her decision. Even worse, when Ann and Leslie take the proposition to a public forum, a sect of citizens threatens to recall Leslie if she votes yea for the tax. Poehler is great as Leslie slowly breaks down over the pressure from her constituents even if this was an obvious development for Knope. Leslie has always buckled under pressure and it was smart of them to put the focus on the absurdity of the soda sizes and Ron’s tough love approach to getting her back on track. Again, no surprise in Ron wanting to fire Leslie in her first year, but their back-and-forth was as good as ever. I also really enjoyed Ron’s glee in his fast food purchases. Leslie goes with her gut and votes yea, and it seems like the lobbyist was bluffing, but we will see if she comes back later this season.

Ben and April are running into some trouble with the interns in D.C. and Ben makes a play to bond with them after he discovers they all have high profile political parents. Ben started off wanting to fire the interns, but soon he is bro-ing it up over ultimate frisbee to laughable results. Adam Scott really shows off his acting chops as we have seen him be a genuine douche bag in a few different projects, but he plays a fake douche pretty damn great here as well. We find out April was actually behind the disparaging cartoon of Ben that lit a fire under his ass in the first place and it is nice to see him lay into April to grow up at least 15%. I thought April’s main goal was going to be busting Ben’s balls, but I like that they are going to change gears a bit here and make April Ben’s office watch dog; Aubrey Plaza showed she is more than up for the part in the episode’s credits scene where she chews out one of the insubordinate interns.

The last storyline of the week was Chris, Andy and Tom doing some physical training to get Andy in shape for his police training, but the focus quickly shifted to Chris when he couldn’t handle the thought of being alone. Trying to find what drives Andy, the love of April, forced Chris to become overly introspective about his own love life and he decides, at the behest of Tom, to see a therapist. That’s really about all we got with this trio, but the group was very funny and it seems like they might have finally figured out something to do with Chris. The creative team has been treading water with what they should do with Rob Lowe and it seems like they might have finally found an interesting angle for his character here; thought they have had false starts with him in the past.

Parks & Rec is two for two so far this season and it seems like the creative team is showing no signs of slowing down. They set up a couple of interesting angles for Chris and April this week while giving everyone something to funny to do for the most part. I hope they continue to handle this D.C. separation as well as they have so far and it is nice to see that Ben and April can hold their own without any of the Pawnee faces getting involved. Keep it up Parks & Rec.

Random Thoughts:

-I want a Leslie Knope care package.

-"Less cute."

-Never tried bandana underwear.

-Sue's Salad got ran out of town!?!

-Small is a 64 oz. cup, ha.

-"I'm getting there."

-"If the child was liquefied."

-"I'm going to have to be a reminder."

-"Not because of what you did, that was terrible."

-Diet Water Zero Lite, still has 60 calories?

-Mad Men bar!

-Douchey Ben is great and Scott is so good at playing it like he is trying too hard.

-"Woman's Vaginas," what the hell?

-Poor Jerry.

-Copy Guy reference.

-"Sorry Dad."

-"You get that soda refill I asked for?"

-"Nothing, the silent killer."

-Chris might break a therapist.

-I wish I could transcribe that whole rant by April; so they are going to take the attack dog route. The melonballer line was the best bit.