Parks & Rec has another hilarious episode this week, even if it was light on substance for most its characters.
The A plot for the week is Leslie being forced to teach a bunch of old people about sex education. Sexually transmitted diseases are running rampant among the elderly and proper condom usage is the only way to stop it; unless you are Marsha and Marshall. This lovely couple are the local upholders of teaching abstinence for sex education, yes even to the long married, divorced and widowed elderly. The episode has a lot to say about the silliness of teaching abstinence and is surprisingly political with its message.
The religious Marsha and Marshall are painted as buffoons and played for laughs, which the show gets plenty of. This story line also allows for the return of Perd Hapley and he couldn’t have been any funnier; possibly the funniest appearance for the character. Anne and Leslie go back and forth over the episode trying to make sure Leslie stands up for what she believes in and not the law, especially when it is so absurd, but it is Anne who ends up getting the best character growth. We always knew Leslie was going with her gut and teach the sex ed class, but exposing Anne’s inability to be herself when with a man is an excellent struggle to take the character down. I thought the cowboy look was a bit over the top for Anne, but it really helped draw attention to how much she can change for a man and it worked perfectly. Political messages and character growth aside, the comedy writing is fantastic here. Chris Pratt is great as always in his brief screen time, the old people are given a ton of fantastic one liners and I already mentioned how great Perd Hapley was. Above all else, this story was a success because I discovered I was a Perdvert.
Next we have Ron and Tom on a “no screens” retreat that starts off great with the cold open, Tom being on trial for texting while driving, but never gets back to that level. They keep Ron reserved and in mentor mode as he tries to get Tom over his technology addiction and Aziz Ansari is left to do all the comedic lifting. Ansari is very funny as they assemble an excellent montage of Tom trying to “get all of it out,” but they run into a bit of a creative dead end when they have Tom crash Ron’s car texting again; almost worth it for the “burner” reference though. Anyways, Ron magically seems to figure out a cure by not turning Tom into the Judge and giving him an auto repair manual to read so he can help repair Ron’s car. Like I said, they hit a bit of a dead end and the revelation of Tom being a little depressed isn’t really a breakthrough. Plenty of laughs, but I wish Ron had more to do; even if Tom is quite funny at times.
Lastly, Ben and April have nothing to do this week but bond over the robotic creepiness of the congressman they work for. This is the first time they have met him, but all he seems to do around the office is stare at walls and talk like a robot. From a bonding standpoint the material is great for Ben and April, but I think the show even realized how slight the story was as they only pop up in three or four short scenes throughout the episode. I did enjoy Ben’s impersonation at the end, but it can’t make up for zero substance in the plot line.
A very funny episode of Parks & Rec this week with a lot of really great ideas to launch the comedy from. Not all hit as well as others, and a little more character development would have been nice, but I’m not going to complain when I laugh as much as I did this week.
Lot’s of funny:
-"No, please, send me to jail."
-“No screens,” should be a real punishment.
-"Going at it hard, old person style."
-Too many great lines to keep up.
-"Hey, we're still going to assassinate him, right?"
-Andy's reactions to old people sex; amazing.
-Ron might explode from Tom's chatter.
-"And, frankly, almost arousing."
-"I did eat all the bananas so we can't play with those."
-This Congressman is creeping me out.
-"Because that means Boo." "Hold up, didn't Japanese people invent this?"
-"We're verging on feelings territory."
-"I don't remember that."
-"I don't know where Lou's been."
-I like Marsha and Marshall, hope we get more of them.
-"and I'm making a lot of eye contact."
-This congressman actor is killing it with the half robot voice.
-This is a good angle for them to take with Anne.
-"An establishment I am no longer allowed in."
-"Find Leslie, she lives for that crap."