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Parks And Recreation is back for its 6th season and it is a super sized and hilarious trip that takes us from Pawnee to London and beyond. As the start of most any sitcom season goes, this premiere episode is setting the board for the season to come, but the breathing room of a full hour really allows the episode to slowly dole plot out while surrounding it with tons of fantastic character moments.
Not fooling around though is Mr. Ron Swanson, as the pregnancy cliffhanger that ended last season picks up right where it left off. Ron gets the news, pops the ring and before we know it Mr. and Mr. Swanson are hitched on the fourth floor of city hall. It might have just been the best cold open in the show’s history. It had everything; Leslie losing it and being overwhelmed, April being delightfully weird, Ron being as efficient and curt as possible and Diane dropping the amazing joke on Ron that her middle name was Tammy. The Swanson marriage was as efficient as a Swanson sperm and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
A large chunk of the cast heads off to London, but In Pawnee the show tries to re-establish Anne and Chris as a viable couple for their final run of thirteen episodes. Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones are leaving the show at mid-season and I found it interesting that the show was poking fun at how nobody really like them anymore. Now, I have always been a fan of Chris, but there has been nothing for him to do for quite a while now and Anne is Anne. She has her moments, but the show hasn’t been able to ever figure out exactly what to do with her. So while the joke that nobody cares about them was a good idea, it didn’t really work either. It just reminded us that Anne is at her best with Leslie and that she and Chris just don’t gel terribly well. Still, I hope we get something great out of these two as they get sent off from the show, but at least their storyline gave us that amazing, bizarre and disgusting crash course in pregnancy from Jerry.
On the Tom Haverford front, the search for the Rent-a-Swag competitor’s, Tommy’s Place, owner leads us to the third Saperstein to be a part of the show. First there was Jean-Ralphio, then Mona-Lisa and now their father has entered the game to try and turn Tom into the Hydrox of small men’s clothes children’s resale business. Having the Saperstein siblings accidentally creating the rivalry because of all the things they lied about Tom to their dad was fun, the extended laugh break over Mona-Lisa’s virginity was an episode highlight, but I don’t know how long they are going to be able to drag this out. Tom is another character that it has been hard to find a groove for and casting Henry Winkler as Mr. Saperstein is a strong move for a potential recurring foil. My investment in Tom’s plot is secondary to how much more Jean-Ralphio I am going to get this season and signs point to many more opportunities for the Saperstein’s to pop up this throughout the year.
The rest of the crew is off to London to support Leslie receiving an international award while simultaneously dumping Andy in London so Chris Pratt can shoot Guardians of the Galaxy. Leslie’s plotline for the year will deal with her potentially losing her job (again?), but this episode was more interested in giving her and April yet another sweet moment. There isn’t a lot here for the two, but they both get a number of great character beats that Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza nail.
Andy and Ben spent the episode wooing a British lord to launch Andy’s Sweetum’s charity idea, a music program, and an unlikely friendship pops up between the Lord and our lovable idiot. Andy wins over the lord while Ben watches baffled, a pretty obvious turn of events, but another average plot is made very entertaining by plenty of great character moments. Chris Pratt and Peter Serafinowicz are fantastic at running around as a couple of manchilds, but I hope this isn’t the last we see of these two together as Pratt (and Serafinowicz) will have been busy filming Guardians of the Galaxy during the production of a bunch of these early episodes.
Last, but certainly not least, is Ron Swanson, who after getting married unfortunately gets stuck without Diane in London; much to his disappointment. Watching Ron begrudgingly take pictures of every landmark of London is as great as you would expect, but his special mission of a wedding present (“the first of many”) from Leslie is his highlight as we see him herd sheep, ride trains and visit the distillery of his favorite whiskey. Nick Offerman gets to run the gauntlet of Swanson emotions and on the cliffs of Scotland we might have even seen him cry.
A great start to the sixth season of Parks & Rec which should be very interesting to watch as the cast is shuffled around both temporarily and for good. It will be interesting to see how they handle these changes and how the show continues to evolve this late into a run and if tonight is any sign we are still in very good hands going forward.
Random Ramblings: (I apologize for the length of this list, there were a ton of great lines tonight.)
-"Standard birth control methods don't stand a chance against a Swanson."
-"Are you dead, you look like you're in rictus."
-"This is like a waking nightmare...of happiness."
-"It's certainly possible, but this one's going to stick."
-Just kidding, it's Elizabeth."
-"That was beautiful." Best cold open ever?
-"The clue, who's the worst?"
-"Make sure they're happy, but not too happy."
-"You are hydrox, Mr. Haverford."
-They literally stole Tom's name.
-"I just assumed you were lying." "Thank you."
-Another month later.
-"I can't believe we're at Hogwarts."
-"History began on July 4th, 1776, everything after that was a mistake."
-"And then we're both asleep by 8:30."
-"You sell your grandma's jewelry and go clubbin."
-50 pounds from no beer.
-"Try the Sears Tower friend."
-"You destroyed my family."
-"Wait, you're serious."
-"That brown thing."
-"Well, uh, have you heard of Scotland."
-I love proper April.
-"Facebook, Facebook, Facebook."
-"35 percent were confused by the question."
-"Let's walk past Colin Firth's house again."
-I love the Sapersteins."
-"Good cheese eye Leslie."
-"And they filled it with broccoli just to add insult to injury."
-Chris Pratt and Peter Serafinowicz are great together.
-"Did I interrupt, what were you talking about?"
-I hope we get to drop in on these guys in London.
-"That's my boss."
-"Jerry who?" "Why are you calling me."
-"When'd you make the switch to boxer briefs?"
-"Let's go to that one, but we'll be making a detour in those butcher shops."
-"I had to cancel my cardiologist appoint..."
-"I am very sad, please stop talking.
-"I am going to have to create a scarecrow replica of you to take to the movies." "Seems like the only logical solution."
-"And I'm the baby daddy."
-"I'm just kidding, I know it's Anne."
-"Don't pinch me!"
-Jenny Slate makes the strangest noises.
-"This guy looks like Beaker from the Muppets."br> -Looks like we are getting more Henry Winkler."
-"I don't trust him, I never have. He's after your money."
-"This isn't right."
-"Except my mom, when she turned 30 he was like, "Get out!"
-"I would have preferred a chickpea or a cherry tomato."
-Ron Swanson herding sheep GIF please.