Episode: “Soda Tax” (Season 5, Episode 2)
Synopsis: Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ann (Rashida Jones) must deal with a proposed soda tax in Pawnee, while Ben (Adam Scott) and April (Aubrey Plaza) fight the apathy of their interns in D.C. Also, Chris (Rob Lowe) and Tom (Aziz Ansari) attempt to help Andy (Chris Pratt) train for the police academy fitness test.
Review: If you recall last week, we here at Playmaker were not particularly fond of last week’s season premiere of Parks and Recreation. What a change a week makes. This week’s episode of Parks was such a return to form, it’s hard to find any flaw with the episode. Heck, it even is (mostly) timely with its lampooning topic: a soda tax. What the episode does best however, is deal with the doubts of all the major characters (Leslie, Ben, and Chris) and how they can best overcome them.
Pawnee is in the midst of a obesity epidemic (where in the US isn’t?) and Leslie must cast the deciding vote on a proposed soda tax. Naturally, Leslie wants to please everyone, but ends up pleasing no one with her waffling. In D.C., Ben is having trouble getting his interns to follow his strict work rules, and after finding out all of his interns are very well politically connected, decides to go for the opposite approach, and buy them pizza, play ultimate Frisbee, and talk like Pauly Shore (“That movie was like forty years ago!”). This also does not work.
Back in Pawnee, Chris and Tom want to help Andy pass police academy fitness test, and when Chris asks Andy what motivates him, he naturally says “April, there is literally nothing else.” Chris naturally loses it because he has no family, and thus nothing to strive for.
The details of how these plot points are resolved are not really important, but what is important is how Parks uses the show’s 4+ seasons of relationships to tug at our heart stings. Whether it’s Ron’s compass gift to Leslie, April scaring the interns into work, or Tom giving surprisingly good advice for once, it’s the power of these people and their roles that really shine through.
The humor was thoroughly good as well, with the high point being the commentary about American’s love for sugar and how we shouldn’t “restrict the choices of the customer.” This means of course Pawnee offers not only a 128 ounce soda, but a monstrous 512 ounce soda called simply “The Child Size”; “Its roughly the size of a liquidfied 2 year old.”
We are glad Parks is back to form, and we can’t wait to see what comes next. See you next week Playmakers.
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