Recap: Is this just going to be an up and down season for Parks and Recreation? After a weak season premier and a return to form last week, we get perhaps one of the most disjointed and weak episodes in Parks entire run. And that’s ok. Any show going into a fifth season with a small (but dedicated fan base) will have more ups and downs as a show. It is also not like last night’s show was terrible. It’s just that it was a strange combination of nothing going on, plots that didn’t make sense, and (hopefully) great set-ups for the next few episodes.
The A-side storyline (Leslie and Tom trying to pass a bill to get the city pool to stay open longer) and the D-side storyline (Chris turning the parks department into a call center) are prime examples of how “How a Bill Becomes a Law” didn’t make much sense. Playmaker knows that Parks is very much a screwball comedy, but are we really expected to believe that it takes a city council bill to expand pool hours? Are supposed to buy in to the notion that a parks department would be turned into a call center on a whim (we are not seeing this again next week, we guarantee you)?
Aside from that, the comedy moments that these storylines produced were just ok. Is Amy Poehler really funnier with only half her hair permed? Are jokes about veneers and pooping really the best Parks can do? Heck, even the ancient city councilor being a Dixiecrat and only eating anchovy ceaser salad fell flat.
The C side story (Ben and April being stuck in DC traffic trying to drive to Pawnee) was the weakest part of the night. When we say they just stuck in traffic, they were stuck in traffic for the whole episode. It is also a little tiring to hear how much April thinks Ben is a nerd, although Ben’s Star Trek fan fiction was spot on. Perhaps we will get to see these two in Pawnee next week.
Ron’s B-side story (meeting a prospective girlfriend played by the fantastic Lucy Lawless) was certainly the best of the night. Andy playing what appeared to be “makeup princesses” with Lawless’s two daughters while Ron fixed potholes was also fantastic. It is sad though, that Lawless won’t be around for more than a few episodes, suggesting more heartache for Ron.
Overall, a bit of a mess Parks, but if you can pull off a non-Tammy Ron Swanson romance, it will have been worth it. We’ll see you next week Playmakers!