The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

My name just came out of your mouth

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Daniel,

As the show is entering the middle third of the season, Parks and Rec is setting itself up for a new set of plot lines. Our main story looks like it will be following Leslie, April, and Ann’s attempt to keep Poncho Burger off of Lot 48. Our new side stories will be Ben struggling between having a steady and financially stable job and doing something that is more interesting. And we all know that your job isn’t interesting at all unless there is an A&E show about it. This story will take us along with Tom as he tries to run Rent-A-Swag. Also, Andy will become a security officer at town hall.

I think it is difficult for an episode like this to be stellar. Setting up pieces usually isn’t as fun as watching them all play out. That’s why I feel like this wasn’t a fantastic episode. Also, the past few episodes have been so hilarious that this episode probably wasn’t going to live up to the bar that had been set recently. That’s not to say this episode didn’t have lots of funny moments. However, it did feel like it was wandering around Pawnee, but not pulling as much funny out of the town as it has before. Ben and Tom stopped by Sweetums and the TV station while Leslie, April, and Ann looked at some other dog park options. All of these stops fit into the Pawnee that we have been shown, but none of it really seemed amazing.

With that being said, I am excited about getting more time with Councilman Jamm. He is a great Pawneean that will be fun to explore more. And, he will be a fantastic enemy for the three woman to fight against (even if their names don’t work as well as “getting Jammed”).

Also, I think Andy can bring out the best in Chris. I think that Chris has become increasingly static and almost boring at times, but when he becomes more of a goofball as opposed to just an emotional wreck, it is still funny. I hope that he and Andy get more screen time together. Also, I hope that Chris has more lines like, “Fun fact: Ben just got a great new job! Regular fact: I’m going to a meeting. Un-fun fact: My Uncle just had a stroke.” That quirkiness is still funny to me and much more so than Chris being emotionally unstable.

So, while this episode didn’t just floor me with funny moments like the past couple of episodes, I am excited and confident that the next steps of this season should be fun.

Do you agree? Or am I being too harsh on this episode?

Other things I liked but didn’t actually write into paragraph form:

– Ben on live TV is like The King’s Speech except just the first part before he gets fixed.

– “Saw off your pinky toe.” “No.” “Shave your head.” “No.” “Have sex with Jerry.” “No.” “I tried to be reasonable.”

– We specialize in making stacks on stacks on stacks on stacks.

– I loved the scene of Andy interrogating Jerry. Andy is the only person who treats Jerry nicely, and it’s adorable.

– Also, the way Jerry takes the verbal beating from Leslie, April, Ann, and Ron is hilarious.

A game is the foot,

Bryan

———

Bryan,

While Poncho Burger (“So much grease you’ll need a poncho!”) sounds like it would fit nicely into Pawnee’s food scene, the establishment that Leslie, Ann, and April are fighting to keep off Lot 48 bears the even more appropriate name of Paunch Burger.  This season’s early episode “Soda Tax” kicked off what looks to be a season-long conflict between Leslie and Pawnee’s fast food establishments — which include Paunch Burger, Big-N-Wide, Fat Sack (!), Colonel Plump, and Slop Trough (formerly Sue’s Salads) — when Councilwoman Knope voted to instate a tax on soft drink deals like Paunch Burger’s “Child Size”, a 512 oz. beverage bucket that’s about the same volume as liquefied 2-year-old.

[removes nerd glasses]

“Leslie vs. April” was definitely a transitional episode, but this kind of attention to continuity highlighted the amount of track that’s already been laid for what will hopefully be a really fun ongoing storyline.  It makes perfect sense that an active, progressive politician like Leslie would come into conflict with both the town of Pawnee’s addiction to junk food and the businesses and individuals trying to profit from it.  In fact, just as Pawnee has always been defined by its terrible health choices — remember “first in friendship, fourth in obesity”? — and economic dependency on sugary, amoral businesses, Leslie’s political career has been a hard-fought struggle against Sweetums and similar food industry interests (not to mention some Pawnee citizens) from the start.  Bringing that battle to Lot 48, the former pit behind Ann’s house that got this show going in the first place, is a smart way to focus the conflict and provide some literal and figurative turf over which Leslie, Councilman Jamm, and the rest of Pawnee can duke it out.  I’m looking forward to the media circuses and outraged town hall meetings that are sure to ensue.

Speaking of Sweetums, a line like “A Sweetums molasses vat exploded, resulting in a slow-moving ecological disaster” is a perfect example of Parks and Rec’s approach to straight-faced absurdity.  I enjoyed seeing Ben get a lot of job offers this week both as a contrast to Tom’s attempts to get Rent-A-Swag off the ground and a believable exploration of the crossroads at which Ben’s found himself.  His success in Washington (and with Leslie’s campaign) seem to have made him something of a big fish upon his return to Pawnee, but even with a number of paths laid before him, it’s a scary proposition to turn down the salary, benefits, and security of that endearingly dorky accounting firm.  I love watching Ben flail around on TV like the first half of The King’s Speech (not to mention his stop-motion career or the Low-Cal Calzone Zone), so I’d be open to that option.  We’ll have to see if CFO of Rent-A-Swag is a full-time job.

Of April Ludgate’s three main interests — Andy, dogs, and Orin’s creepy performance art theater — only one seems to offer a viable path to civic engagement (unless she follows Leslie’s advice and drops everything to spearhead an arts initiative…which would be awesome).  It’s fun to watch a post-DC April engage with Pawnee politics (and be on the right side of the debate) while still retaining her sulky personality.  Her interactions with Leslie this week were great, especially her grudging declaration of friendship,  punctuated by “I don’t want to do this with her here.”

Oh yeah — Joe Biden, the entirety of Leslie’s celebrity sex list, was in this episode!  Ben’s quiet alarm as a trance-like Leslie initiated physical contact was a thing of beauty.  In an episode that was largely devoted to setting up future stories, the occurrence of a funny, in-character, and somehow remotely plausible meeting with the VP was a nice victory lap for the show and a reminder of how far we’ve come.

  • Knope-Swanson 2024!
  • “I sort of got you an engagement present.” “Is it a waffle tower?”
  • “We’ll see you tomorrow.”  “You will?”
  • “Just call me bond…municipal bond.”  Love Ben’s bad impression, complete with cuff-straightening
  • “Well, well, well…if it isn’t Mr. Looks and Professor Books.  He’s looks.”  “I got it.”  “Of course you do, Books.”
  • Tom Haverford is roughly the same size as the average Pawnee 12-year-old
  • “I was in Miami last weekend.  I took my talents to South Beach.”
  • “He’s smart and he’s beautiful, and I think of him in many ways as a daughter…but that would be crazy, cause he’s a man.  His name is Ricky.”
  • “People still refer to Mulch Ado About Nothing
  • “What if this person, this Ricky — who is real — doesn’t like waffles, or anything?”
  • Orin’s Human Farm show is running 24 hours a day for six weeks
  • Next to a blown-up section of the constitution, Orin’s got some sort of meat chart with labels like “head cheese”
  • Tom’s failed escargot delivery service venture: Snail Mail
  • “I love this show.”  “What’s your favorite part?”  “The heavy-handedness”
  • “Moo…moo.”  “Aren’t you supposed to be a sheep?”  “No…you are.”
  • “Who here thinks parks are stupid?  Let the record show that everyone is raising their hands.”
  • “No one leaves the Octagon!”  Anne dated an ultimate fighter once
  • “Yes.  We’ll have triple sex with him.”
  • “I just said let’s get to work — how else do people enjoy things?”
  • “Formulas are my formula…for mula!”
  • “…Ben’s leaving again, but you gotta hear what he said!”

Daniel

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