After only 6 weeks of dating, it turns out things have gotten pretty serious between Oatmeal Ann and Catfish Ann. Much to Leslie’s chagrin, all that skydiving and impulsive pumpernickel bread-ordering has led Ann to consider a major life decision (despite the confusing absence of Channing Tatum* in her life) — she’s ready to have a baby, and she doesn’t want to wait around for the perfect guy to come along to have one. With Pawnee’s sperm bank revealed to be a magnet for sketchy types like Sewage Joe (“Free money, free porn — best job I ever had!”) and Eagleton’s facilities nixed by Leslie (“You don’t want a demon baby”), we’re treated to a tour of Pawnee’s eligible donors. Meanwhile, Ben, Ron, Chris find their search for a wedding caterer sabotaged by some bad mini calzones, April struggles to channel her inner Leslie Knope in a series of town meetings, and I try to figure out how to segue into the past tense.
*Assuming Joe Biden’s still sitting pretty at the top of Leslie’s Male Attractiveness Scale, where do you think Channing Tatum ranks? Above Ben? Then again, as with George Clooney, maybe Leslie likes him for his intellect.
Given the context of underwhelming and suspect potential fathers, the return of The Douche, tasteless shock jock extraordinaire, was pretty inevitable. Parks and Recreation always has a lot of fun with fake radio segments, and this episode’s two appearances from Crazy Ira and The Douche were minor masterpieces of spastic fart noises, fake sexual moaning, and aggressive DJ-voice braying, especially when those sound effects were delivered at the push of a button by a dead-eyed crew member I’m going to dub Dick Foley. Even more entertainingly, were were introduced to Howard Tuttleman, the mild-mannered Northwestern graduate (and semiotics major!) alter ego of The Douche — or is it the other way around? As played once again by Nick Kroll, who’s been putting his full arsenal of douchey impressions to work on his new Comedy Central show, Howard is a thoughtful, amiable guy who may be suffering from multiple personality disorder, or at least has almost completely lost his ability to filter The Douche’s persona out of his everyday life. One minute he’s contemplating fatherhood as “the next step in this crazy journey called life,” the next he’s thinking about naming his son something hilarious, like O.J. Even setting aside his on-air extortion of a Jello-pit Cosby impression from Leslie, it’s possible he doesn’t have the stablest or most trustworthy set of genes (or maybe, like Knuckle Hair Dave, he’s just a dick).
At the same time, Leslie spends much of “Ann’s Decision” in not-so-secret sabotage mode, fulfilling the role (as noted in this review, and probably many others) of the unwittingly condescending person who, in the process of bemoaning friends’ singledom and promising True Love in their future, probably isn’t helping matters much. As the episode’s title explicitly states, this is Ann’s decision, and although we’re probably glad she didn’t stick with The Douche as a donor, the question of whether she’ll end up with her own Ben (or Channing Tatum) is completely beside the point. This developing storyline feels like the right mix of natural and impulsive for the new Oatmeal/Catfish Ann, and it’s nice way to give some positive agency to a character who, as this season has repeatedly acknowledged, as often been too defined by her romantic relationships. Of course, Leslie will be by her side the entire way, and I’m looking forward to a series of color-coded binders with adorably inappropriate covers.
Tell me what you thought — but don’t use numbers.
- “It was more like a savory pastry — delicate little dough-pocket filled with tomato sauce, cheese, and seasoned meat…just a stunning culinary innovation.” “It was literally a small calzone.”
- “What are you looking for in particular?” “Some sperm?”
- Sweetums makes candy-flavored condoms!?
- “Chris, I’m…dying?” Perfect delivery from Adam Scott.
- Pistol Pete, dunker of basketballs (and community college marketing professor) is back: “When will women in this town stop scheming to get m’sperm?”
- “I know it’s a winter’s morn, but it feels like a summer’s eve cuz THE DOUCHE is here” (This one had to be explained to me)
- “It smells like some vomit took a dump in here.”
- “I’m scared of a lot of stuff…everything’s fine. I’m fine. I’m Walter, and I’m fine.”
- Taintball: team sport?
- “I’m gonna scan a picture of them boobies for a little deposit in El Banco de Spanco…Douche Nation!”
- Councilman Milton: “I just wanted to toss my name into the ring in respect to this…Indian woman’s vagina”
- “Is that a drawing of my reproductive system saying ‘Let’s do this’?”
- Jean-Ralphio’s trial for counterfeiting Euros shouldn’t take long…he’s definitely guilty
Good reading on this episode, especially on the Leslie being unwittingly condescending friend who is super annoying when they find happiness. Given Leslie’s extreme upbeat nature, it is surprising that she doesn’t fit into this role more often, but she is usually so supportive of everyone that she is willing to let people be who they are. Even though she was probably right to shoot down The Douche as a potential donor for Ann, she did come across as pretty annoying.
Stepping back though, did you find it pretty contrived that Ann would be so baby crazy that she would make a decision so quickly on the father of her child? I thought the episode felt really contrived across the board. Ben picking Chris, Ron, and Tom to help him find a caterer didn’t seem like a very logical choice. It seems like you wouldn’t want to try to please the people on the extreme ends of the food spectrum, just the average person. I think it also just wasn’t super funny. It was basically a big setup for the main punchline of “Ron likes meat! But Chris likes green things! And Tom is just absorbed with social networking!” All of those things have been really funny in the show, but mostly when they are woven into other parts of the story. However, the food poisoning portion of the storyline was hilarious and pretty much made up for the first half.
I actually think that would be my main thought with this episode: contrived, fairly weak start that turned into an overall good episode. Before The Douche showed up and Chris explained how he was dying, then he died, and now he’s dead, and April ran a meeting like April instead of like Leslie, the show felt slow and contrived, but after that, everything got much better. I think the show is at its best when things just flow together as opposed to feeling completely set up. But even when things do feel completely set up, the writing and acting can still carry it through to being a good episode. So, while I don’t think this episode was very strong compared to the rest of the season, it’s hard to say much bad about an episode that featured good amounts of The Douche, April being honest to one of Pawnee’s classic town hall style meetings, and Ben rolling around on the floor to dial Tom’s extension with his face.
I didn’t catch the Summer’s Eve reference either Daniel, but after visiting their website, I was amazed to see their slogan of Hail to the V.
Drizzle it on for me, I’m not your maid!