While “Animal Control” was a little frontloaded — all three storylines got their jokes in early and often, but petered out a bit and/or turned their attention to plot logistics — my main reaction to this episode was something along the nuanced, informed lines of “That was awesome.” Our latest tour of the eponymous, incompetent Pawnee department was as much as I’ve laughed at a cold open this season, and it set the tone for an episode that mined a lot of great comedy from fairly familiar sources* through sharp writing and execution**.
*Of minerals…comedy minerals.
**Of the mining. Of the comedy minerals. Metaphors are the worst.
Parks has done Dennis Feinstein, Ron-gets-sick-and-tries-to-man-it-out, and animal control plots before (although never all in the same episode), but I thought each new entry was a worthy addition to each respective canon. Whether it’s a hernia, calzone-induced food poisoning, or a bad case of strep throat (and its accompanying fever), I don’t think I’ll ever not laugh at Ron struggling to maintain his stoicism, dignity, and independence in the face of extreme physical discomfort. “Please turn the thermostat up to 90 and leave me alone” is pretty much Ron’s regular gameplan with one small addition, but the Christmas Story-worthy amount of layers he’s wearing in the same scene underlines the amount of effort Ron’s expending trying to ignore his fever. Ann’s grumpy colleague was pretty much Ron’s ideal match as a doctor, in that both doctor and patient greatest wish is that the other class of person didn’t exist. While Ron’s hatred of non-meat/non-breakfast foods has been pretty well documented, his complete revulsion at being prescribed a couple bananas a week was cartoonish even for him; luckily, Nick Offerman brought some extra white-knuckle intensity to the act of smothering his hated potassium dosage with a heroically unhealthy Paunch Burger. That man must really love Diane and the kids.
I was a little let down by the somewhat limp non-resolution of the Dennis Feinstein subplot — after Andy derails Ben’s courtship of Dennis’s money by calling him a dick, Feinstein throws the Sweetums crew’s apology back in their collective faces and gets called a dick once more (for the record, he’s definitely a dick) — but it’s possible that this isn’t the end of that particular storyline. We’re certainly going to see Ben and Andy try to raise more money in the future, and I wonder if they’ll get a chance to take their revenge on Feinstein. I have nothing against seeing our favorite Pawneeans fail, but this story’s turn felt a little abrupt. Either way, I’m always on board for more glimpses of Feinstein’s lifestyle and products, including Spasm, Butterface, and Blood Spurt (do not try Blood Spurt).
Do you think Orin should have been made the new head of Animal Control? He has a pretty impressive resume.
- “Sexual history?” “Epic and private.”
- “I think that dude wants to hunt me.”
- Turns out it’s harder to recreate the world of the Flintstones than you might think.
- “That was one of my running feet!”
- “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” “There are four ways to skin a cat.”
I totally agree with you about the episode being front loaded, and my nuanced response was probably closer to “that was good. I enjoyed most of that quite a bit.” I’m definitely on board for more Dennis Feinstein time, but it did seem like that particular storyline ran its course pretty quickly. Dennis is like a more reasonable, more dickish version of Jean Ralphio. He actually knows how to make the money that Jean Ralphio thinks he can make. I was willing to believe the idea that Dennis would give money to Sweetums for the fact that Andy was willing to stand up to him and then also to apologize, but the turn of the check being made out to “Go Fuck Yourself” was pretty awesome. I’m not sure if this particular storyline will come back around, but I’m sure that Dennis will pop back up (if the show has enough time for it, depending on a potential 6th season).
I also agree with you about Nick Offerman being amazing in trying to hide his weakness. If every 3rd or 4th episode featured him giggling like he did during the medical exam, I would not get tired of it.
As for the Animal Control plot line, I loved the opening. We got to see Harris (who had attended April’s town hall meeting in the past) and the other guy who was in Emergency Response, being very confused about whether or not to kill all the birds. Both guys are hilarious, and I hope they get worked back into another storyline in the future. But after they were the only two people with experience who applied for the job opening, this storyline seemed to stall out. The confrontation with Jamm seemed more forced than it needed to be. And, it unfortunately pushed Leslie into a lot of negative emotions moments. Leslie is the most fun when she uses her eternal optimism to overcome bad situations. In order to give April the opportunity to grow, Leslie’s plan needed to fail on some level. I get that. But, I still prefer the upbeat Leslie to righteous Leslie (even when she is totally right about how the council should select its new department heads).
It looks like next week we have a double header episode. So, that should be fun.
I was just happy to be considered,