The Moth Chase

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

Posts Tagged ‘ron swanson

Swing Vote

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swing vote

Bryan,

I’ve noticed various rumblings from critics I respect calling this episode out for rehashing old storylines, offering little in the way of stakes to hold our interest, and not really clicking on the comedic level.  To a degree, I can sympathize with these complaints — this is the first season of Parks that hasn’t significantly expanded the world of Pawnee, focusing instead on tying up loose ends like Lot 48 and advancing its characters’ personal arcs.  That’s not an issue in and of itself; the problem is, most of those character arcs seemed to come to a natural resolution during the midseason wedding episode, and the lack of a major driving storyline (insofar as you can call the Leslie v. Paunch Burger throwdown over Lot 48 a driving storyline) in these last few episodes of the season has made them feel like arbitrary “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if?” exercises.  I’m largely ok with this, in part because that’s been the typical format for sitcoms for the last half century or so, but I can understand some disappointment in a formerly ambitiously-structured show seeming to rest on its laurels in the back half of what’s already been a victory lap of a season.  Furthermore, a plot featuring Leslie and Ron squaring off over budget cuts to the apparently city-subsidized Mini Golf establishment does indeed tread familiar ground — most recently covered in the “Bailout” episode — without offering anything new, as do the Andy/Mouse Rat and Tom/Mona Lisa storylines.

However.   Read the rest of this entry »

Emergency Response

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Parks and Rec - S05E13

Daniel,

This week was a great example of how Parks and Rec is able to simply look around at the gigantic world they have built and put the characters together in new situations and combinations and just let it be funny. For example, Ron being on Pawnee Today “with” Joan Callamezzo. Or, you can simply put Leslie and Jamm in the same room and add Matt Walsh as a Matt Walsh style, impotent emergency planner named Leonard and enjoy. We’ve talked before about how expansive Pawnee is and how wonderful that is. I think this episode shows that the show could almost self sustain with it’s great characters for another few seasons. While that seems completely unlikely given the show’s subpar ratings and what seems to be the end of an era at NBC with 30 Rock now over and The Office coming to a close this season, it does make me wonder if this show would be able to last for several more seasons at a high level. Read the rest of this entry »

Beer and Board Games

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Parks and Rec - S05E10 Toast

Daniel,

So this episode dove right back into the story, moving the Leslie/Ben marriage storyline along with bachelor and bachelorette parties, and Leslie picks up a new ally in the fight against Paunch Burger (Start Drooling, Fatties!). Overall, it was a very solid episode, but I loved the group bachelor party so much that, in contrast, the bachelorette party/Wamapoke storyline was a little less exciting to me. I think the highlight of that side of the episode was Ken Hotate making all the white people feel uncomfortable, especially Councilman Jamm. Read the rest of this entry »

Merry CongratuChristmas

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Parks and Rec S05E09

Daniel,

I know you didn’t, but if you had gone to Hogwarts Academy, which house would you have been in? What a solid icebreaker.

So, I really liked this episode. It seemed to be the a fantastic “filler” episode. It didn’t progress the main plot of the park on Lot 48, but it moved forward some character development and was wonderfully delightful. I love episodes that showcase Ron Swanson’s inner giddy, little girl. Watching him be so excited to be invited to the Indiana Fine Woodworking Association awards ceremony, which was another fantastic addition to the Pawnee community was great. Hopefully, we will see the MC of the awards ceremony again down the road as a semi-recurring character. However, I am a little disappointed we didn’t get to see the winner of the main event “Best Desk.” Read the rest of this entry »

Pawnee Commons

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PNR Pawnee Commons

Leslie Knope, Balloon Ben Wyatt, Ben Wyatt, Balloon Leslie Knope

Bryan,

I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for a visit to Eagleton, land of beautiful people, segway tours, and free iPod touches (they’ve probably upgraded to putting iPads in their goody bags by now).  Like Springfield and Shelbyville on The Simpsons, Pawnee and its evil sister city have been bitter rivals since their inception; however — as befitting a community whose founders stole all the money in Pawnee’s bank and ran off to start their own settlement — Eagleton is distinguished by an overwhelming material, cultural, and even geographical* advantage over its neighbor.   Read the rest of this entry »

Still Firing Bullets!

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Not pictured: the terrifying Jonathan Banks, firer of bullets

Bryan,

This week’s installment of Parks and Recreation got a lot of belly laughs out of me by going to the reliable well of Ben Wyatt being nervous.  As showrunner Mike Schur has noted, Adam Scott “just says things, and they’re funny.”  It’s hard to think of many other comedy straight men whose timing and phrasing gets comparable laughs (Jason Bateman on Arrested Development comes to mind), and Scott’s quietly panicked, insistent fatalism really sold a line like “If there’s anyone that can bring my parents together…it’s no one.  No one can ever bring them together.”

While most of the story beats this week were fairly predictable —  Read the rest of this entry »

Going at it hard, old people style

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Daniel,

I’m glad to be writing about Parks and Rec with you. Even though we are a little late to the game for this season, it will be fun.

Quickly recapping the ideas that happened this season so far: Ben and April are in D.C., generally being hilarious. Leslie is dealing with the difficulty of being a City Councilwoman. Ron and the rest of the crew are keeping the Parks department mostly the same except with Ron running the show instead of Leslie. Read the rest of this entry »