After the epic showdown of two weeks ago — in which friend was pitted against friend, mentor against mentee, sugar against vinegar — the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department is once again united in a common mission. In a plot line that harkens back to Parks and Rec's earlier (dare I say, fresher?) seasons, Leslie is once again on a mission to build a park. A green, lush, beautiful park located on the location that was formerly known as The Pit. Personally, I'm loving the return of The Pit this season. In fact, I would love a webisode that is essentially a live feed of the Lot Formerly Known as the Pit, featuring music by Mouse Rat. But I digress…
You're Like a Southern Belle when Rhett Butler Comes Around.
Before the opening credits, we find Leslie Knope as the guest on a local NPR-wannabe radio station (where can I get a ticket to the spoken word opera about pear-shaped women?) pleading for the citizens of Pawnee to submit résumés and designs for her new park. Fast-forward one credit sequence and a few days and we find Leslie and Ben sifted through said proposals. Unfortunately, most of them are from prison inmates and crazy people.
But ho! There is one brilliant ray of hope beaming forth from the pile of sludge! Mr. Wreston St. James, architect, has an impressive portfolio and shiny new plan for the Pit Park. There is only one catch… he's from Eagleton! Ugh, vomit, gross, cooties Eagleton. The only thing that Leslie Knope hates more than sadness, death, and the library. But thanks to Ben's coaxing and the overall lack of other options, Leslie and Ben head out to meet this Mr. St. James in person and see what he is all about.
It's love at first sight between Ben and Wreston St. James, who not only designed the biggest park I've ever seen outside of Disney World's Animal Kingdom (complete with a balloon artist extraordinaire) but also seems to be the nicest person on the face of the planet. But while Ben is enamored and wants to hire St. James immediately, Leslie is having a hard time overcoming her loathing of Eagleton as like, a place on the planet that exists. St. James really does seem to good to be true — I wouldn't trust him any farther than I could throw him. But with no other viable options, Leslie is against a hard place and a vast expanse of nothing, so she decides to take a chance on Wreston. That is, after she says she's sss…. soorr… sorrrrr… sorUGH… sorry. There. She's sorry.
When Wreston sends his assistants to present his plans for the park in his stead, all of Leslie's nightmares come true. Their model of Pawnee's newest park is full of terrible, gross, nasty things — like drool buckets, cheeseburger troughs, and public showers complete with bathing instructions (the joke being that the people Pawnee are smelly and don't know how to shower) and Leslie is whatever is more angry than furious.
Determined to get an explanation, Ben heads to Eagleton for a lunch date with Wreston. Leslie, meanwhile, plans her revenge. Just as Wreston tells Ben that his lackeys worked without his permission and were fired once news of their wrongdoing reached his ears, Leslie bursts in, shaving cream cans blaring. "You want a silly tie? I'll make you a silly tie!" she screams as she attacks Wreston. Leslie, your timing is impeccable.
But, since Parks is largely rainbows and butterflies these days and never leaves a conflict without resolution, Wreston decides to forgive Leslie and move forward with his plan for the park. Which is truly awesome (the park, not the forgiveness). It even has a Lil' Sebastian fountain. Long live Lil' Sebastian — may he rest in peace.
Good Use of the Word Fiscal, Very Upscale
Gone is the swagerific, irresponsible, pipe dream-chasing Tom Haverford, and in his place is a penny-pinching, budget balancing, levelheaded businessman. "Tommy Timberlake is dead," Tom proclaims, "Long live Thomas M. Haverford: Responsible Tycoon." Tom has found a location for Rent-a-Swag and the whole gang is ready to turn it into the most beautiful storefront this side of Entertainment 720 — just as soon as they get rid of the raccoons. Unfortunately, new and improved Tom is not so much fun. He's the kind of guy who tries to order a carton of eggs from the diner, who chooses booger yellow paint because it's on sale, and whose idea of a pizza party is one small pizza without any toppings. Raise your hand if this sounds like your dad! Without his usual spunk and risk-seeking attitude, Tom might just drive the best business he's ever had into the ground.
Luckily, Ann is on hand for an intervention. "Go find your sparkle, Tom!" she says. "Don't forget who you are!" And she hands him a wad of cash, courtesy of the group, to use to spice up his new store. Newly invigorated and inspired, Tom glams up his new digs and looks just about ready for business.
Oh Hitler, You Sexy Bastard.
As City Hall's security guard, Andy is bored. He is so bored he starts to think about existence. To liven things up, he calls April down to keep him company, and the two embark on an elaborate roll-playing mission starring FBI Agent Bert Macklin and the wily Judy Hitler, daughter of Adolf. Hitler jokes abound.
Things get serious, however — as they are wont to do — when Andy and April run across a young boy who has become separated from his mother. Goofball Andy is nothing if not compassionate, so he swings the lad up onto his back for a piggyback ride and sets off to find the missing mother. Of course, the two are quickly reunited. This prompts a syrupy sweet moment in which April tells Andy that he, not Bert Macklin, is the real hero. Awww!
Best line of the night: "You have 5 seconds to get out of here or I will rip your throats out." (It's the delivery here that sells this one.)
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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S3E6: Tara is killing vampires and saving Sookie’s ass! True Blood certainly deserves a round of applause for what they’ve done with Tara this season, since I’ve gone from hoping that they could find a way to write her out of the show slightly more charitable than dropping a piano on her head, to finding her one of the most compelling parts of the show. It’s partially Franklin, who is still adorably crazy this week, (especially when he gets all pouty when Tara doesn’t notice that he shaved) but a lot of it is Tara herself, who orchestrates a successful jailbreak from Russell’s plantation of disturbing sex. As soon as Sookie got captured I began making a list of potential rescuers, but Tara was right at the bottom, below “Russell gives up his life of crime and joins the clergy.” Sure, Tara drank Franklin’s blood, so he now knows how to find her all the time, but I don’t know if Tara ever knew about that. And while I doubt that smashing his head in with a mace actually killed Franklin, I can’t blame her for assuming it would. Generally, when people’s heads are reduced to something resembling salsa, all other immortality rules go out the window. So kudos to Tara, for being way smarter and tougher than I gave her credit for.
Sam’s plot also took an unexpected turn for the better this week, culminating in Sam finally figuring out how absolutely terrible his parents are. Joe Lee’s been using Tommy, and before him, his mother, as contestants in dogfighting rings. Which seems like a pretty unimaginative use of their powers, they could’ve set up a “come see a unicorn” sideshow or something, but I guess that option was turned down because it might require Joe Lee to actually do some work. Tommy continues to be surprisingly sympathetic, in light of how awful his parents are, and the show has successfully gotten me to the point where I don’t want him to get killed by a pit bull. Congratulations, writers, it’s more than you managed to do for Eggs.
Jason’s relationship with Crystal continued this week, and continued to be inexplicably intense. Their storyline has gone from 0 to Romeo and Juliet in the space of two episodes, and it feels rushed. It makes sense for Jason to fall head over heels for a girl, especially one he can’t have, but its hard to care about Crystal when we met her about 15 minutes ago. Also unlucky in love this week as Lafayette, who finally got to first base with Jesus only to get rejected after being exposed as a drug dealer. I can understand why Jesus wouldn’t want to date a drug dealer, but dumping someone due to his career seems remarkably quaint on this show. Lafayette also gets his car trashed by Crystal’s hick drug dealer friends, who are admirably tenacious but deeply stupid. If, the last time I went to beat up a guy I got attacked by a flying 6-foot-tall vampire, I’d call it a loss and start looking for a new person to bully.
And speaking of 6-foot-tall flying vampires, Eric continued his quest for revenge this week. Unfortunately, since its still in its beginning stages, there was less stabbing and more creepy smiling and awkward touching. I still think that Eric’s “murdered viking family that we never mentioned and happen to have been killed by his next door neighbor” thing is kind of tacked on, but it leads to more Russell and Talbot, which is fine by me. Talbot continues to be fun, he out-shrieks Sookie, gets in a fight with Russell, and spends the rest of the episode watching old romantic movies and eating a pint blood gelato straight from the carton. And Russell gets the plot moving; he spends most of the episode explaining why he wants to get rid of humans (turns out that he’s a conservationist, kind of) and proposing to an increasingly unhinged Sophie-Ann. The only downside is that there’s still a distressing lack of Pam-saving going on (and Eric’s tight blue sweater seems to have gotten stained), but Sophie-Ann finally gets a much-deserved ass-kicking.
It looks like all the progress Bill made in the past few weeks is out the window. The episode started out well, Bill staked a guy and almost had Russell before he got shaken off like a floppy-haired mosquito, and it was all pretty impressive. Unfortunately, he then got to spend the rest of the episode in the Anne Rice memorial melodrama dungeon, where he and Lorena torture each other with pointy instruments and terrible dialogue. In the interest of saving time and my sanity, I’ll include some of Bill’s lines from the episode verbatim.
“He is the reason that a girl, who once marveled in the beauty of all life, now delights in pain and horror in every moment."
“I welcome death, it is only then that I will be truly free of the disease that is you.”
“I wish I had known you before you were made. When your smile was full of happiness and life instead of insufferable whining and a whole lot of crazy.”
Well, that last one might be changed a little, but that’s the general gist of it. I understand that Bill is unfailingly melodramatic, but he had been so good lately about not sounding like a MySpace poet that I forgot how ridiculous he was.
Sookie made a backwards slide this week too, still proving to be completely obsessed with Bill and completely incapable of asking useful questions. Her scene with the King, where he’s trying to figure out what she is and she’s trying to figure out how many crowns he owns seemed like a deliberate statement “no, we’re not answering questions you care about, bugger off” from the writers. We get a cute moment where Sookie tries to impersonate Eric like she did Bill, but she’s mostly in the background in the episode, and mostly relegated to screaming and being clueless, as Russell perceptively notes. She even of fails at rescuing Bill, she gets blindsided by Lorena despite knowing that Lorena went off to torture him. You’d think that a mind reader would have a better handle on what is going on, even if she can’t read vampires. Sookie has been really good lately at taking charge, working well with Alcide and getting things done, and I hope that doesn’t stop now that Bill is back. We’ve seen him shirtless, and compared to Brawny, he’s really not worth it.
“I will tear out your ribcage and wear it as a hat.” Hey, look, a Buffy reference!
"You mean nothing to me, understand? Nothing!" Suuuure, Eric.
“Those are dumped out of a can into a pan and heated up. What do you think this is, Red Lobster?”
Franklin’s take on being a vampire: “No more pain, no more fear, no more rules.” Well, that is just plain wrong.
“Let’s turn this here dead man into a fucking raisin!”
“I will rip your head off and throw it in the pool. And I will have fun doing it.”
The entire conversation between Cooter and Debbie was gold.
“I’d do anything for you.” “Will you take me to forever 21 and buy me anything I want?”