Parks and Recreation is determined to come up with a season long arc, and so far, Leslie's (Amy Poehler) idea for a merger with rival town Eagleton is proving to be a good one. This week, the department took on their Eagleton counterparts in order to learn the lay of the land. Ultimately, the episode feels a little light because no matter how much we may want to see more of the Eagleton Parks Department, there was no way the cast was going to double in size, but the conceit was funny enough that it doesn't matter whatsoever.
April (Aubrey Plaza) is back to full agent-of-chaos mode, first rebranding Jerry (whose actual name is Gary) as "Larry Gengrich," and then torturing her doppleganger, Tynnyfer (June Diane Raphael) by mimicing her vapid cluelessness and tricking her into quitting her job and breaking into Dwayne Wade's house in Miami. Ron (Nick Offerman) slowly realizes that his counterpart, played by Sam Elliott and also named Ron, might be another mustachioed man of few words with a love of the outdoors, but while Ron is a libertarian suvivalist and meat-lover, Eagleton Ron is a vegan enviornmental crusader and nut nut ("They make wonderful milks"). They go from instant friends to instant enemies, and it's nice to see the slow build of things our Ron hates coming out of an increasingly gleeful Alterna-Ron's mouth. The only downside to so many great day players was that aside from Leslie's attempts to figure out who to fire, we didn't get to see any of our usual inter-character chemisty. Tom (Aziz Ansari), in particular, was stranded alone in his struggle to conceal that his doppleganger was a super-efficient computer program called E.R.I.C by constructing a fictional drug-dealing, racist, messy jerk identity for Eric who does, indeed, get fired.
And despite all these machinations, Leslie would have never fired someone from the main cast tonight, not just because they are under contract for the rest of the season, but because after recieving the news that Chris (Rob Lowe) and Ann (Rashida Jones) are planning to move out of Pawnee, she becomes hyper loyal, panicking about the loss of a friend by hanging on desperately to her employees, even attempting to get them to sign a Loyalty Agreement that binds them to the town for 50 years. Though Ann tries to soften the bad news with a plate of waffles and a picture of a shirtless Joe Biden riding a horse, Leslie still feels betrayed.
If only things were as easy as they are for Chris and Ben (Adam Scott), who have become close again over the last few episodes but dealt with the news in a mature and kind way. But Leslie's panic is understandable and totally in character. Additionally, Ann is pretty much nowhere to be found in what should have been a much bigger episode for her. Even as Leslie constantly reminds us how they are best friends who love working together, she spends far more time seeking advice from Ron and working with the rest of the department. If there was ever a time to show their friendship and its tightness, it was here. And with Pawnee becoming extreme in its unhealthiness (Chris orders a "salad" filled with gummy worms, cheese, a gumball, and toffee) and this merger giving her a natural break in her job, it's hard to tell exactly how she feels about leaving or about starting a new life with Chris. While it does seem best for the show to lose Ann as Ben becomes a more logical anchor in Leslie's life, that doesn't mean Ann should be unceremoniously shipped off. And the abrupt ending of the episode, which cuts to black just as Ann and Leslie sit down to talk, felt confusing, as the audience doesn't really know the answers to what they're talking about. Hopefully, next week we'll get a chance to hang out with both characters as they think about how to say goodbye.
Questions, Comments, Concerns:This week's stray observations will be used as a shrine to Craig, Donna's doppleganger, who was played by Billy Eichner, was the only Eagleton member left on the "maybe" side of returning vs. being fired, and was by far the most quotable. Case in point:"Donna? That is the perfect name for you. I love it, don't ever change it.""I wanted to be a Spanish man named Terrance, but that didn't happen." "I carried the Eagleton Department on my back and I loved every second of it, you don't even know!" (You have to imagine that this is at a shrill, manic pitch capable of waking the dead.)"You want me to put Bermuda grass in a continental climate that's a six on the Beauford scale in a park with zero drainage? I want Kentucky Bluegrass, I want a 10 percent discount, and I want you to apologize to my best friend Donna!" "I have a medical condition all right. It's called caring too much... and it's incurable! Also I have excema." "I'm halfway through designing a bamboo gazebo as a tribute to the founders of Motown.""My DVR is pregnant with 13 months' worth of Scandal."
Break out the tea towels! Filming on Series 4 of Downton Abbey has wrapped, and though those of us Stateside won't be able to catch up with the Crawleys until January, photos from the production have been released to whet our appetites for the many heated arguments about the propriety of white-tie attire versus black-tie attire to come. Specifically, we're getting our first glimpse of the three new men in the life of Michelle Dockery's Lady Mary, following the death of her husband Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) at the end of Series 3. “We do see quite a bit of the Mary she was before she met Matthew, that icy iron-maiden quality," producer Gareth Neame tells TV Guide. "It's going to take an awful lot to get her back to life." Let’s get to know the three gents in her orbit better.
Jack Ross (Gary Carr)
The dashing young jazz singer from Chicago, pictured above, meets Lady Mary in the third episode, after Branson, Rose, and Aunt Rosamund force her finally to leave Downton after her extended period of mourning. They take her to a swinging club in London called the Lotus, where Ross helps her come out of her shell. "The spine of the new season is how Mary moves from total bereavement into turning to life again," Neame says. "Ross is very positive, ambitious and charming. And we get to see him perform."
Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen)
Around the same time, Lady Mary reacquaints herself with old family friend Lord Gillingham at one of Downton’s lavish parties. He helps her out with the tangled mess of inheritance taxes surrounding Matthew’s assets. "Mary is not looking for anyone to replace Matthew, but she is, of course, a beautiful, eligible young widow, so inevitably there is going to be quite a lot of male interest," Neame says. "Gillingham is a very useful friend to Mary at a time when she's not able to make decisions."
Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden)
Remember Evelyn Napier? He was the Crawley family friend who introduced them to Turkish ambassador Kemal Pamuk — who died in Lady Mary’s bed — way back in Season 1. Well, he’s coming back. And hopefully the friend he’s bringing with him this time has a healthier ticker. Evelyn’s pal is named Charles Blake, and he’s full of ideas about how to run Downton more efficiently…just like Matthew was before his untimely end. But unlike Matthew Mary despises him. However, if you think about it, she wasn’t really keen on her eventual husband at the start of Season 1, either. "There's a bit of a difference," Neame says. "Mary objected to the law making Matthew the heir to Downton. Blake is someone she just doesn't like. He's modern-thinking but does not share the family's sentimentality about the past."
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Donald Trump has a new apprentice, and this time the winner comes from the country community. Trump named country singer Trace Adkins the winner of his first-ever All-Star Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday night. Magician Penn Jillette came out as the runner-up of this season.
Adkins originally competed on the first season of Celebrity Apprentice, ending up as the runner-up that year. This time, the country music star took home the winning title. Along with a new job, Adkins won $250,000 for his charity, the American Red Cross, and another $100,000 from Walgreens. The company donated $100,000 to Jillette's charity as well.
For the finale challenge, Adkins and Jillette had to create an ice cream flavor for Walgreen's ice cream line. They were also asked to create a commercial and plan a celebrity-driven launch event to promote the new ice cream. Akins made $50,000 more in ticket sales for the event, which helped him towards securing the winning title.
But despite the win, Adkins and Jillette seemed to end the season on good terms. Jillette even accompanied Adkins on his guitar as the singer performed his single "Love Will." Now that is what you call losing gracefully.
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Farouk Shami can't be the only one who misses last season's Aubrey O'Day, who the hairstyling businessman styled into his personal blow-up doll during Celebrity Apprentice 12. After all, during this All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, we're left with "stars" as creative as a sample of Lil Jon's lyrics. Meaning, of course, that this crop is simply, as the rapper would say, "Okay." Two teams with the same ideas to shill Farouk Systems, a company that's managed to market itself on multiple seasons of Celebrity Apprentice and still remain largely unknown to both the viewing public and participating celebrities? Very few companies have such a skill for mediocrity. But, without further ado, let's get into the night's 10 most ridiculous moments of Celebrity Apprentice!
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10. Everybody Hates Stephen BaldwinIncluding Matt Rich, his own publicist, who Baldwin tracked down by telling Marilu Henner to tell her Miss USA source to tell his publicist that Stephen needed his help. No wonder Stevie B loves God, the only person he seems to have a direct connection to.
9. "Do Things You Are Not Told."The most dangerous words of encouragement Lisa Rinna could have ever told Gary Busey.
8. Farouk's F**ked-Up ProductsIf Shami's friendship with Donald Trump wasn't enough of a reason to not invest in his products, the mogul's dandruff powder — which gave Marilu the exact type of volume one would hope for if they were hoping for a bird to flap through their hair — certainly set him head and shoulders below the hairstyling competition.
7. Gary, the AccountantParticularly an accountant intent on thinking "outside the box," which is crazy since we know all of Gary's thoughts come from inside a box of smelly markers.
6. Carol Baldwin's CrushStephen's mother, the face of the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center, told cameras of The Donald: "I think he's so sexy … I would give his wife a run for her money." That's one way to get another check delivered to the cause. (Another is equating The Donald with God.)
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5. "I Just Heard From My Joan Rivers That My Trump Died Yesterday."Also known as the worst innuendo you could ever bring to the bedroom.
4. Feeling a Rectal TransmissionCRAZY. That stands for Gary's penchant for Creating Ridiculous Acronyms for Zucchini Yarmulkes. Okay, so it turns out Gary's better than I am at acronyms. But I can't believe watching Sunday's episode of Celebrity Apprentice meant that I missed the Symphony of Farting Trombones on NPR.
3. Dennis Rodman Shines. Literally.With this new look (see pitcure above), Dennis is pretty enough to marry Dennis... again.
2. Dennis Solves the Homeless CrisisMoney? Healthcare? Homes? Psh. What the homeless really need, according to Dennis, is a handful of D-listers giving them stylish makeovers.
1. Omarosa's Immortality Deal or No Deal model Claudia Jordan was forced to pack her suitcase faster than Howie Mandel's hairline receded after failing to watch last week's episode, in which LaToya Jackson was fired for not bringing Omarosa into the boardroom. Really, Claudia? You tell Donald Jr., that Omarosa was your weakest link, then bring back Lil Jon, also known as Farouk's favorite American of all the Americans, following your loss? It's official: Ocean's Twelve is no longer the worst thing introduced to audiences in 2004. Turns out Omarosa is harder to kill than Trump's television career.
[Image Credit: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC]
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