S3E5: Right now, Parks and Recreation is in its golden period. Every week, the show consistently gives us funny, clever gags while still managing to sneak in heartfelt, genuine moments with the characters. In television history, shows will go through periods like this, but typically, they won’t last for more than a season or two and honestly, that trend will probably continue with Parks and Recreation. If “Media Blitz” is any indication, the show doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon.
“It’s actually 34.2%.” -Ben
“34.2%. I’m Ben, the numbers robot.” -Leslie
The word about the Harvest Festival isn’t spreading as quickly as the Parks Department originally hoped. According to reports, only 35 percent of the town’s population (or as Ben says, 34.2 percent) is aware of the event. So to get word out, Leslie plans a “media blitz,” which entails Parks Department members talking to all parts of the media — and their first target is the Pawnee’s top morning drive-time radio show, DJ Ira and the Douche, which, for viewers, is everything we want it to be and more.
“I eat running the permits desk for an hour for breakfast.” -Andy
Meanwhile, April accepts Chris’ offer to intern for him in Indianapolis — which is LITERALLY the best news Chris could hear. This, obviously, saddens Andy, so he Andy does the only thing that Andy knows how to do and that’s harass the person he likes until they do what he wants. In order to make April stay, he commits to doing all of the things that she hates to do every day for one month, which includes giving her sister rides, working the permits desk and rubbing Donna’s feet (which April tossed in as a favor to Donna). It was fun to see Andy completely sacrifice himself for a woman again, especially since we haven’t seen this type of desperation since early season one when Andy lived in the pit outside of Ann’s house. The best part? It WORKED. April decides to stay and she kisses Andy. They’re finally together.
“Nice job, man. Was that your first time talking to other people? Because it felt that way. You embarrassed me in front of the Douche.”-Tom
So Tom, Ben and Leslie all go to do their interview with Ira and the Douche (who absolutely own their scenes with all the whistles, buzzes, and sound bytes that come with morning talk shows) and to be frank, the interview is a disaster. Ira and the Douche bring up Ben’s past as an 18-year-old mayor and since Ben hasn’t faced that situation in 17 years, he’s unprepared. He freezes, not having any clue what to say, and totally and completely fumbles every word that comes out of his mouth. Ira and the Douche quickly jump on him even further, accusing him of bringing bankruptcy to Pawnee, and before you know it, the entire town believes that Ben wants Pawnee to go bankrupt.
This whole scene is, well, hilarious. It represents Parks and Recreation at its finest, dealing with both absurd characters while maintaining the realism of their actions in a small town. Plus, Adam Scott plays the “straight-man” character so well (see Party Down) that any time he breaks from it — even if it’s just for a moment — it makes the scene even funnier.
“You are going to love this. Verosion Tea really supercharges the bacteria in your colon. Plus, it smells interesting. Waft it.” -Chris
Ann has been paranoid about Chris leaving for a couple episodes now. She’s dropped numerous obvious hints that she wants him to ask her to move to Indianapolis, but still nothing has happened. Plus Chris has been pestering April about interning for him, so there’s been a hint of jealousy from Ann. She finally just decides to bring it up with Chris, and of course, he’s more than willing to talk about it.
Ann and Chris’ relationship has developed into one of the most interesting parts of the show and the reason, specifically, is Chris. He started off as such a weird dude, and most of us (at least I) couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to be around him, let alone date him. But something about his optimism has not only infected me as a viewer (seriously, if Chris was real, I’d want to hang out with him), but it’s affected Ann. She’s now taking “Vitamin D” to feel happier, exercising all the time, and even speaking in a similar rhythm to Chris. Hopefully they figure out a way to continue to develop this relationship (which they probably will, since Rob Lowe is a full-time cast member now) so we can get to see Ann Perkins(!) become the female version of Chris.
“I’m Perd Hapley, Channel Four.” -Perd
“More like Turd Crapley.” -Ben
Now, back to the media blitz. After the horrendous (but hilarious) performance on DJ Ira and the Douche, Ben’s meltdown continues. While doing an interview with Perd Hapley, his freak-out becomes more outrageous, as he seems to return to the distraught 18-year-old that he was at the time of his mayorship (talking about how he had just had his heart broken by his girlfriend). Leslie quickly tries to put the fire out with an interview with the newspaper, but ends up saying she has a “work with benefits” relationship with Ben. It’s all quickly spinning out of control, so they go to the one place that controls all of Pawnee’s media, the only place that can fix their problems — Pawnee Today with Joan Callamezzo.
On the show, while appearing like he’s about to meltdown again (and being labeled a “human disaster”), Ben finally finds his voice and defends himself as a stupid 18-year-old. It works and afterward, it appears as if the Parks Department has successfully done damage control, all while getting the word out about Harvest Festival.
If there’s a gripe I have about this episode, it’s that everything is resolved a little too quickly. What was different about Pawnee Today from the radio show that let Ben find his voice again? Obviously, the show is only a half-hour long (plus, it’s a comedy), so I can’t be too hard on them for pulling the switch that quickly, but at the same time, the entire episode spent so much time building it up and showing us how Ben has lost his mind only to suddenly say, “Welp, just kidding; everything is cool.” It’s a small concern, but a concern nonetheless.