S3E4: “Ron and Tammy” is widely considered one of the best episodes of Parks and Recreation’s season two. It showcased how wild and nutty characters can get within the world of Pawnee. Tammy, Ron’s ex-wife (who’s brilliantly played by Nick Offerman‘s real-life wife, Megan Mullally) is a sex-crazed, lunatic of a woman who works for the evil library. Though, to Ron, she’s like heroin. When the two are together they lose control — physically and mentally — and end up on top of one another on nearly every flat surface available. But outside of their physical relationship, they fight uncontrollably. Of course, this makes the sex better and crazier, but it also ruins them, and more specifically, destroys Ron. Through the years, he’s discovered that the only successful way to rid himself of their relationship is to completely remove Tammy from his life. But of course, there are slip-ups. Ron can’t stay away from Tammy, and thus, we have “Ron and Tammy: Part Two.”
“My ex-wife Tammy likes to check in every so often and make sure I’m doing okay. And if I am? She tries to f*** everything up.”
We open with Ron receiving a message that he has some late fees with the library (and by the way, hating the library is one of my favorite continuing gags that Parks and Recreation does). Immediately, he knows it’s Tammy trying to “fuck everything up,” so he heads over to clear the air. Leslie joins, with “911 on speed-dial,” and Ron proceeds to tell Tammy that he’s in a healthy relationship and her craziness doesn’t bother him anymore. He leaves Tammy’s office successfully, but then unfortunately, as he goes to have his “mid-morning pre-lunch” with his girlfriend who’s also Tom’s ex-wife Wendy, she reveals that she’s decided to move back to Canada to be with her parents.
“Don’t be such a Jerry, Ben.”
Meanwhile, the Parks Department is trying to put together a security staff for the Harvest Festival. Leslie wants to ask the police department to volunteer, so the group decides to throw a party for them. Ben thinks that they should offer salad as a healthy option, but is quickly shot down. This moment was so funny because the show is becoming more and more clear on who understands and fits in Pawnee, versus who doesn’t. Salad instead of pizza? Are you crazy? This is how things work in small towns (I know, because I’m from one). People have their certain way of thinking — whether it’s regarding food, sports, or whatever — and that’s the way things are done there, no way else. If you present any sort of variation on that idea or concept, you’re looked at like you’re crazy. I don’t mean this in a negative way by any means, I just think it’s wonderful that Parks and Rec understands that it’s a show about small town America and embraces the culture that it’s presenting. Plus, it’s always funny to see Ben get made fun of.
“Real piece of work.”
-The Entire Police Force
Tom, being the jealous guy that he is, decides to take revenge on Ron for stealing his ex-wife. He brings Tammy as his date to the party, and of course, with Tammy and Ron in the same room, everything gets out of control fast. Tammy slaps Ron because “he’s allowed to be in a relationship and she’s not,” and since all of Pawnee’s police force is in the room, within seconds, there are four cops separating the two. I must say, to have these to story lines meet in this moment and in this manner was really brilliant. Anyway, Ron and Tammy decide to go “have coffee” to bury the hatchet, but before they even get to the car, they’re fighting which, as it always does, leads to them having sex (or attempting to) on the hood of the car.
“April! Way to come in! Great initiative!” -Chris
“You called me in.” -April
Meanwhile,Chris is being Chris and April is being April. Sone of Parks and Rec’s greatest strengths are the characters it has created within the world of Pawnee, and when it decides to pair off characters that aren’t usually together, it typically succeeds tremendously. This was no different. Seeing the optimism of Chris play against the hate-everything-in-the-world mindset of April was nothing short of hilarious. But it was more than just funny, it was interesting for their characters. Chris’ positive thinking affects everyone around him. Since he and Ann started dating, she’s started talking like him (“I’d like a white wine. I’d like it to be Chardonnay. I’d like one ice cube.”), taking vitamins, and just generally being more chipper. By the end of the episode, the positivity has infected April as well, but on a more subtle level. She spends the entire time trying to get out of being his assistant, ending with Andy delivering a letter “from the FBI” that says April needs to go back to Ron’s desk, but Chris sees right through it. He sees potential in April and asks her to come intern with him in Indianapolis — in which April, surprisingly, seems interested.
Despite it being nice to see April actually want something in her life, this situation clearly hurts Ann. Early in the episode, she states that she would move to Indianapolis with Chris if he asked her, but at the end, he asks April instead. Sure, it’s in a different form, but it still hurts Ann nonetheless.
“Last night, I faked four out of the seven.” -Tammy
“Heh. So did I.” -Ron
Anyway, back to Ron and Tammy. After their “coffee,” the two had one helluva night. Ron got corn rows. They broke into court house. Ron lost part of his mustache from “rubbing.” They got married. And after it all, they ended up in jail. Leslie convinces the police chief to release Ron into her custody, and so the group tries to have an intervention, which even includes a video of Ron telling himself that he’s a fool for thinking Tammy’s changed. But, he doesn’t listen to any of them, including himself. The two plan to head into his cabin in the woods for their honeymoon, with nothing but Gatorade and peanuts “for energy.”
Leslie convinces Tom that all of this is his fault and he needs to do something about it, so he does. He tells Ron that their relationship isn’t real and Tammy’s just screwing with him. Unfortunately, Tom forgets that Tammy is fucking crazy. Tammy starts beating the crap out of Tom. Seriously. She slaps him, throws him into a bookshelf, and repeatedly hits him over the head with a book. After awhile, Ron eventually realizes that Tom’s right, breaks it off with Tammy, and carries Tom to safety.
“I already talked to him. They’ll give us what we need, no problem.”
The show has been hinting at a potential relationship between Ben and Leslie for awhile, and with “Ron and Tammy Part 2” it seemed to solidify this was a direction they were going to take it. At the end of the episode, Ben shares the news that, despite his awful small talk skills, the police chief agreed to volunteer his force for the Harvest Festival. After he tells her, the two playfully banter back and forth at one another, and Ben asks her to grab dinner. It’s not “officially” a date, but I think they both know that they’re interested in one another — it was a nice, hopeful way to end an episode that devoted itself to displaying how awful relationships can be.