You’d think with three storylines that fall into the standard Parks & Rec mold would make for a boring episode, but P&R knows how to play to it’s strengths and hit it out of the ‘park’. (see what I did there?)
The ‘A’ storyline involved the classic Pawnee/Eagleton rivalry. Pawnee won the right to hold their annual Tipoff Classic Basketball game in their town – but not only that – Eagleton has apparently gone bankrupt. Not a surprising development considering the speed at which they spend cash. I usually enjoy Leslie’s trash-talk, and this time she ramped it up even more. When Ben and Chris are asked to consult with Eagleton on ways to turn around their budget, Leslie insinuates herself into the talks and gives a hilarious presentation gloating over the rival city’s downfall.
After Leslie offers terms to which Eagleton isn’t willing to concede, Ben and Chris go behind her back to help anyway. Leslie is understandably angry at Ben, and they have a little fight that’s broken up by her Eagleton counterpart, Ingrid de Forest (played by Kristen Bell) saying that she just wants to ‘borrow’ her husband for a night. The episode went to commercial immediately after that comment – which is a shame. I would’ve liked to see Leslie’s cat-fight response.
Ultimately, as is per usual, Leslie sees the big picture. She realizes that helping Eagleton may not be palatable, but it is the right thing to do. Problem resolved in typical P&R fashion, but the laughs getting there made everything worth it.
On to the two ‘B’ storylines. First of all, we see Ron in a panic because he received a “Penny Saver” sent in his name at his new address. I know it’s a no-brainer, but I was actually surprised to see he left his cabin to live with his new family. That’s the only thing that shocked me though. Ron is notorious for his privacy issues, so knowing that someone out there knows where he lives is earth-shattering to him.
He turns to Tom for advice since he knows a lot about ‘the grid’. Tom then tells him that Donna would be perfect to help him, and they jump through all kinds of hoops to erase Ron from the world at-large. I utterly adore Donna & Tom together. They celebrate their lives, not only with their public personas, but between the two of them privately as well. To see them aiding Ron with something so foreign to them showed how much they care for Ron in their own way.
The remaining plot-point was the beginning of Ann & Chris’ departure from the show. Makes me sad just thinking about it – but I must admit, it’s a pretty inventive way to get it done. Since Ann helped April get into a vet tech program in Bloomington, she escorts her to the campus for an orientation. She can kill two birds with one stone since Bloomington has a decent baby store – something that is sadly lacking in Pawnee. I’m pretty sure that despite her protests, April kinda likes Ann – well, as much as April likes anything – and seeing them together is truly sweet.
After begrudgingly being dragged around by Ann, April decides that her gut is telling her that leaving Pawnee for Bloomington isn’t the right move for her, so she leaves with Ann with no intention of coming back. They have a discussion on the ride home about gut-feelings since Ann isn’t sure she’s ever really felt one. Once they get home, Ann reports in to Chris, describing all the great things she found on her day-trip to the big city. She suddenly realizes she’s having a feeling right then, and it’s sparked the idea that perhaps raising their child somewhere other than Pawnee might be the right thing for her.
One of the things I admire about P&R is the trademark ‘smartness’ of the writing. Other shows might take on rehashed themes and make a mess, but somehow, P&R never seems recycled. The story is familiar but also cleverly novel. Truly one of the best sitcoms on TV right now.
Tune in to NBC Thursday October 10th at 8pm/7pm Central for the next episode, “Doppelgängers”.
Ron: “Why is everyone else so bad at eating?”
Ben: “Butch Count-sedy and the Sum-Dance Kid, together again?”
Donna & Tom: (chanting) “Grid, grid, grid, grid, grid…”
Ron: “If you help me get off the grid, I will let both of you go home early.”
Donna & Tom: (chanting) “No grid, no grid, no grid, no grid, no grid…”
April: “My gut is always right, okay? It was right about marrying Andy, and it was right when it told me that you would be the worst person that I would ever meet in my life. And I’ve met Guy Fieri, Ann.”