January 27, 2012

parks and recreation: bowling for votes

Notice: This review/ recap contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

I've said it the last two weeks, and I'll say it again: I love the Knope 2012 story arc on Parks and Recreation. Like other long-running plot lines on the show, such as the Harvest Festival, it brings out the best in all of the characters.

And by best I mean the most ridiculous and funny to watch.

For the main plot, in response to a focus group about her campaign, Leslie and Ben decide to hold a bowling night. Ben thinks they're doing it to show Leslie being more approachable to the masses. In actuality, she is targeting one specific man from the focus group who said, "She doesn't seem like the type you can go bowling with."

As we all know, and Leslie admitted, she is not letting go of things. Of course mayhem ensues.

Ron, Tom and Ann also join in the bowling fun by playing on a lane on the other side of the alley. Now, this is a bit I wish we would have seen more of. Every moment of it was historical. From Tom taking forever to pick out his nickname, only to have Ron enter him as "Tom" (and putting Ann down as "Girl") to him beating Ron by bowling granny style (Ron: "Son, people can see you"), the whole bit was a hoot.

My favorite part was the bit at the end where Ron returns to the alley, but I won't spoil it for you now. Just know, it was one of my favorite scenes ever.

At Casa de Andy-April-Ben-Champion, the rest of the crew is fundraising for Leslie's campaign, with Jerry in charge. The prize for the person who raises the most dough: two free tickets to a movie theater.

Of course this is just about the most exciting thing ever for Chris who loves winning.

Everyone had their moments of beauty in this arc.
•  Chris offering praise or advice to all of his calls while raking in money.
•  Jerry giving out his social security number to a potential downer.
•  Donna talking dirty to one of her call recipients.
•  Andy telling a caller they cannot accept donations greater than $50.
•  April using different accents with each call so she can be Chris (because she doesn't want him to be happy).

During this bit we also learn that Chris plans to ask Jerry's daughter to move in with him, while she plans to break up with him. The scene between Chris and April at the end is super sweet. (It even made one of my friends tear up a little, apparently.)

Back at the bowling alley, Leslie took on Derek, the jerk who said he didn't like, and after letting him win once, she challenges him to a rematch. If she wins, he has to vote for her. If he wins, she has to clean his house for a month.

Being a really good bowler ("Just ask Ron"), Leslie defeats Derek who calls her the b word (rhymes with witch).

Ben, who had spent most of the episode trying to calm down Leslie, loses it at this point and sucker punches the guy (it wasn't the manliest punch I've seen, but it did the job). Though Ben is horrified by his actions immediately, Leslie isn't. In fact, it turns her on a little.

That's what I love about these two. Though Leslie is typically the nutty one, and Ben the straight man, when he loses it, he loses it. Total awesomesauce.

And instead of firing Ben as her campaign manager, or making a real public apology, Leslie stands by her man and publicly announces that she appreciates him sticking up for her. One of my favorite lines of the night, "I do not condone violence, but I have to be honest, it was awesome. And my campaign manager and I made out a lot afterward."

Well said, Leslie. (And apparently the voters liked it, too, as shown in a follow-up focus group.)

Like I said, this episode did a great job featuring every characters' strengths, making it a real ensemble piece. At the same time it carried on a few story lines, and I'm excited to see what is up next.

Now it's your turn: What did you think of last night's episode?

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