January 13, 2012

parks and recreation: the comeback kid

The return of Parks and Recreation offered solid laughs and progressed the story lines set in the first half of the season.

Both Leslie and Ben are separately dealing with their fall from grace after going public with their relationship — and inadvertently creating a scandal by bribing a government employee to keep their relationship a secret. Leslie is trying to revive life in her city council campaign, while Ben is soul searching and exploring his hobbies with his new time off.

Leslie and her makeshift volunteer crew decide to host an event to restart her campaign. Leslie declares Ann her campaign manager, despite suggestions she turn to Ben, who has experience. Her argument against: "he is poison to my campaign." (A statement, though harsh, is something both of them seem to feel.) This moment offered up one of my favorite lines from the whole episode: "Don't listen to your head or your heart and look into my eyes and say yes."

While they put together the event, Chris shows up at Ben's to pull him out of a slump. He finds Ben at work making calzones for a potential business (which he wants to call "Zones") and creating a claymation video. Chris ultimately helps Ben see that he is depressed, and he needs to do something to get out of it.

Back at the Knope campaign, all is not well. No one really knows how to run a campaign, and the volunteers aren't able to put together a good event.

Ultimately, Leslie must face facts about her campaign and turn to someone else for assistance. (I'm not going to flat out say it here, but you should know who it is if you follow the show. I mean, we all know who her campaign manager was going to end up being from the get-go, right?)

Aside from the main storyline, there were other fun elements:
•  Andy and April adopt a three-legged dog, together. The dog is present throughout the whole episode and creates some cute comic relief in tense moments.
•  The Knope 2012 team walking onto the ice was painful to watch, but hilarious.
•  Have to say I love Tom's love for red carpet. It makes me want to stretch some out in my house or put it in my shoes as insoles.
•  Ben's abbreviations for his activities. From "Zones" to "Claymash," it cracked me up.
•  Leslie's attempt at break-dancing. The girl does not have moves, as much as she wants them. I don't either, which makes it all the more fun to watch.
•  Jerry finally gets it right at a moment when everyone wishes he wouldn't. The poor guy can't get a break.

I enjoyed this episode. While I don't think it will make it into my list of all-time favorites, it was a good one to start the second part of the season. It built upon elements we have seen before and planted a few seeds for the future. I think this campaign story arc will be fun to watch through, and every episode about it makes me more excited to see where the rest of it goes.

Parks and Recreation will be back next week at 7:30 CDT on NBC with the episode "Campaign Ad."

Check back later today to see my review of last night's Bones.

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