'Parks and Recreation' recap: Chewing bacon and eyebrows

Of the four NBC sitcoms on last night, I got the most pleasure from Parks and Recreation. It’s a measure of just how terrific P&R has become that even when it breaks its format with a mostly-outdoors episode, it still moves its ongoing story lines along briskly and provides a constant stream — a babbling brook, in Leslie Knopes’ case — of laughs.

The core plot was about Leslie’s efforts to make this year’s Pawnee Parks summer catalog the best ever. Over-planning as usual, she organized a pep-rally-ish picnic that would include former heads of the parks department. They turned out to be as surly and cynical as Leslie is chipper and optimistic. (And included Family Ties‘ Michael Gross as a gasbag pot-head — hey, kinda like what Stephen Keaton probably would have become!)

The rich texture of the characters in this show was on full display here. Amy Poehler can now show us Leslie’s stern, disapproving side as well as her dopey one (sometimes combining both, as in her prissy neologism, “We really made love to the pooch today, Ron”).

When it comes to romance, P&R may actually be more believable than The Office or 30 Rock these days. How discreetly P&R let us know of Ann’s disenchantment with Mark simply by the noncommittal gazes in the photos Tom took of the couple for the catalog. (Was this introduced to set us up for the fact that Paul Schneider is leaving the show?)

And what rare joy April displayed when she and Andy played catch with picnic food, and engaged in a “sweater-swap!”

A couple of final observations:

• What were the odds that, the week after Fess Parker died, Ron would show up at the office in a coonskin cap?

• The moment when April excited Andy with her fantasy of having sex with the oldest of the parks commissioners and wanting to “chew his eyebrows off” was one of the most inexplicably bizarre and funny images I’ve heard on TV in a while.

• Leslie and Ron achieved a moment almost equal to Mary Richards and Lou Grant when they shared a diner meal. Why would anyone eat anything other than breakfast food, Leslie asked contentedly. Ron, biting into a bit of extra-crispy bacon: “People are idiots, Leslie.” Amen.

What did you like best about last night’s Parks and Recreation?


Comments (88 total) Add your comment
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  • Vonda

    I love this show! It’s my favorite of Thursday night! And that’s saying a lot!

    • Alan

      It has moved leaps and bounds this season and is now the funniest and sharpest of the Thursday night NBC comedies. So funny this year!!

    • GROWING PAINS FAN

      It was a great episode, especially next to the bad 30 Rock episode last night.

  • robinb

    Donna’s pick up line for Tom: “Yes, I am a hunter – and it’s YOU season.”

    • Nick

      The only thing that could make P&R even better is more Donna!

      • Ambient Lite

        And we can’t be surprised she has more game than Tom!

      • Phachina Pharts

        I bet she uses some of those lines at the Snakehole Lounge!

      • Ryan

        Agreed more Donna!!!

    • Tom Brazelton

      The self-satisfied look Ron gave Tom after Tom struck out with his coonskin cap was priceless.

  • Lorie

    I felt so sorry for April when Andy pulled away after learning she’s only 20. Great cover photo of them, though. I saw the crush in her eyes as she lovingly gazed up at him. Wonder if Andy will see this, too.

    • Ambient Lite

      Totally heartbreaking, didn’t see that coming at all.

    • Jen

      I think he did, as did Ann. At the end when they are looking at the cover I think showed on their faces.

      • marymary

        I replayed that scene, it was really well done. Showing April’s happiness over seeing the photo, to Ann’s jealousy, to Andy’s interest and then smile (showing he really does have feelings for April). Such a sweet ending, totally am in love with this show and most of the characters. Well done P&R!

    • JCK

      I know it is a fictional show, but when they revealed the cover, I honestly said “that’s a beautiful picture.” It made me so happy to see it. I agree that the scene showing everyone’s reactions was well-done. I want this show to continue with success because it’s the one show I look forward to each week!

  • LR

    P&R is the best comedy o thursday’s now – i find it far more entertaining than the office and 30 rock.

    • KRibbons

      Its always the first thing I watch from Thursday tv.

  • Lemon

    April and Andy are hilarious and adorable, and I salute the show for acknowledging their age difference as an issue. Doesn’t mean it didn’t break my heart though!

    • Alan

      I’m just wondering though. He’s just a spazz, he’s like an overly energetic puppy and she’s so droll and sarcastic and deadpan. Would he really be into her? Just wondering.

    • hmm…

      I know a lot is discussed about the ‘creepy’ age aspect of Annie and Jeff on Community, but this episode just made me realize how Sweet/creepy April and Andy are too! Isnt April younger than Annie? April is so edgy I forget how young she is for Andy.

      • KC

        Annie’s 18, and April is 20.
        And I’m pretty sure Jeff is supposed to be quite a few years older than Andy as well.

  • Ambient Lite

    A toast, everyone! To the beginning of the end of ‘Anndanowicz’!!!
    Time to start packing up the truck, Mark!
    Other than that, I enjoyed the annoying implication from the aforementioned eyebrow king that Leslie’s womb was starving her brain of blood, menses would attract bears, etc.
    And did anyone notice how Ron was running after being denied bacon outdoors?!? Wow!
    And my last fave moment, Leslie showing Ron the photoshopped ‘nude’ pic of the parks directors *ahem* together, and Ron says “Good God, I don’t remember THIS.”

    • Jen

      I loved Ron throwing a tantrum over the bacon, also loved his running to the picnic, once again almost like a child. Ron is absolutely great.

      • elena

        Ron’s crazy running towards the picnic was one of THE BEST sight gags I’ve ever seen. I kind of want the writers to try to make Ron not funny, just for one episode, just to see if it could be done (it can’t. I’m predicting it can’t).

      • Casey

        I wish Ron Effing Swanson was my boss.

      • lalbright99@yahoo.com

        Im Ron F&%$’n Swanson

    • Penny

      I’ve always loved that Ron has a framed poster of breakfast food in this office.

    • Karen

      I love that Leslie knew he would love a bacon trail snack.

  • Penny

    “When I say Parks, you say Department!”
    “Parks!”
    Andy: “Apartment!”

    • Remy

      Loved!

    • elena

      Andy. Andy. I adore him. That was the best line!

    • LR

      so so so funny

  • Robin Sparkles

    “you’re more precious than Precious”

    ha!

  • Lizabeth

    Did anyone else notice that they weren’t trying to hide Amy’s pregnancy when she was wearing the red flannel shirt?

    • Penny

      It was very noticeable last week when she was wearing a button up dress shirt.

  • satcgirl

    What the line about Glamour vs. Vogue? I am a mag queen and someone pointed it out to me this morning and I totally missed it. Help?

    • Penny

      Not sure about glamour, but Leslie said the Summer Parks Catalog was like the September issue of Vogue except they don’t get Vogue in Pawnee.

      • satcgirl

        Ah, yes! I think that was it. Don’t know where I got the Glamour thing.

    • JAM

      There was a line about Maxim vs Good Housekeeping and Ann wasn’t sure which was supposed to be the insult.

    • Oxy

      There was another magazine comment that Tom said to Ann about being either GQ or some family magazine and she said she didn’t know which was the compliment.

  • deanne

    I love love love Parks and Rec. I think the fact that Leslie always sticks up for herself so refreshing. I think she’s a great role model. It’s also nice how she believes these silly schemes of hers will work and is genuinely surprised when they don’t. I also loved the line “Ya I’m a hunter, and it’s YOU season”

  • Yes

    This show has come so far in a year! The characters are great, though I do think losing Paul is not going to be an issue at all. Andy is now one of my favorite characters but it broke my heart when he cancelled the night out because of April only being 20. It may say more about him that he has more in common with someone a few years younger than himself. Though he’s probably only in his maybe late 20s.

  • Al

    The catalouge is at: http://www.pawneeindiana.com/

    My favourite is the Taekwond class.

    • Al

      Taekwondo.

    • Cee

      That catalog is one of the funniest things I have read in a long time. I was CRACKING up.

    • Karen

      I love the Sweetums ad! I want it on a tee shirt. I also love that a former Camp Athena girl brought a sharp metal object with her to self esteem camp.

    • Lorie

      ROFLMAO! Thanks for posting. Too bad Andy didn’t advertise his shoe shining biz in this catalog.

    • Vicky

      April’s bio on page 7 is fantastic!

    • JustMe

      Thanks for the link, that was GREAT!

    • laylagalise

      The “Get Digital” class and the book advertisement on the back were great!

  • lauren

    i love P&R. it is such a good show. i can’t get enough of it. each character is amazing. i use to like the office, but now it’s not funny anymore.i can’t stand to even watch it. i hope there are may more seasons of P&R.

  • harper

    Tom: What am I thinking in this photo?
    April: Why is my cup so tiny?

    (I’m paraphrasing, but that throw-away line made me laugh.)

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