Friday, October 23, 2009

Parks and Recreation, "KaBoom!": KaMake My KaPit a KaPark

Spoilers for last night's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I put on an apron...

I'm of two minds about "KaBoom!"

On the one hand, it had an awful lot of very funny moments - Ron asking Leslie "What the ka(bleep) were you thinking?" or Andy showing up naked at Ann's house (and the black dot migrating depending on his position, "Borat"-style) - and it moved the park subplot along significantly.

On the other, certain scenes - Andy getting dumped on by the backhoe, or the Pawnee city attorney (played by the always-reliable H. Jon Benjamin) cautioning Leslie about what she could say to Andy, or the revelation that the KaBoom! guy (played by Aziz Ansari's "Human Giant" buddy Paul Scheer) is an eccentric who likes to play elaborate pranks with pro-social consequences - while funny, felt very much like they belonged in a different kind of show. Specifically, they felt like something out of "Arrested Development."

Now, I worship "Arrested Development" as much as the next TV critic, and ordinarily I wouldn't object to a show striving to achieve that level of lunacy, particularly when it was as amusingly-executed as here. But Greg Daniels, Mike Schur and company have established a baseline tone and level of reality for this show, and it's worked really well at that level this season. And I don't want to see "Parks and Rec" suddenly get all wacky, right when they figured out that the series, and its lead character, work best on a more realistic, mundane scale.

Again, a good episode. I just don't think I want to see many more like it.

What did everybody else think?

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Last week's episode was much much further away from this "baseline level of reality" that you speak of.

Joe said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one to make the Arrested Development connection - this felt more like an episode of prime AD than any show since its cancellation, including 30 Rock.

I thought it was great - I didn't think anything in this episode was more out there than the gay penguins or the Venezuelans. There's enough straight men in the cast to keep things firmly tethered to reality, in my opinion. I didn't think Andy getting dumped on was even that far out there - I'm sure far stranger things have happened in municipal development.

Also, the Pawnee lawyer was played by H. Jon Benjamin, the insanely-talented comedy writer and voice actor behind Ben in Dr. Katz and Coach McGuirk in Home Movies.

Art McGregor said...

Thought the Ron Swanson "go ka(bleep) ..." was the second funniest bit of the night, behind only Creed's tears on "The Office."

Look forward to the day when Ron Swanson finds his way onto the blog's logo.

Mel said...

I was sure your "As soon as I..." comment was going to include a reference to Leslie's shopping list. At my house, we were talking about a bucket of cake all night!

LA said...

Leslie's credit card purchases and especially Tom's reactions to them were epic.

Greg said...

While I share your concerns a bit, I still found this episode to be very funny and had no problems with Andy getting dumped on - that was a hilarious moment.

Hoosier Paul said...

Last year, KaBoom had a playground build in my city. And I can testify that this show clearly did its research (for example, KaBoom does insist on having loud music playing to pump up the volunteers). The playground-build scenes were hilariously accurate, especially in regards to the over-the-top, hey-ra-let's-get-this-done, is-KaBoom-awesome-or-WHAT??? enthusiasm of the build captain.

Otto Man said...

Look forward to the day when Ron Swanson finds his way onto the blog's logo

Speaking of which, the current theme is what?

amyp3 said...

My comments just as soon as my man-pillow and I finish our bucket of cake.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Fair point about the visiting Venezuelans as also not being that realistic. It's just a very fine line, and I guess Fred Armisen and maybe Andy getting dumped on by the backhoe fall on the right side of it, and the lawyer and the do-gooder prankster fall on the wrong (but still funny) side.

Ryan said...

Also happy to see a brief appearance by Chris Tallman as Andy's lawyer. It brought back fond "Crossballs" memories.

LA said...

Otto Man - Girls of Freaks and Geeks, grown up.

Anonymous said...

Arrested Development was great show but I'm so tired of every comedy being compared to it.

Hoosier Paul said...

I just realized my last post might come off as being critical of KaBoom, so I just wanted to clarify: they were awesome. Loud music, over-enthusiasm and all. And it's true: they really did rally the community to build an extraordinary playground in just one day.

Anonymous said...

I get what you're saying, but I still thought the lawyer stuff was funny. And really anything that gets Jon Benjamin some work is something I'm in favor of.

Anonymous said...

This had one of my favorite TV lines in a long, long time. Ann in the hospital, saying "Andy, that's not a toy." and Andy quickly retorting, "Anything's a toy if you can play with it." That's a philosophy I'm going to apply to my life from now on.

Anonymous said...

I will agree that last week's Fred Armisen stuff and this week's stuff with the Kaboom guy were both awkwardly out of place for this show, but I don't understand the lawyer storyline put in that category. Seemed pretty believable to me. Perhaps it was played up in a more AD style, but I thought it worked with this show and this fictional world.
That tag at the end last night was embarrassing though. That guy rubs me the wrong way anyway... I thought he was trying too hard here and in that 30 Rock page-off storyline a year or two back.

Anthony Strand said...

Personally, I'm glad to see the show getting away from The Office's reality. They aren't the same show, and I don't think they need to be. I've enjoyed some of the more out-there bits. As long as they don't get excessive, they're a positive addition to the show.

Patrick Wynne said...

The closing tag just didn't work for me. It too blatantly broke the central "this is a documentary" conceit of the show. I'm fine with small violations if they're funny but this was a) too much and b) not funny. I especially found it weird when I learned after the show that KaBOOM! is a real organization. So, are they implying that in the context of the show it's not? Why not use a made-up organization with a similar mission to the real one if they intended to reveal the guy was a fake? Too confusing.

The rest of the episode I thought was great, however. I'm a little sad to see the pit gone but I look forward to where the show goes from here.

blinky said...

Amy Poehler is awful, Awful, AWFUL. Make her go away!

LA said...

Parks got a full season pick-up today! Woohoo!

Rob said...

funniest episode they've done so far. Paul Scheer was great and so was Poehler. Made me laugh start to finish, which is all I'm looking for in a comedy.

Time to Pay the Price said...

H. Jon as the lawyer was great. Hopefully he'll become a recurring character. There should be plenty of occasions for the city lawyer to turn up on this show.