I finally got to watch last night's "Parks and Recreation" late tonight. A few quick thoughts coming up just as soon as I watch "Swimfan"...
The big winner of the night was the C-story about Ron needing an assistant, and getting the perfect one in April. Not only does it provide an excuse for why April the "intern" is still hanging around, but it guarantees many more scenes between the delightfully low-wattage pairing of Aubrey Plaza and Nick Offerman - and it further progresses the very charming April/Andy flirtation. And Tom's search for an assistant who would be the exact opposite of what Ron wanted was a lot of fun.
The Ann/Mark story suffered from leaving the two largely on their own, which is tough to pull off when they're the show's two straight men characters. We know from "Practice Date" that Ann can be funny, and they gave Rashida Jones a couple of nice beats to play with the character's absent-mindedness (hanging onto the blood vial, giving Leslie the prescription), but the stars have to be aligned right for her to get laughs. And Mark exists on the show almost entirely to provide a voice of sanity when Leslie or Tom or someone else gets too crazy. Not surprisingly, that subplot's best scene was when Andy confronted Ann about her Justin love, and for a split-second tricked her into talking like she was still in a relationship with him.
As for Leslie's plunge back into the dating pool, I thought "The Set Up" went 1-for-2. Justin Theroux was both very charming as Leslie's ultimate date (and Ann's ultimate man), and also did a nice job with the talking head about Fire In A Can. Will Arnett, on the other hand, didn't quite fit into the show's low-key, naturalistic vibe. He was toned down from the way he plays GOB Bluth or Devon Banks, but there was still something off about him - and more than the script was suggesting. Still, we saw in last year's "Rock Show" finale and then again in "Practice Date" that Leslie's horrible romantic history is a rich vein to be mined by the writers and Amy Poehler (here playing opposite her real-life husband), and if I didn't love Arnett, I liked watching Leslie slowly realize what a bad idea this whole date was.
Overall, a very solid episode. If I were less tired by the time I watched it, I suspect my estimation would be even higher. (Comes a point in press tour in general, and at the end of a press tour day, where comedy starts to be wasted on me, but this still made me laugh a bunch.)
What did everybody else think?