Another terrific "Parks and Recreation" last night, and if you haven't yet seen the "Return of the Jedi"/"Parks & Rec" opening titles mash-up, you simply must. You will never be able to get the song out of your head, but it will be worth it; trust me.
A review of "The Possum" coming up just as soon as I tell a man he can't fart in his own car...
"The Possum" was "Parks & Rec" clicking on all levels: broad physical comedy (various bits with the possum), political satire (the possum case turning into a death penalty allegory), romantic tension (April falling even more for Andy, and Leslie finding out), and just the characters being themselves, whether it was Leslie practically shaking at the thought of being on a mayoral task force, Tom decking himself out in golf clothes or another vintage Ron F'ing Swanson diatribe about the evils of government.
I loved virtually every beat of the possum story, from small things like the Animal Control burn-outs playing "Stop hanging yourself!" to Andy bluntly recalling Shauna Malwae-Tweep's dalliance with Mark to Leslie and April hiding from the possum in Ann's bed. (And, of course, Leslie blurting out the truth to Ann and telling April to run for it.) It was a nice case of Leslie's ambition(*) coming into conflict with her strong morals, and Amy Poehler was again wonderful at getting laughs out of playing Leslie's internal struggle. She's also great at being completely deadpan while delivering lines like "Mr. Campo-Piano, those are photos of three different possums," and at getting frantic while listing all the "can't"s in her life right now ("can't make a good soup, can't do a handstand in a pool, can't spell the word 'lieutenant'").
(*) One issue I have, though, with Leslie's dreams: she thinks she'll one day be president, but she's in her mid-30s at least, and she's still an unelected civil servant in a small Indiana town. The character has evolved past the occasionally-delusional version we saw in season one, so she should know that every day that passes without her running for some kind of elected office to use as a stepping stone to another job, and another, and another, the more remote her dream is becoming. And she wasn't even planning to use the mayor's favor to help run for something, but to help get the pit/lot park finished.That becomes one of those status quo balancing acts a lot of shows have to deal with: you don't want to take Leslie out of the parks department (and away from Ron, April, Jerry and company), but her career complacency becomes hard to justify every time she talks about wanting to be the president - and to wear "a huge beautiful blue hat."
I'm also still really grooving on the Andy/April tensions, which works because Andy is both so oblivious (which we knew last season) and so sweet (which we've learned since Ann rightfully kicked him to the curb), and because April is so guarded and cynical that she's not the type to just come out and tell Andy how she feels. (And Leslie only found out because April was panicking about Fairway Frank.) There are some shows that feel like they're just dragging out the romantic tension because they can, but I completely buy that these two wouldn't be capable of making a move yet, and am enjoying them inch ever so slowly towards each other.
As for Ron Swanson, libertarian and building code violator? Well, aside from being another amusing play on Nick Offerman's own love of wood-work, it was an amusing reminder of the limits of Ron's competence and political philosophy, and the first good Mark story in a while. He was still largely the straight man, but placing him in that death trap of a wood shop to point out all the wrong things about it (the oily rags over the burning fire was my favorite) was a reminder that being the sane man in an insane situation can be a funny thing on its own.
Jabba the Hutt... Jabba the Hutt... Jabba the Hutt...
...sorry. It's catchy. Anyway, what did everybody else think?