Thursday, March 04, 2010

Parks and Recreation, "Woman of the Year": Lady bicker

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I attend a shocking number of WNBA games...
"The IOW is a bunch of sexist jerks who need to get back in the kitchen where they belong and leave the feminist work to actual feminists like Ron Swanson!... Ohmigod, what is happening?" -Leslie
"Woman of the Year" does something very smart early on, in letting Ron tell the audience that he's just messing with Leslie because he knows he can, and that he knows how obviously she deserves this award over him. By letting us know that Ron's coming from a (mostly) good-hearted place, it makes it okay to laugh at him pretending to be a jerk and a sexist dipwad ("the Dorothy Everytime Smurf girl trophy for excellence in female stuff"), and also to see the lengths to which he'll go (paying for his own portrait) to bust Leslie's chops. It's a clever have-your-cake-and-eat-it conceit: Ron behaving like an ass out of love, because what greater tribute could Ron F'ing Swanson pay to a friend then to play a prank on them before complimenting their work?

They also didn't drag the story out too long, with Ron fessing up halfway through and then the story shifting into a more satiric gear as Ron and Leslie struggled to deal with a women's group determined to give their award to "the opposite of a woman" (aka "a mustachioed, masculine man") for the PR value. It was another fun, sweet two-hander for Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. And if Leslie and Ron like and respect each other too much for their pairing to be as balls-out funny as some other "Parks & Rec" combos, the duo click so well together that I enjoy watching even when the laughs aren't as big as the breakfast buffet at the Glitter Factory.

The supporting cast (other than Ann, presumably absent for budgetary reasons) all had their moments as well. Andy announced that Mouse Rat had changed its name to Tackle Shaft (which has both a K sound and an over-the-top sexual connotation, but still may not be quite as funny a combination of words as Mouse Rat) and got to make April fall even more deeply in love with him by selflessly giving up his savings to help Tom buy part of a share at the new Pawnee club. Tom in turn got to get his d-bag on - and then surround himself with the spectacularly douchey return of Ben Schwartz as Jean Ralphio (last seen auditioning to be Ron's secretary). There were also small grace notes for Jerry (whose protestations about seizures were ignored), Donna (who understandably hated Jean Ralphio, then bought three club shares on her own) and Mark (whom Tom mocked for being boring, but who was revealed to have a history with one of the dancers Tom hired).

What did everybody else think? And when is NBC (which markets every single item of every other one of its shows) going to release a Mouse Rat/Tackle Shaft/Scarecrow Boat CD?

26 comments:

Duke Silver said...

Was that Dean from "Weeds"? Great episode.

Zach said...

Pretty good ep, though not as funny as Community.

The Andy/April situation moved along nicely this week, but I'm curious to see how long Andy stays oblivious to April's feelings.

Personally still reeling about the fact they got Adam Scott for the end of this season and all of next season. Gonna be interesting to see how that storyline plays out

Ryan said...

Another hilarious episode of one of the funniest shows on TV. As good as Nick Offerman is as Ron Swanson, I think Aziz Ansari (Tom Haverford) makes this show for me. He is tremendous. And I still can't believe how much more likeable Leslie is compared to a rough first season.

Also, I think everybody is waiting to see how this Andy/April thing turns out. I hope they throw us a bone before the season ends.

Stephen said...

Did not know about Adam Scott signing on to the show. I think he will be a great addition but does this mean only two seasons of Party Down. Hopefully he can be on both.

Judd said...

thought your jump would be 'just as soon as I seal this devil's threeway."

Parks and Rec is easily the best show on Thursday, and so glad to hear Adam Scott is joining the cast. although it does make me worried for Party Down.

Visceralist said...

Alan, I'm assuming you saw that Adam Scott would be joining Parks & Rec this season and becoming a regular next season, thus apparently leaving season 3 of Party Down in the wind. Thoughts?

Andrew said...

Hard to follow such ridiculous funny as Community tonight, but very solid episode.

Love the Adam Scott appearance, definite comic gold waiting with his talent. Gotta say though, more and more it seems like the writers are having a hard time figuring out what to do with Tom and Mark. Mark seems to have taken a back seat this year and Tom's one note persona kinda put's Aziz's talent to waste a little. Hope we see those characters fleshed out this season.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Jean-Ralphio is supposed to be a creep, but if I never see his ridiculous hair again, it will be too soon.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

This episode brought both the funny and the heartwarming (Andy's generosity and Ron's...everything he did).

I loved the awkward moment when Leslie tried to re-award Ron after he tried to give it to her (Amy Poehler did an amazing "awards show presenter" voice).

This was by far my favorite ep for Leslie and Ron's friendship.

And I think this show is doing a great job with the supporting characters, slowly letting us get to know them and we always leave wanting more...like early The Office where there'd be little tidbits revealed as in the desert island game.
This was Donna's breakout episode for me.

Also the cold open with the boys and girls soccer teams was a great setup for the "women's issues" topic. And loved how it paid off with the coach coming back and Leslie sending him to Ron.

Alan Forkosh said...

Strange the Grey's Anatomy also had a plot concerning side effects of awards. It's Oscars week, right?

Miken said...

I finally got a jump line right! I had to pause and rewind the WNBA line. It works on it's own, and even better when you remember Ron has ALWAYS had a thing for strong women. Didn't he say he loved Cheryl Swoops?

Miken said...

...I meant in a previous episode. I think he's referenced the WNBA a few times now.

belinda said...

Agree with Zach, solid episode, but Community took the award of best thursday comedy of the night. But not too shabby at all!

Tom's presentation was hilarious. And I love that Donna was actually impressed by it (though not enough to want to team up with Tom's friend) AND had a larger nicer VIP table. I guess this is somewhat of a Donna breakout episode!

I do hope Andy's band goes back to being Mouse Rat. It really is the best name ever.

I also love Leslie just grabbing Mark's phone to talk to Anne.

I was actually a little disappointed with the Leslie and Ron story - it was funny, but pretty expected otherwise, given how we already have this established friendship of mutual respect before - but when Ron hired a photographer to tease Leslie, for me that's when it came together for me.

Chalmers said...

Ron loves strong women like "Your Steffi Grafs, your Sheryl Swoopeses."

Watching Canadian curler Cheryl Bernard shout "Hard" in the Olympics, I couldn't help but think that she's right in Ron Swanson's wheelhouse.

Matt W said...

Ron's comment of "the Dorothy Everytime Smurf girl trophy for excellence in female stuff" (which you thankfully included in your post) had me in stitches.

I love Ron F'ing Swanson.

par3182 said...

best bit? waiting for donna's reaction to jean ralphio's sweet talkin'

Chazz Goodtimes said...

Enjoyable episode- I especially liked Ron's tormenting of Lesley over the reward and the eventual resolution with both of them at the podium.

That said- this episode highlighted why I'm so confused when people consider this a better comedy than Community. P&R basically has four straight characters (Ann, Mark, Donna, Jerry) and five funny characters (Leslie, Ron, Tom, Andy, and April). In a 23 minute episode- there are just not enough laughs with all the time devoted to characters that just aren't funny- and Ann wasn't even in last night's episode). Community on the other hand has a similar sized cast but each character is capable of delivering the comedy.

While I think both shows are outstripping 30 Rock and the Office, the latter of the two I find almost unwatchable, I think Community is hands down the Thursday night winner.

josephine said...

I loved Ron's comments about how meaningless awards are, especially with the Academy Awards coming up.

tribalism said...

I would take any opportunity to hit up a place called Club-A-Dub-Dub. I really love the April-Andy dynamic, but I'm not so sure it would still be as funny if he possessed any awareness of her liking for him. Favourite line came right in the teaser when they were talking about soccer:

"Every child has the right to play, no matter how boring the sport."

More thoughts on this episode are available on my blog where I go into detail about why Leslie and Ron have the perfect office dynamic. Click my username or follow the url below for a link:

http://wordbribery.com/parks-recreation-woman-year/

Anonymous said...

Loved Tom's sidekick - he's such an awesome douche that he's got to be the same poster that keeps asking others to check out his blog where he REALLY unlocks every episode. Alan's just too nice to delete his posts.

Oaktown Girl said...

I gotta say, I love that band name "Tackle Shaft". Those two words have the right "band name" sound, and it makes me laugh every time. Plus, Andy's so cute when he says it, how can it not make you smile?

Anonymous said...

I could have sworn that was the "Literal Doctor" from Arrested Development as the girls' soccer coach, but imdb is not backing me up as of now.

Tyroc said...

Still not getting why people love the show as much as they do. I like it fine, but find it soft (lots of smiling but not a lot of laughing at jokes.) Maybe it's because I like the supporting cast so much more than the leads. Amy Poehler is kinda boring for me. Nick Offerman okay too but I don't see what's so hilarious about the character. But I find the others so much funnier. I wish those two and Paul Schneider would take off. And Rashida Jones could take the lead.

Nice to see Community got picked up for another season, in any case.

Anonymous said...

LOVE Andy! He's so innocently simple. Donna totally had it right, "You're fine, but you're simple."
Jean-Ralphio. Ugh. Hate his hair. I love to hate his hair. ...I wish he'd come around more.
Ron is hilarious! Haha his face is so ridiculous. I love it.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 5:55

Yes, the soccer coach is the same as the literal doctor from Arrested Development (Ian Roberts from Upright Citizens Brigade, which Poehler is also in).

Great episode. I keep telling friends that P&R is killing it this season and they have to watch it.