Powered by i.TV
July 24, 2014

Parks and Recreation: The Reporter

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 24th 2009 5:02PM
Paul Schneider as Mark Brendanawicz in (S01E03) I know I said last week's episode was titled "The Reporter." That's what the online sources had and it was supposed to be the second episode. Instead, the scheduled third episode "Canvassing" was bumped up and that's what we saw as episode number two. (Ed. note: I fixed the title on the previous post - Joel) This happens in TV land all the time, though it's odd to do it on a six episode series that has a sort of progression. Still, I should have been more vigilant and kept up with it. If I could just convince the upper brass at the networks to CC me on these kinds of decisions!

The only hint I got that these were aired out of order was early on this episode when Ann talks about how Leslie put together a committee in less than a week (which was in the first episode) and how this was her first experience with government. There was no mention of "last week" and the disastrous town hall meeting ... because technically it hasn't happened yet. Parks & Recreation time travel! I guess it's just too tempting for the suits to futz with the air order of new series.

Other than that, things were pretty self-contained. The story went about as well as you'd expect it to and Leslie was about as good an interview subject as you'd expect. What we did get out of it, though, was some more character development for Mark (Paul Schneider). We already knew that Leslie had a crush on her, but up to this point he's sort of come across as this pretty cool guy who's nice to her because he ... well he seems to kind of pity her.

But now we learn that he's also a bit of a douche, and pretty stupid in his own right. More to the point, he's incredibly self-absorbed. First, when tasked with trying to convince the reporter to write a nice piece, he proceeds to sleep with her. Then to prolong the lovemaking, he tells her to just come back to bed because that park is never, ever, ever, ever going to get made and he's stunned to find out she might used that in the story. Well, he can fix that, right?

You'd think so. He actually does a fine job and she even agrees to retract his comments and lighten the tone of the story, but she's doing so because they're romantically involved. Fine, sure, great, right? No, Mark can't have that. Sure they hooked up but he needed to make it very clear that he didn't see much beyond that. Because Mark can't see beyond his own ego, which Leslie is oblivious to because she's in love with him. I was pleased to see some more depth given to another member of the cast, even if it's not exactly quality depth.

We also got a strange Scrabble exchange that goes down between head honcho Ron and slacker Tom. At first Tom appears to be painfully awful at Scrabble, losing to Ron every time. Ron ribs him pretty hard for it. Later, we find out that Tom is intentionally losing to the boss, but since he doesn't care about the job or much of anything, why does he care about Ron's ego?

In the end it turns out that Ron knows Tom's letting him win and he puts up with it because Tom with no ambition, drive, social skills or capabilities whatsoever is exactly the kind of government employee Ron is looking for. Dear god is Tom in trouble if anyone else ever shows up to oversee things.

I'm starting to like a few of these characters a little bit, though I'm not really connecting with Leslie herself. I don't mind idiots as main characters, as I think it can work quite well, there's just something about her that's not clicking with me the right way. Tom, Ron, Mark, Ann, Andy and even April are bringing more to the show right now than she is. But maybe that's the point. Surround yourself with greatness (we'll see if they can achieve that level) and you become better by association?

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

8 Comments

Filter by:
Jimmy

I assume the Scrabble was a paid product placement. It it inferior to Lexulous (the former Scrabulous)...

April 26 2009 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
superrrguy

This show has inspired me to turn a park in my neighborhood into a pit.

April 25 2009 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GerryofNorVA

Stopped watching, too much like "The Office", and Amy P just isn't cutting it as the lead, this show just isn't pulling me to it, sorry.

April 25 2009 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robin Diane Goldstein

well, to offer an opposing view, i'm liking the show a bit less each week and actually bailed on this weeks episode, exercising my TiVo's FF button so much i think i may not even schedule its recording next week.

the problem i see (and yes, i realize nobody asked me my opinion! -grin-) is that The Office is an abstraction of the things that take place in an actual office and 30 Rock is an abstraction of the things that take place behind the scenes of a weekly comedy/variety show, but P&R isn't an abstraction of anything in particular... its just a collection of 'wacky' characters, and we, the viewers, are suppose to find a way to tie them all together (yes, the conceit is they work in a P&R dept and there's a pit and yadda yadda yadda), but that's an artifice, as compared to either The Office's conceit or 30 Rock's.

best show are story then stars... i fear P&R got 'greenlit' the other way round.

cheers!
robin

April 24 2009 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robin Diane Goldstein's comment
Argus

This.

April 25 2009 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LRM

I'm liking the show a bit more each week but it needs to make Leslie a bit less like Michael Scott. I don't like Tom. I didn't like his stint in Scrubs and I think the schtick is just kinda boring. I love Rashida Jones and her boyfriend is pretty funny.

April 24 2009 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Johnny

Calling Tom a slacker is a bit oversimplifying. He doesn't care about working hard, but he does care about moving up in the world. Just not enough to, you know, avoid short cuts.

April 24 2009 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan

I have no idea how someone can actually believe that there are other characters that shine more than Leslie. She carries the show with both hands and her back.

April 24 2009 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners