'Parks and Recreation' Season 3, Episode 5 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Feb 18th 2011 12:00AM
['Parks and Recreation' - 'Media Blitz']
Tonight we got to know Ben Wyatt a little bit more, and we're all better for it.
Why? Because Adam Scott is starting to become known for his exasperated, understated style of being funny. He's almost like a current-generation Bob Newhart, stammering and eye-rolling his way through scenes, only having to swing hard if needed. Scott is becoming one of those actors who can just give someone a look and it conveys everything you need to know about what his character is thinking.
So we knew Ben was the kid mayor who blew the budget of his Minnesota town on an ice theme park. But we didn't know that he occasionally had gay thoughts, and that he became mayor right after his high school girlfriend dumped him ... or that he has a scar on his hip.
Tonight's episode wasn't as good as 'Ron & Tammy II,' but that episode set a pretty high bar. We had some moments that dragged a bit as Leslie tried to go around promoting the Harvest Festival at Pawnee's various media outlets. But once Ben's flop-sweat over his days as the boy mayor kicked in, the episode shifted into another comedic gear.
What dragged? For one, the Crazy Ira and the Douche scene. It's great to see Matt Besser and Nick Kroll try to make fun of every radio market's "wacky" morning team, but the problem with the scene is that all the silly sound effects, lame one-liners and fart noises would be funny if those shows didn't sound all that different from what Ira and the Douche were doing. It's hard to parody something that's already a parody of itself.
Though that scene gave us one of my favorite lines of the night, from Tom: "You embarrassed me in front of The Douche!"
You could feel Ben's discomfort at talking about his mayoralty. "The funny ... when ... I guess ... the fortunate ... can we just ... sort of ..." Oh, haven't we all been there when confronted by an embarrassing episode from our past? His breakdown on the Perd Hapley show ("Why don't we just call you Turd Crapley?") was even better.
On other fronts ... good to see April finally warm up to Andy again. She was way too tough on him, and her general sullenness made things even worse for hm. As much as Ron wants to think he's helping Andy out because he doesn't want April to move to Indianapolis to work for Chris ("I would never be able to find a worse assistant"), his talk with April about reeling in the fish or cutting him loose shows that he cares about both of them. We know Ron has that side of him because of his Duke Silver alter ego. Why can't he just embrace it?
More fun stuff:
-- The Ann/Chris story isn't something I want to talk much about. I'm not liking how wimpy Ann is being written right now. She seems to like Chris so much that she's willing to dump her entire life in Pawnee and move to Indianapolis. To see her being led around by the nose by Chris is kinda sad. Rashida Jones is better than this, 'P&R' writers!
-- "But if he wants to take my dumb sister to her dumb dance class, then I'm going to dumb stop him" is what April said about Andy's offer to do everything she hates for a month.
-- Wouldn't it be funnier to have April's sister be more happy-go-lucky than just be a younger version of April? Though Natalie does have a sadistic streak, considering she got Andy "arrested" and all. His license being "crazy expired" was the least of his problems after Natalie got the security guard.
-- After Ben's lame retort to Tom that his suit looked like garbage, we got my second favorite line of the night. "Oh really? Because Brooks Brothers Boys doesn't make garbage."
-- What happens when you buy a typewriter when you have nothing to type? You just end up typing all the words you know, including "butthole." Loved the fact that Ron said he got a new ribbon from "Electronic Bay dot com."
-- Leslie had a tough time describing her relationship with Ben to Shawna the reporter, didn't she? At one point, she called them "colleagues with benefits." Hope no one I interview ends our talk the way Leslie did: "As always, everything I said is off the record."
-- For once, Jerry wasn't singled out by anyone at the office. But when he's not being unfairly accused, he doesn't put his best foot forward ... literally. "I've got a corn so big you can butter it." Ewww.
'Parks and Recreation' airs Thursdays at 9:30PM ET on NBC.
Follow @joelkeller on Twitter and on Facebook.
Watch the full episode here: