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October 7, 2015

'Parks and Recreation' Season 3, Episodes 13 and 14 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted May 13th 2011 1:00AM
'Parks and Recreation' - 'Road Trip['Parks and Recreation' - 'The Fight' / 'Road Trip']

You've just got to love it when a network starts doubling up on episodes of your favorite show in order to cram them all in by the official end of the season. In one respect, it's great: bonus show! But in another respect, it stinks: You can't let an episode stand on its own and let it linger on the brain for a week until the next one comes. You remember jokes and funny lines less. It makes it harder to watch as a fan, and harder for a critic to review.

This week and next, fans of 'Parks and Rec' are going to get an hour's worth of their favorite gang. And, while next week's hour is a bit more cohesive in story, this week's hour is just two separate episodes, with the second one being a bit more memorable than the first.

But before we dive in, I want to find out what Tom's recipe is for Snake Juice. I've got to say, if it makes even Ron Swanson dance around with a little hat on, then that stuff's got to be potent.'The Fight' was essentially a case of "How silly would the Parks Department gang look if they were almost falling-down drunk?" The verdict? Pretty funny. Acting drunk is tough because it's so easy to sound like a sad hobo in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. But everyone did a nice job, especially the usually buttoned-down Adam Scott as Ben. When we saw the montage of what the Snake Juice did to everyone, the funniest one was Ben, who just stood there, blurted out a "Baba Booey" and laughed hysterically. Howard Stern would be proud.

'Parks and Recreation' - 'The Fight'Most of the heavy lifting in the episode was by Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones, whose characters fought for the first time ever; Leslie was frustrated that Ann was dating guys like The Douche of 'Crazy Ira & The Douche' fame (great to see Nick Kroll back and pretty douchey) and blowing off the health department interview she got her, and Ann was annoyed that Leslie won't do the deed with Ben.

Really, the fight was extended and fueled by that "rat poison" Snake Juice -- or as a drunk Leslie called it, "Snork Juice" -- and, in between blinding headaches and profuse vomiting, Ben, Leslie and Ann all came to some realizations about each other, and Leslie got the job. It's a good way for the writers to integrate Ann into the crew more; she seemed adrift this season, and I kind of wish they did this sooner.

The other story involved Chris snuffing out Tom's business ambitions because Tom was trying to leverage his work contacts for the Snakehole Lounge and his other business ideas -- baby tuxedos and a bar open one night of the year that charges a $5,000 cover charge were my favorites. In our first example of The Power of the Mustache, Ron went to bat for Tom, telling Chris that all Tom was trying to do was "wean himself from the government teat."

More fun stuff from 'The Fight':
-- Jean-Ralphio is a character that generally irritates me, but his raps that went one syllable too far were pretty funny.

-- I haven't said much about Andy and April's role playing at the Snakehole, but it doesn't feel much different than their antics from the last time they were at the Snakehole. Though I loved April's fake aristocratic accent as "Janet Snakehole."

-- Though Chris can enjoy the occasional beer, he knows his limits. "I think an ounce of that would literally kill me," he says about Snake Juice.

-- "Jean-Ralphio! Dance up on me!"

-- Anyone with a hangover can attest that greasy protein is the way to go, which is why Ron was A-OK after guzzling the Snake Juice, because he eats animal products.

'Road Trip' was the more significant of the two episodes, if only because Ben and Leslie finally made their move, despite all the obstacles and everything that was in their way. Leslie sure as hell tried to keep things platonic on her road trip to Indianapolis with Ben -- banjo music, discussions of the dorms at John's Hopkins University, whale sounds -- but Ann was sneaky with her iTunes skills, wasn't she?

As the two of them got closer and closer to getting together, some of the obstacles thrown in their way, like Chris coming down to Indy to congratulate them on getting the Little League tourney, were getting infuriating. But at the very least Ben told her how he felt -- he loves talking to the town, and the town "has pretty blond hair" -- and Ben had the stones to grab Leslie and plant one on her when no one was around. "Uh oh" is right.

The other two parts of the episode were a mixed bag; the "Know Ya Boo" part of the episode was essentially a way to throw in some April/Andy angst into the mix. At least it gave us a chance to see April playing Andy's song about living in the pit, as well as a chance to see April force herself to get advice from Ann. "Sorry, my instinct is to be mean," she tells her after a reflexive insult.

But the third story was classic Ron Swanson, and the second example of The Power of The Mustache. Only Ron would tell a 9-year-old girl interested in a civics lesson about how the government is a "greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer's teat until they have sore, chapped nipples." At least he realized he couldn't use that metaphor with the kid. He eats her lunch to demonstrates the concept of taxes, then gives her a landmine as a gift, so she can protect her property. Of course, he relented after getting pressure from the girl's mom, but it made me smile that Ron could actually be a parent if he didn't think that they were just a burden on society.

More fun stuff from 'Road Trip:'
-- Of course Chris would have read the New Yorker story on the history of the ladder, and groove on the banjo.

-- Ben on the banjo: "I never thought it could be this loud."

-- Leslie was so prepared to be unsexy during the trip she wrote out a script for Ann to say, as Leslie, in case Leslie buckles (or, as she called it, "Code Ben").

-- Listen to Neutral Milk Hotel and you can see why April -- and Audrey Plaza -- would like them.

-- Donna and Jerry have been working together for way too long; they knew each other better than most married couples do. He even knows she would want to "smush her boo" in her Benz, but then again she likes doing everything in her Benz.

'Parks and Recreation' airs Thursdays at 9:30PM on NBC.

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Ignacio Velásquez

I have not seen anything funnier than Ron's drunken dance. LITERALLY.

May 19 2011 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would not be surprised, if "Know Your Boo" will actually get produced as a real show.

May 14 2011 at 6:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked the first episode much more than the second, but they were still both fantastic.

May 13 2011 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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