Parks and Recreation "How a Bill Becomes a Law" Review: A Little Help from Leslie's Frizz-ends...

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Parks and Recreation S05E03: “How a Bill Becomes a Law”

If Pawnee is a microcosm for our country, then Leslie be its patriot, the one who always does what is right. Who lives and breathes to serve her constituents. But this week, Leslie realized that sometimes to get what you want, you have to compromise and even shake hands with the devil, or a dentist. Or walk down the hall to use the bathroom. As Leslie’s mine-laden journey into the murky inner workings of Pawnee politics continued, we saw her idealism become frazzled, even a bit frizzy, but she did what she had to do to get the job done. Leslie was not above a little self-sacrifice if it meant the greater good would be achieved. But others were sacrificed, too (more on that later).

When Chris started seeing a therapist (which I hope we get to see at some point!) he turned over a leaf, he admitted that he could not go it alone. Perfection may be his goal, but it will not be achieved in a vacuum. And when he delved into himself, he found not only some clarity, but also new ways to govern! Enter the 3-1-1 line: a direct line for Pawnee's citizens to call in and find help. Ron, Donna, and Jerry did their best fielding calls, sort of. But this being government, the bureaucracy actually worked against the people, until Ron decided to cut out the middle man and solve one problem himself, a pothole. Because Ron is a man, and that is what men do, they fix holes.

But when Ron and Andy went to do the job, Ron met a woman, Diane (Lucy Lawless), who might just be the next Tammy. Ron is a pillar of steel. It seems nothing can shake him. He has always professed to need no help with anything. But maybe, it was his time to have a partner in crime. Ron just might need to date the female version of himself, if he is ever to find love. And Xena just may be the ticket.

But like the ancient proverb said: “You can’t just get half a perm.” No, I’m sure Confucius or Dylan or somebody important once said that. Anyway, when Leslie decided to celebrate her first big councilwoman win, prematurely, with a perm, she got derailed by the rogue dentist councilman who wanted to kill her bill. So half permed, but with a full head of steam, she did what any politician would do: Displaced her own moral center in order to sway an old racist perv’s vote. Go democracy!

If last week’s episode, "Soda Tax," felt like a true return to silly form, "How a Bill Becomes a Law" seemed to stray from the silly a bit too much. Although I always enjoy everyone’s antics, this was the weakest episode of the new season thus far. I still think it is because the show has fractured what works, i.e.: April and Andy. You need the sweet with the sour. I miss them together. I feel like a broken record for saying it again, but there it is. Parks and Rec works best when all the characters cross paths frenetically. Having April and Ben stuck in a car for the whole episode seemed forced. As if the writers have no idea how to get them back in the mix.

But if anything, we can always walk away from this show with a little lesson learned, like it's some cracked version of one of Aesop’s fables. This week we learned that sometimes we have to look outside ourselves for help. That we can’t do everything alone and sometimes, asking for help can be our strongest choice.


Talking Points


– Where the heck was Ann Perkins this week? Did you miss her?

– Do you think Ron will ask Diane to change her name to Tammy?

– Who else misses Andy and April sharing the screen?

– Perm or no perm for Leslie?

– Was it just me or did Joan Calleamezzo look particularly cuckoo?

Parks and Rec "How a Bill Becomes a Law" Photos

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