If you've been wondering whatever happened to Ron’s new flame, Diane (Lucy Lawless), who we haven't seen since Halloween, take a deep breath: The ron-mance is back. Which is a good thing, since Ron has been under-utilized in the last few episodes. Parks and Recreation always shines a little brighter when Ron is front and center, story-wise. And much was revealed when Ron, Diane, and Leslie attended the Woodworking Awards, where Ron was nominated for “Best Chair.” The awards ceremony itself was a very funny, almost Christopher Guest-like lampoon of the Oscars—complete with an “in memoriam” section featuring those who'd passed paired with pictures of the coffins they made for themselves—and served as a great backdrop to some inspired lunacy.
This episode could also have been called “When Leslie Met Diane,” as it was the first time the two came face to face. And because Ron is an emotional cipher, Leslie had to grill Diane hard. Leslie eventually gave Ron the thumbs-up on his ladyfriend, which of course Ron said he didn’t need, but then gave us the weirdest under-stache smile EVER when she insisted. Ron and Leslie are such an interesting sitcom pair, non-romantic but still a sort of Sam and Diane a la Cheers—always sparring, but with an undercurrent of love and respect. Their relationship continues to be one of the most comically complex in the world of current half-hour TV.
But the sh*t hit the fan when, Ron’s ex-wife (or “sex”-wife) Tammy 2—played by the always insane and amazing Megan Mullally—arrived to throw a lathe in the works. (Yes, that was a woodworking joke.) Tammy 2 said she was there because she needed something “drilled,” but it was obvious that subterfuge was the only thing on her sexy sexy mind. And in a great running joke, Tammy 2 staged a killer Basic Instinct leg-uncross when Ron was took to the stage to accept his award. The pixilated crotch of Tammy 2 struck me as a great “going there” moment for a show that, as of late, has seemed to be pulling its punches, sticking with the sweet instead of the raunchy. And in a wonderful turn of events, it was revealed that Diane was not threatened by the hyper-sexaul Tammy 2; she was threatened by Leslie, who seemed to know everything intimate about Ron that Diane wanted to be let in on.
In true Leslie form, she took a bullet for a friend and distracted Tammy 2 in a very funny fight scene involving a dumpster, handcuffs, and a hatchet so that Ron could go after Diane. And in a very rare and satisfying Ron-emotional moment, he explained that while Leslie is an important friend, he “would rather visit Europe” than go on a date with her. Then he gave Diane the ultimate gift, revealing himself as his jazzy alter-ego Duke Silver and calling her his duchess.
And speaking of reveals, we got a BIG ONE in the B-story. April, Andy, Donna, and Tom, we found out, have their own version of New Girl's Douchebag Jar, putting in a dollar every time they say something mean to Jerry—which, as we know, happens all the freaking time. Then, at the end of the year, they all go out to dinner with the money... without Jerry, natch. But after reminiscing over all their favorite “Jerry moments” of the year, i.e. when Jerry ate a bowl of glue, or when April switched out Jerry’s soup for a bowl of glue and he didn’t notice, Donna had a change of heart and made them turn the car around to go pick up Jerry. But the Gergichs were busy hosting a holiday party, and the bullies hadn't been invited. As they peered through the window, looking like street urchins in a Dickens novel, the self-centered jerks saw the warm and inviting party they were shut out of, and in a bit of funny soul-searching, decide to give Jerry the money, saying it was for the hospital bill he racked up when he almost “farted himself to death.” A nice sweet/salty “holiday” touch. But the REVEAL...
Mrs. Gergich! Who was none other than super model and “uptown girl” Christie Brinkley. At first I thought this was just a bit of cheap stunt casting, but as soon as she opened her perfectly wrinkle-free mouth all sorts of funny came out. Brinkley delivered a really smart, Donna-Reed-'50s-era-sitcom-schmaltz turn and kinda hit it out of the park.
Ben and Chris also got some quality time in together in this episode—another great pairing we haven’t seen enough of this season. They work so well together as characters, and Chris’s lines landed both emotionally and comically with Ben as his foil/wingman. Chris’s emotional progress was put to the test when he ran into his ex-girlfriend, Jerry’s daughter Millicent (Sarah Wright), with her new beau, a hot young buck who Chris referred to as having “the chiseled jawline of a young me.” But Chris didn’t freak. He stayed in the moment, rejoicing in the happiness of others and showing some real growth.
1. Ann’s announcement that she's thinking about doing stand-up comedy was sorta brilliant right? Ann: “Hey April, Matlock called, he wants his cardigan back.” April: “Who’s Matlock?”
2. Donna’s, “Look at that gingerbread man... no, I mean the jacked-up light-skinned dude,” made me literally LOL. What lines from the episode made you do an egg-nog spit-take?
3. Could April faking having a baby to get inside Jerry’s party be a little foreshadowing? Wouldn’t it be great to see Andy and April be parents!?
4. What was your favorite “Jerry Moment” this year?