Boom! That was the sound of Parks and Recreation killing it this week. All three storylines were smart, funny, and relatable—the satire sang, and I was listening. Season 5 is getting all topical, yo, and I for one am lovin’ it: electronics addiction, the hypocrisy of abstinence-only policies, robot politicians—these are things I care about! But it is always a balancing act for a show about politics to try not to stray too far one way or the other, i.e. Democrat or Republican. Since you do have to sell the show to more than half of our politically divided country (Obama and Romney are tied 50/50!). It seems this year that Leslie is staking herself squarely on the liberal side of the fence, but in the most logical of ways. She always follows the law, until it is obvious that the law is either not logical or it's detrimental to her constituency.
This week, Leslie, Ann, Andy, and Donna tackled sex education... for seniors! It turned out people over the age of 65 were getting it on a lot in Pawnee, but not safely, so Leslie launched a campaign to get her elders' private parts all healthy again. But right in the middle of a condom demonstration (Donna about to put one on a pineapple top, saying: “And if you ever find yourself in this situation...”), Pawnee’s provocateurs of Puritanism, Marlene and Marshall Langman, barged in and invoked Pawnee’s “abstinence only” policy. What’s a City Councilwoman to do when you've got the AARP crowd sporting STDs? These folks ain’t waiting until marriage, there’s no time! Leslie did what she always does, stuck to her guns, and fought the power. This is why we love her. But in the meantime, we had the pleasure of watching our favorite Pawnee-ans talk about S-E-X. And things are always more fun when Perd Hapley is on the story; I’m a total “perd-vert,” you guys.
As for the Tom-is-addicted-to-the-internet storyline: My nephew has at least four devices on him at all times. Cell phone for texting, iPod for music, iPad for internet, and his laptop for “homework.” Trying to have a conversation with him is like fighting with an octopus: Every time you think you have his attention, a knew device/arm appears to distract him. Tom Haverford had this problem too. But how do we live life without checking our email 7,000 times a day, updating our Facebook feed with every little event? Tom needed to go cold turkey, and it wasn’t working in the office, where Tom tried to fill the technology void with a paper iPhone and a Pinterest bulletin board. (“You don’t deserve the internet!” Tom yelled at Jerry, while spying on his computer usage with a hand mirror.) Ron was just the man to help him. Up at the cabin Tom would detox. But Tom is not a man to give up his pleasures easily; Tom is the quintessential man of connection with no connection. The writers tackled this issue with such pitch-perfect humor, I saw my own electronics addiction coming through. Where is Ron to help me when I need it?
And then there was the D.C. contingent—as many of you readers know, I am not a big fan of keeping April away from Andy. But this week was the best so far with regard to the D.C. shenanigans. And it mirrored something that has been said about Mitt Romney so much, that he is robotic. Of course the writers here took it to the extreme, portraying the congressman Ben and April work as an actual possible robot. Ben: “What do you think he is thinking about?” April: “1 - 1 - 0 - 1 must eat babies.” I have to say that the Ben/April partnership has started to grow on me. I love that April is still failing up and seems to be making a career of it; Ben seems to be softening some, and April is becoming more, gulp, responsible. Have they started to meet in the middle?
That said, it was interesting that Andy never mentioned April and April never mentioned Andy this week... hmmmm?
This was a near-perfect episode of Parks and Recreation for me, and it reminded me why political satire is so important today.
– Are Andy and April headed for a break-up? Or am I just being paranoid?
– Who is your favorite Pawnee news person, Joan Callamezzo or Perd Hapley?
– Is the congressman really a robot? Or… what is up with him?
– If you could have any past character return, who would it be?