Ron and Andy Play Dress Up

Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 3: How A Bill Becomes a Law
Posted by Sage

Welp, this episode was about as uneven as Leslie’s perm. But even Parks at its most inconsistent is better than any other network TV comedy nonsense, and with 1000x more heart. And “How a Bill Becomes a Law” did deliver some quality moments and key character developments for a few of Pawnee’s finest.

This week was all about how government does or doesn’t work. Poor, sweet, idealistic Leslie runs up against corruption in the form of part-time dentist and full-time bathroom snob Councilman Jamm, who bribes her in exchange for his vote in favor of the Leslie Knope “Fun in the Sun Act.” Meanwhile, Libertarian Ron, who will tell anyone who will listen that government doesn’t work, exemplifies it at its best. He doesn’t even know that Diane (played by LUCY “Xena” LAWLESS) is a hot, single mom until he shows up at her house to fill her pothole (not a euphemism). All he knows is that she’s got a problem, the right department isn’t responding, and he knows how to fix it. If you’ve ever been at the mercy of someone in administration who refuses to step one foot out of his or her job description to help you, you know why Diane was instantly hot for him. Andy’s spray-painted “Ron likes you” note helped too.

Speaking of Andy, how perfect is it that he has an instant rapport with kids? He’s nothing if not a big kid himself, but I would have sooner imagined him roughhousing with boys than having a tea party with sparkle princesses. We’ll probably see Andy and April with child sometime in the future, and suddenly that thought isn’t quite so terrifying.

And guys? I know we’re all having confusing feelings about this Ben and April business. Don’t panic. They’re both hot; they’re alone in DC; they have great chemistry. It’s perfectly natural. The fact that we’re all feeling this way is proof that giving these characters time together was the right decision. Ben is encouraging April to be more invested in her life and maybe take one or two things somewhat seriously. April is encouraging Ben to fuck with people. It’s a great give and take. But this ain’t Gossip Girl. Everyone’s going home with the person they came with. Even I don’t think that reading someone your Star Trek fan fiction is a step on the road to seduction. Let’s just settle for them being new and unlikely BFFs.

Jack is your new best friend

Random thoughts/B Stories:

  • The whole perm gag felt like vintage, Season 1 Leslie Knope. Parks finally found its footing when her unique character grew and she was no longer being written as the female Michael Scott. I’m not sure if this plot point exists to point out Ann’s absence (“Ann has told me repeatedly not to get a perm, but Ann’s not here.”) or to show Leslie’s singlemindedness when it comes to a project, but it just didn’t work for me.
  • These Skype moments are fun, but hardly satiate my Beslie needs. Come home soon, Mr. Ben Wyatt!
  • I’m always, always happy to see talk show host Joan Callamezzo. And I’m even happier to see her in such an atrocious wig.
  • Ancient Councilman Milton is a great addition to the pantheon of Pawnee weirdos. Hopefully that fall on his face won’t keep him from returning to wax poetic on his glory days of running as a “Dixiecrat” with a platform of de-integrating baseball. He does seem to be a fan of Ms. Knope (“You remind me of a young, beautiful Strom Thurmond.”), so I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him and his racist ceasar salads.
  • #sorry #notsorry for dwelling on Ben Wyatt, but he’s maybe the most true character on this show. His car CD collection includes the soundtracks to Pulp Fiction, Grosse Point Blank, and Singles (standard for a 30-something-year-old white dude), but the gem of the bunch is “Benji’s Cool Times Summer Jamz Mix.” Aubrey Plaza nailed that look of wonder/horror in reaction to the first track: “Shoop.”
  • “K-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.”
  • Let’s appreciate the fact that Tom Haverford jumped into the pool to help Leslie keep the Pawnee Porpoises’ dreams of an effective democracy alive. He was probably wearing some brand new fashions from the Brooks Brothers Boys collection. Don’t hide that heart of gold, Big T.

What do you think, Parks-ers? Will Leslie become even more disillusioned with City Countil and return to her Parks Department post? Will April and Ben make it home to visit Andy and “your lover Chris”? Will Donna write her own sequel to the Fifty Shades trilogy? And most importantly, how does my hair look?

Tom Haverford