'Parks and Recreation' recap: In time for the Oscars, wise thoughts from a mustachioed man

park-and-recImage Credit: Chris Haston/NBCLast night’s Parks and Recreation was an answer to the call many of us have been making for a while: Less Mark and Ann, please. Well, it was worth the wait. The well-paced, Mann-less (Mark + Ann = Mann) episode eliminated the one aspect of the show that has been lagging in the past few weeks, and in all, produced a half hour of one-liners, fantastic guest-star-free ensemble work, and one of the best episodes of the season.

In this episode, Leslie is once again on a mission. This time, she tries to convince Ron that she is a more worthy recipient of the Pawnee’s Woman of the Year award from the Indiana Organization of Women. Ron, who approaches the honor in typical Ron fashion (aka: I don’t give a damn), decides to mess with Leslie and act as though he takes the award seriously. (Psst. He actually intends to recommend Leslie for it.) I love how the writers are cultivating the big brother-little sister vibe between these two. It’s truly the best function of this on-screen relationship, and I hope they continue in this direction.

In the two sub-plots, April helps Andy search for a new place to live after his guitarist/roommate complains about his more than questionable living habits (”The bag of smells was fun, but this has to stop,” his roommate begs.), and Tom tries to buy a $10,000 share of a nightclub. The April-Andy segments gave us a chance to see more of April’s subtle wooing and more of Andy being … well… Andy. My only fear with these two is that oblivious Andy will realize April’s intentions and be disinterested in a relationship, which would be heartbreaking to watch.

Tom’s slimy friend Jean-Ralphio, who we last saw interviewing to be Ron’s assistant, returns in this episode. He pitches in $5,000 toward the $10,000 share, leaving Tom $1,000 short of co-owning a part of the nightclub. Desperate, he tries to get Mark, Donna and Jerry to kick in the remaining funds, with no results. Donna seems interested, but after meeting Tom’s prospective third business partner, opts out of the deal. In a classic Donna moment, she tells Tom in front of Jean-Ralphio, ”I hate that guy.”

In the end, Andy opts out of getting his own place so that he can give Tom the remaining money. Donna ends up buying three shares of the club on her own (Smart woman!). And Ron – being the woman-empowerment-loving, WNBA-watching stand up man he is – gives the award to Leslie at the ceremony despite the IOW’s insistence that they honor a man. Leslie gives the award back to Ron, who gives it back to Leslie, who… you get the point. Ron closes out the evening with the signature, heart-warming line of the night after Leslie finally accepts the plaque: ”I still think awards are stupid, but they’d be less stupid if they went to the right people.” Hear that, Academy?

Before I present you my two slaved-over lists, I humbly ask for your thoughts on the evening. Will Andy fall for April? Did you enjoy the lack of guest stars, too? And is it about time we have a Jerry-centric episode? Sound off below. And enjoy/contribute to the Best Of lists below!

The now-recurring Best Moments list:
– Tom and Jean-Ralphio’s ”hand-shake”
– Ron’s photo session
– Andy closing up his shoeshine business, with someone still in the chair
– Tom’s presentation to Mark, Donna and Jerry
– Tom’s imitation of Mark

Best lines:
”Don’t you work at Lady Footlocker?” – April to Jean-Ralphio’s attempt to hit on her

”Yes, camp Xena” – Ron, referring to Leslie’s camp Athena

Ron: I’m doing my official portrait for the official IUD awards dinner program
Leslie: (unamused) I-O-W.

”Are these real people?” – Jerry to Tom’s presentation of celebrities, including Jon Gosselin and Snooki

”I have the Dorothy Everytime Smurf Girl Trophy for Excellence in Female Stuff.” – Ron, wrongly identifying his award to annoy Leslie

”I’m like Warren Buffet (pronounced as in all-you-can-eat). I’m investing.” – Andy

Comments (48 total) Add your comment
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  • kim in kentucky

    Gotta admit it — great episode — also love the big brother/little sister thing going on between Ron and Leslie — Ron for MAN of the year!

  • Johnny

    The dorothy everytime smurf girl trophy for female stuff was one of the funniest things ive ever heard! Ron Swanson is the man!

  • Michael

    Best comedy on TV. It just gets better and better.

  • Lemon

    I laughed out loud. A lot. Parks and Rec is finally becoming a vehicle worthy of Amy Poehler’s talent! Not to mention the rest of the cast – everybody’s found their groove, and it’s great.

  • Ambient Lite

    Not my favorite episode, but I do enjoy how EVERYONE is incredibly rude and mean to nice-guy Jerry for no apparent reason (and I hope this goes on without explanation forever).
    I also love how Andy’s doofy-ness makes him oblivious to April’s crush.

    • Nshi

      It’s obvious why everyone hates Jerry – because he is obese. He’s the white elephant in the room. Literally.

      You can’t do the same to Donna because that would be, you know, racist.

      • Bill

        And Donna would bite your face off!

      • Nshi

        She would! With a dash of hot saunce, no less.

      • Nshi

        For those not in the know, saunce is like fifty times hotter than sauce. It’s European.

    • Ceballos

      I love the Jerry thing too!

      I see it as sort of an extension from the way Michael absolutely despises Toby on “The Office”, except that in this show EVERYBODY treats Jerry the way Michael treats Toby. It’s great stuff.

      I didn’t love the Tom/nightclub stuff as much as I wanted to, but the Leslie/Ron scenes were absolute GOLD.

      • Ambient Lite

        I’m still laughing about Ron posing for the photos he commissioned WITH A POT. Gold indeed!

    • Mike from Jersey Shore’s little brother

      Did I just hear my name, “The Explanation”?

      Ahhh, yeeaaahhhh!
      Front abs!
      Back abs!!
      Baby brother abs!!!

  • Correction

    it should be “hear that” not “here that”

    • Jen

      Seriously- I was totally with the writer until I saw that. Ugh!

    • Judge Mental

      I’m guessing by your comment, that you never make mistakes at your job? Like for example, forget to supersize an order.

      • Sara (other one)

        Why assume malice? Sandra writes for a living, so one can assume she cares about her articles (and usually one of the few who will change her errors and thank the corrector). Perhaps “Correction” was offering a “psst”, not a “GAWD”.

    • Sandra Gonzalez

      Amended. Thank you.

  • James

    Haven’t seen the episode yet, but it must be good if I’m already laughing out loud just reading this synopsis. I’m excited to watch!

  • Madonna

    Anyone else notice a baby bump on Amy? Is she pregnant again?

  • tracy

    Ron taking his pictures with the pot and Barbie..Priceless

  • JC

    Great show! More adventures with Tom and Jean-Ralphio is a must. Ron and Tom really carry this show on their shoulders.

    • ash.

      So agreed! Tom and Jean-Ralphio go together like peanut butter and jelly. There really are no words to describe how awesome this duo is except for epic and legendary…

  • Lorie

    Hilarious episode! Jean-Ralphio talking like Tom, Donna’s reaction to J-R, Ron’s photo shoot. My fave was Ron’s IUD line. ROFLMAO! He had so much fun getting under Leslie’s skin.

  • Stacy

    My favorite was the IUD award! Lol I cracked up when he said that but my husband didn’t get it.

  • Kathryn

    Tom: “That’s why I got into public service – for me” One of my fav lines from last night.

    • synapse

      Andy: You’re an angel without wings. April: So, like a person.

  • Madd

    LOVE Jerry. It was refreshing to have an Ann-less episode, but did we really need to be assured that Mark doesn’t beg for sex? The Smurf part was hilarious as well. Always nice to see more Ron!

    • Ambient Lite

      I don’t like Mark AND Ann (aka ‘Mann’ – good call, Sandra), but I do like Ann. I just don’t like him, and certainly don’t like them together. I fondly remember some fun episodes involving her before they hooked up.

      • Feiss

        What’s your beef with Mark? He gets the job done. He owns a truck. It looks like he’s got his sheet together.
        Why the hate?

      • Ceballos

        See, I KNOW that I like Rashida Jones (SO crush-worthy), but that affection doesn’t extend to Ann for me.

        I understand the concept of a “straight man” in comedy (and that they don’t get the biggest laughs), and I understand that’s Ann’s apparent role on the show, but I just don’t find the Ann character interesting AT ALL. I think I’ve laughed at something Ann has said or done maybe five times in one and a half seasons. Same goes for Mark, unfortunately. (For me, April and her hipster detachment function much more effectively as a “straight man.”)

      • Ceballos


        I’ll give you that: one of the five times I’ve laughed at Mark was when he said “I f—ing hate owning a pickup truck.”

      • Ambient Lite

        The pick-up truck comment was the ONLY time I’ve laughed at Mark. And my longtime girl crush on Rashida Jones may very possibly be to blame for my leniency toward her character. It’s very possible that both she AND Mark are cast in that “straight man” role and neither are actually necessary…but I don’t want her to go!

      • Fatima

        I thought Ann was great doing the mock date with Leslie earlier this year. Her reactions to Leslie are hilarious. Wish they’d let her be on her own more. There is something very entitled about Mark that makes him hard to like.

      • Ceballos


        YES! The mock date (when she intentionally treated Leslie like crap) was definitely my favorite Ann moment. The problem is that beyond that (and Mark’s pickup truck comment) I struggle a LOT to come up with any funny moments for those two characters.

    • Karen

      There’s NO chemistry between Mark and Ann…they could just as well be bro and sis…I don’t mind them so much as individuals, but they don’t make me laugh a lot. I love April though! I’m routing for her and Andy.

      • Browncoat Jack

        This is so dead on. I think they’re trying to recapture the Pam and Jim magic from the Office with Mann, but they are just failing. They have the least chemistry from any couple on television. Quite unlike Andy and April who are a constant joy to watch.

  • Kristen

    Leslie/Ron is totally my favorite dynamic on the show.

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