'Parks and Recreation' recap: Let's hear it for the schlemiel and schlemazel

Parks-Rec-SambergImage Credit: Justin Lubin/NBCI’m starting to feel like a broken record. There are only so many times you can praise a series before you become a bore, so from here on forward, let’s assume this: Parks and Recreation is awesome and hilarious. Write it down in your book of facts, write it on a Post-It and stick it to your bathroom mirror to remind yourself every day, and begin using the show’s title as a replacement for the word combination ”awesome and hilarious” (example: ”I saw a man get kicked in his bean bag today; it was Parks and Recreation.”) If people look at you weird, just know that you are superior to them because you watch the show. If something changes, I’ll let you know.

Whew. Now that we got that out of the way, this week we were graced with a Jerry-centric episode. (By the way, thanks for the spoiler alert, those of you who hinted at a Jerry episode in last week’s comments. Okay, I know I’ve accidentally spoiled you all, too. So consider us even.). The premise was as follows:

Jerry gets hurt while out filling the hummingbird feeders in the park and says he was mugged. Leslie (played by a visibly pregnant Amy Poehler, something you sharp commenters caught at least two weeks back) launches into action like only a Knope can and begins a campaign for safer parks.

Ron volunteered to teach everyone self defense because, as Leslie pointed out, everyone needs it (”…especially Tom”). We learned a few things from this segment. (1) Ann can kick ass. (2) Ann likes Lifetime movies and remembers them with almost frightening detail. (3) April is not happy with Ann’s apparent hang-up on Andy. (4) I’m not happy about it either. (5) Ron can make a person (errm… Andy) pass out by holding them tightly around the chest as part of a defense move. (6) You should not try to escape such a hold by flailing your neck (yup, Andy again).

Back in the park, we meet possibly one of the most annoying characters ever to visit Parks: A loud-talking park ranger named Carl (played by Andy Samberg), who shows Leslie and Co. the scene of Jerry’s mugging. His voice can clear a field of crows, as the episode showed, but the character has the power to clear a room of viewers, as I wish I could have shown. In an otherwise great episode, the scream-talking gag got old fast. I would give my best raccoon-savaged, urine-soaked golf cart to the person who could guarantee me we’d never see that character again. Agree/disagree?

Moving on, after seeing the need for park safety funding, Leslie went on a campy local TV program (we all have ‘em) to talk about the problem and bash city officials for not giving the matter enough attention. In doing so, she angered City Hall but also got funding for safer parks. Win-win? Not quite. It turns out Jerry was lying about being mugged. He actually fell into a creek after attempting to recover a breakfast burrito that fell in. Oh, Jerry.

So before you jump into the laugh-gasam that is Best Moments and Best Lines, a few talking points: I loved that they showed how Andy treats April better than he treated Ann. Did you? What were your favorite parts of the episode? And with this Mark-light episode as an indicator, are you going to miss Paul Schneider?

Best moments:
-The honorable Leslie Knope admitting she puts 20 ”Jerry” names into the hat when doing the hummingbird lottery.
-The ”Safe Parks Now” posters with Jerry’s digitally created black eye
-Andy counting his money
-Scrotation marks
- Jerry’s presentation, specifically the double-disaster (a down-the-crack pant splitting followed by some massive flatulence)
- Tom running alongside the golf cart

Best lines:
Ron: David Meyers, the Jewish guy who works at City Hall, once told me something. A schlemiel is the guy who spills soup at a fancy party. A schlemazel is the guy he spills it on. Jerry is both the schlemiel and schlemazel of our office.

April: I thought Freddie Spaghetti ODed.
Leslie: No, that’s Mr. Funny Noodle. And he didn’t OD; his neighbor shot him.

Tom to Jerry: Did you throw out your shoulder trying to swing a honey pot off your hand?

Jerry: I was on my way to the humming bird feeders and I was walking Lord Sheldon…
April: Eew. Is that code for some sort of weird sex act?
Jerry: Lord Sheldon is my dog.

Tom: He needs a lot of support… I’m talking about a bra for a man.

Comments (83 total) Add your comment
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  • Frank

    The pant rip fart combo was the funniest thing I have ecver seen. I rewound and re watched it 3 times.

    • Hellen

      I know…. and usually fart humor doesn’t get me but I howled at that one. It just keeps getting worse for Jerry.

      • Alan

        Me too. And that’s what Dwight K Schrute (below) doesn’t get. It wasn’t funny because it was a fart. It was funny because it was unexpected and because it happen to Jerry right as he was having the worst day of his life.

    • JLC

      I love this show, but that was the first time I literally belly-laughed at a scene. The shots of the rest trying not to laugh clinched it.

      • Bill

        I watched this show for the first time two or three weeks ago. I know it’s well regarded, and God knows I like to laugh, but I didn’t, especially not at the racoon “hunt.” I’m gonna give it another shot. Maybe, at 65, we start to lose our funnybone.

    • Janitor

      Yesssss!!!! The hardest I’ve laughed at ANYTHING on tv this season! The not-trying-to-laugh definitely amped up the hilarity

    • Dwight K Schrute

      Wow, are you people 5 years old? Sheesh.

      • lefty

        Seriously, I thought that joke was painfully obvious…I didn’t laugh.

      • shell

        Neither did I.

      • Alan

        Hey Grumpy McGee, remind me not to invite you to a party. It was funny because if you knew the Jerry character and what a walking disaster he is it was just the icing on the cake of his disastrous day. Get a life, it was funny.

      • ichorwhip

        Says the d-bag who take the name of a fictional sociopath with a taste for beats, bears and Battlestar Galactica, sheesh! PFFFT!

    • Alan

      Me too. Actually I think I watched it 4 times. Even my dog stared at me in wonder because I was laughing so hard I was almost choking!! So funny.

    • Allen Ludden

      oh…the bean burritto. HI-larry-us.

    • Ken

      It was a small bit, but I loved Leslie answering the phone: “Knope. Yep.”

  • laylagalise

    I usually love Parks and Rec, but felt luke warm about this episode. Probably because it’s always bothered me how the other characters treat Jerry and this episode centered around them trying unsuccessfully not to be jerks to him for no reason. Andy Samberg was great, though.

    • JLC

      I liked Andy, too. I agree they should tone down the loud talking, but the character himself was pretty funny. Maybe on the next one, he could talk so quietly no one can hear him.

      • Ceballos

        Shy Ronnie!

      • Yes

        The only time he did talk quietly during the episode was when the host of the tv show hit on him. I thought that was hilarious!

    • Lu

      Andy Samberg is the guy on SNL who plays Mark Wahlberg on the “Mark Wahlberg talks to animals” skits right? I don’t watch SNL but I’ve seen those clips and all I could think this whole episode was “Say hi to your mother for me.”

      • Ambient Lite

        All I could think of was the Sarah Silverman episode I just saw where Andy Samberg is Sarah’s childhood imaginary friend who comes back and throws this crazy drug-fueled orgy…well, I’ll stop there. It was weird.

    • Dwight K Schrute

      Loud talker was one-note joke. It was a below average Parks.

    • Snsetblaze

      I liked the Andy Samberg character too – and how at the end a woman’s interest kept him quiet.

    • Alan

      That’s odd. I thought it was the funniest episode of the season. If you feel uncomfortable about a show where someone gets picked on, maybe sitcoms aren’t for you. At first I thought the same way, but then I realied, oh yeah, it’s a SITCOM. It was very funny.

      • laylagalise

        I don’t feel uncomfortable about a show where someone gets picked on– the show doesn’t make me uncomfortable at all. If it did I wouldn’t watch it every week. Characters poking fun at other characters doesn’t bother me most of the time when it’s funny. That’s the bottom line, I really don’t think all the Jerry bashing is funny, I just think it’s mean. It could have been both, but it wasn’t.

  • Elizabeth

    Leslie’s dead-on impersonation of Tom after she found out how Jerry really dislocated his shoulder. It wasn’t super funny, but it was still good.

    • Rachel

      Oh, yes! That was my favorite part. The wide eyes and all.

  • kim in kentucky

    Agree – do not want to see the park ranger again (also we have a few of those talkers in our office – wished we could give them outside jobs!)

    • Elizabeth

      Right on Kim: between the loud talker on Parks N Rec, the walking around in the dump on The Office, and Jack realizing his new gig with Kabletown was a mousetrap job, it was like my life flashed before my eyes last night.

  • sunny

    i’m with layla and elizabeth! i feel too bad for jerry to have found the episode super funny. but my fave moment was definitely leslie’s tom impersonation!

    • suzy

      i had to rewatch it, i laughed so hard!

    • I Will Watch Anything On TV

      That was absurdly funny. I rewatched that sooo many times, I couldn’t stop laughing for 30 minutes.

  • Ana Maria

    …this was a perfectly hilarious, LOL episode for me, beginning to end! I laughed so hard at Jerry’s presentation that I fear I might have missed something; hope someone uploads that clip soon…not only was Jerry’s clumsiness and bad luck funny, but the efforts his cowrkers made so they wouldn’t laugh at his presentation, that was priceless…oh, Andy and April; loved when she caughts him talking to Ann and she turns around to leave but he stops her with the vegan muffin…and that’s about the only thing I disliked about the episode, Ann’s renewed interest of Andy…I really hope Paul takes her away with him…

  • LoveMeSomeAndy

    I think his drummer shot Freddie Spaghetti. I love Andy Samberg and look forward to the day when he is a huge movie star, we see this episode again and say, “Look- there’s Andy Samberg on a sitcom.” That day is coming my friends, mark my words. That said, this episode could have used much more (character) Andy. I love him with all my heart. Please find a way to have him sing again. Congratulations to Amy P!

    • Anissa

      I heard drummer too.

  • melissa

    Is Mark leaving the show? I hadn’t heard that. Too bad, b/c I like him, and his relative normalcy balances out some of the crazy.

    • Yes

      I like how he pointed out that the big problem was really how badly they all treat Jerry. I have never liked how they treat him either. I don’t think it’s that funny. The jokes are good, but I don’t like how he’s ALWAYS the butt of the joke.

    • lisap

      yeah i read that in ew yesterday. i like ps (i loved him in that movie with zoey dechannel (sp), but i guess it was a boring character. i do NOT want ann to fight for andy. does anyone want that storyline to progress?

      • Karen

        I don’t want it to progress. TEAM APRIL ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Madd

    I loved this Jerry centric episode! Now how about a Donna one? Has Andy moved on from wanting to get back with Ann? He seemed to be ignoring her annoying advances this episode.
    My favorite part was at the end, when Jerry said he tolerates people making fun of him because soon he’ll be retired and have a “stack of mystery novels”.
    Also: “This is Pawnee f****** Today!”

  • Bob

    “Tom: He needs a lot of support… I’m talking about a bra for a man,” was kind of a good line, but the funny part was how Ron nodded with dead seriousness.

  • Ceballos

    While I loved having a Jerry-centric episode and there was some undeniably funny stuff in this episode (Leslie’s impersonation of what Tom would say if he knew about Jerry falling in the creek), I have to be honest: I thought it was MUCH funnier when the staff was mean to Jerry for no reason.

    Seeing Jerry lie, be incompetent and generally be lame was a bit deflating and now I can totally understand why they make fun of him all the time. I liked it better when it was completely random.

    • Ambient Lite

      A bit deflating indeed – BUT, the way I see it, Jerry’s ‘quirks’ still don’t warrant the collective outpouring of meanness. He’s dumpy, he’s clumsy, but I still have trouble believing that level of meanness is really called for. It’s not like he actually splits his pants and farts ALL the time, right??
      So maybe it’s for my own selfish satisfaction, but I’m choosing to believe even if not random, it’s still over-the-top.

      • Ceballos

        “It’s not like he actually splits his pants and farts ALL the time, right??”

        You sure about that. ;) All I know is that this is the first episode focused on Jerry – maybe if there was more focus on Jerry we’d see just how many pants he splits and how often he refuses to share food with dogs.

      • Ambient Lite

        Ugh, Ceballos, you’re right. He DID eat that burrito that fell in the creek , didn’t he?
        I’m just pouting because I never wanted this episode to happen, I loved it when everyone hated him for no apparent reason.
        I probably need to get on the bandwagon, as they seem to be giving us a peek into the individual characters’ lives each week (Tom, Leslie, Ron, now Jerry). April’s will probably be…normal?

      • Madd

        I agree that I preferred it when they made fun of him for no reason. But I still enjoyed the “oh, Jerry” moments when he would mess up yet again. I think they’ve already showed us as much of April’s life as they’re going to this season. I just want more scenes of her and Andy hanging out!
        Did anyone else miss Donna this week? It seemed like she was on screen even less then Mark.

  • jrs

    Great episode. GREAT SHOW!!!! Can’t wait for Mark to leave…hope he takes Ann with him. They drug down the show every time they were on together and I don’t want her screwing things up between Andy and April! I disagree about the ranger…I thought he was hilarious, especially when he low-talked after the TV hostess came on to him. I spit out my drink when those crows took off!

  • Matt

    the highlight of this episode for me was Jerry’s presentation where nobody was allowed to make jokes:
    http://bit.ly/cDZaMZ

    • Ana Maria

      …you made my day with the clip; many thanks!…

  • Janitor

    ‘The people’ have always been asking for a Jerry-centric episode and P&R did not disappoint last night! My #1 Thursday show knocks it out of the, *ahem* park again.
    In the best lines, you forgot

    Jerry: Lord Sheldon is my dog. My wife named him
    April: Eww! [probably at the thought of Jerry having a wife]

  • JoshD

    I am starting to come around to this series. My favorite part was Leslie answering the phone, “Knope. Yep.” They might have done that before, but it cracked me up. Did Sandberg’s character remind anyone else of Will Farrell’s recurring SNL character who couldn’t modulate his voice.

    • Madd

      It reminded me of a previous character Andy did in a digital short with Alicia Keys.

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