'Parks and Recreation': Interview with the (former) boy mayor

Parks-Recreation-Media-BlitzImage Credit: Chris Haston/NBCWhen we first met Ben Wyatt in Parks and Rec‘s second season, he was a serious, straightforward pragmatist — a fitting foil for both his overly exuberant boss and the wackier characters crowding Pawnee’s City Hall. But as Season 3 progresses, Ben is transforming from the ultimate straight man into a guy who can’t help letting his freak flag fly. Maybe there’s something in the water in southwest Indiana.

I, for one, welcome Ben’s metamorphosis (as well as our new computer overlord). It’s great to see Adam Scott stretch a little; before this season and especially before tonight, Ben’s defining characteristics — dry wit and low-grade depression — made him awfully similar to Henry, the apathetic waiter Scott played to perfection in the late, lamented Party Down. But in “Media Blitz,” Ben’s unflappable exterior broke down completely as we learned that the guy just can’t give an interview to save his life — especially when people insist on asking him about his ill-fated stint as the boy mayor of Partridge, Minnesota. (Thankfully, Ben’s social ineptitude has been hinted at before, so this storyline didn’t come out of nowhere.) As Leslie doggedly tried to get the word out about her upcoming Harvest Festival, Ben’s stammering, sweating, and crazed outbursts foiled her at every turn. Poor Perd Hapley had no idea what he was getting himself into. (“Look! Who hasn’t had gay thoughts?! …Is there a bird in here?”)

Things came to a head, as these things generally do, on Pawnee Today. Once again, Ben was put in the spotlight against his will, and once again, he was on the verge of a total meltdown. This time, though — maybe because Leslie proved that she believes in him? — he managed to assure the good people of Pawnee that he’s good at what he does, without going catatonic or delivering a psychotic monologue. Did anyone else’s heart melt just a little bit at the proud smile that crept across Leslie’s face when Ben found his voice?

And speaking of couples… April! And Andy! Are finally together! I’m glad that the whole “April tortures Andy” plot line is (apparently) done for good, since it was getting harder and harder to keep liking her as a character when she acted so awfully. Then again, at least April isn’t as bad as her sister Natalie, who sees nothing wrong with nearly getting Andy arrested just for kicks. There was also a fairly boring C-plot about Ann and Chris which was basically an extension of last episode — she wants to move to Indianapolis with him, he still hasn’t asked her to. Near the end of the half-hour, it seems like Ann might get her wish. Eh… wake me up when something actually happens.

Other episode highlights:

– When Ron starts to think about all the words he knows, these are the ones that first spring to mind: “Rectangle! America! Megaphone! Monday! Butthole!”

– Crazy Ira and The Douche are the most perfectly-named small-town shock jocks ever created. Also: Hello, Matt Besser and Nick Kroll! You can stay as long as you want.

– “Two words: Space farts!”

– Does AltaVista even still exist as a search engine? Well, whaddaya know, it does!

– “So, how do you like Pawnee?” “There are a lot of cars. Not too many… trucks and stuff… but uh, you know.”

– “We are colleagues with benefits. We are colleagues who benefit from the fact that we’re also friends.” No one else can wedge her foot quite as firmly into her mouth as Leslie Knope.

– Tom shops at Brooks Brothers Boys. Of course.

– Ron’s surprisingly modern photography philosophy: “It’s art. Anything is anything.”

– “Sorry for steppin’ on you, floor.”

– Sweet, simple Andy, who is way too honest for his own good, cheerfully tells a police officer that his van is stolen and that his license is, “like, crazy expired.”

– “More like Turd Crapley!”

What were your favorite scenes from “Media Blitz”?

Comments (94 total) Add your comment
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  • MCS

    Between the calzones last week and this week’s “Who hasnt had gay thoughts?”, Ben’s character has developed awesomely (doubt thats a word), and it really has allowed his character to step away from his Party Down persona. You were right on the money with this one. Special mention to Ron’s melanchony photos.

    • MCS

      Umm, way to go fingers, that was meant to say melancholy.

    • Mr. Holloway

      “Boom, sad floor.”

      • Summer Bay

        I thought he got eaten by an piranha?

    • Chancey

      The episode really took off for me when Ben started doing interviews.
      Donna and Jerry muscling their way into getting foot rubs was funny.
      I liked how when the officer asked if Andy was trying to lure this young girl into the van Andy responded saying “yeah she is being real difficult about it.”
      Interesting how Ron is the voice of reason on the show, he set April straight pretty well.

      • S

        Andy’s line was my favorite!

      • tg

        Donna needs way more air time. She is hysterical and underused. The show is fantastic overall. The best on NBC’s lineup, though that’s tough to say with Community being so fantastic and 30 Rock being so consistently bizzare (but having definitely peaked already).

    • Verity

      I love that Andy insists on hugging Ron and that Ron always resists.

    • Katie


  • Elle

    It was all good for me. It was a great ep and I was ep happy about April and Andy! Such amazing chemistry! Now, I’m ready for Beslie. Make it happen!

  • Elle

    *so happy

  • Mr. Holloway

    Sorry, but I didn’t think this was one of the show’s stronger outings, which is disappointing because Adam Scott was center stage.

    Although the show has hinted at Ben’s awkardness, I always got the impression that it was because he didn’t fit in with the (calzone-hating) citizens of Pawnee. I didn’t buy his total descent into “Human Disaster” even if his out-of-context ramblings were funny.

    Also agree that the Chris/Ann storyline was pretty much a wash this week…they might as well not have shown them.

    Finally, I DID like that April finally forgave Andy (no one wants to see Andy get tortured), but I liked even more that Ron CLEARLY has a soft spot for him. (Even if he was pretending like he was helping Andy to keep April around as his assistant.)

    • MCS

      When is Ann not a wash? The only character that I would be not sad if she left the show tomorrow.

      • Mr. Holloway

        Ordinarily I’d agree with you, but I was actually enjoying Ann a lot this season until all her lines started being about why Chris hasn’t asked her to move to Indy with her.

      • Pink Slips

        I agree about Ann.
        I also think that they’re happy to have Rob Lowe on the show, but they just don’t know what to do with him! This one-note character is tiring more and more each week.
        And Adam Scott’s character is changing way too fast.

        (I still love the show, though! Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!)

      • tnsmoke

        I wish she would of left and Mark would of stayed instead.

    • LOL

      Mr. H is right on. There’s no way Ben would have been such a train wreck. Adam Scott gets to shine and this is what they came up with? Big mistake.

      • c

        I actually thought Ben’s descent into “human disaster” was believable, for 2 reasons: 1)It was only when he was in the media, and 2)it was only when someone brought up his former mayor-hood. So those were the triggers that set him off. Otherwise, he’s fairly normal.

      • Mr. Holloway

        I’d buy that a little more if he hadn’t turned into a stuttering mess when the radio host asked him how he liked Pawnee, and Ben was still a puddle: they weren’t on air, and the guy wasn’t being The Douche-y.

    • Verity

      I agree. I would have bought his social ineptitude more had he not completely freaked out on TV with Pern. I think that took it a little too far.

    • Darrin

      I think the term “human disaster” was used more to tag him as the guy who brought disaster to every town he went to, rather than the way he was acting in the interviews.

      • Mr. Holloway

        You’re probably right, but I personally think it worked both ways. :)

  • Timothy

    I wish I was Andy. I would love to make out with April.

    • court

      I wish I was April. I would love to make out with Andy.

  • Johnification

    No mention of Bird Guy? Best random townie ever! “We don’t have time! He can FLY!”

    • Asha

      LOL! I just chuckled rereading that line. Haha! Yes he was great. I think that’s what I love most about this show. The random townies. You know that there are sane people in Pawnee we just don’t see them.

    • Blame Leno

      chuckled? I’m dieing laughing…tears in my eyes. I forgot how funny that was!!! This show has really found it’s groove.

    • tnsmoke

      Wasn’t “bird guy” the actor who plays Hank on The Office? The security guard and now host of Dwight’s lobby cafe.

    • Dave

      Agreed! I love that all of the Pawnee commoners they display on this show are complete nutjobs. Anytime I hear the word “public forum” uttered by Leslie, I’m giddy with anticipation to hear some of the crackpot things that Pawnee citizens have to say.

  • Steve

    Chris Pratt, luckiest guy on television.

    • CK

      They need to have Anna Faris guest star.

  • Snsetblaze

    What about Ron’s line about wanting to keep April because he couldn’t find a worse assistant?

  • Miffy

    Does anyone really watch this ridiculous time-slot filler? Apparently not, given the few comments on this board. Seriously, it appeals to the crowd that still misses “Suddenly Susan”.

    • Lou

      Loved this week’s episode, Ben was just pefect, it was great that at the end he was able to make fun of himself

      May have cried a little at April & Andy, so adorable together.

      Ron’s photography was the best, ha summing up hipster photoblogs everywhere.

    • cindy

      You need to move along, Miffy. Nothin’ here for you to see.

    • Tom

      Ummmm it was posted at 3 am in the morning Miffy.

    • g

      You’re a douche

    • Drea

      Don’t go away mad Miffy; just go away!

    • chantal

      get out of here miffy! leave our beloved parks and rec sanctum.
      and ADAM SCOTT FTW

    • Hayley

      Don’t be such a Jerry

      • Mal


      • ally


    • leslieknope:)

      Miffy, I’d say the fact that there are comments on this recap that are talking about how people love and watch this show is a pretty solid indication that people do watch it.And maybe a post which is discussing the show in a positive manner probably isn’t the best place for you to be posting opinions, as most people reading and writing here have clearly contrasting views to yours. As you can see, your comments- which have pretty much been made redundant by the amount of positive feedback the show is getting by viewers and critics alike- have resulted in a lot of negative comments directed towards you, which I’m sure you don’t appreciate, do you
      So yeah, maybe just something to think about for next time?


    J’adore PARKS & REC! Happy that April and Andy can be lovey dovey now, hooray!

  • Sunshine

    JOAN CALlAMEZZO! love, love, love her!!
    The way she looked at Ben after he was accused of bankrupting 7 towns, I just about passed out.
    Parks & Rec has the best recurring characters!

    • chalmers

      Yes! I spend an inordinate time during episodes hoping that the plot will turn toward a “Pawnee Today” appearance.

      I don’t know if I like her normal ferocious self or the way she melts during Tom’s hilariously awful come-ons.

    • Mark

      She’s such a great character, isn’t she? You expect her to be a soft touch because she falls for Tom’s easy flattery, then she becomes a shark as soon as the camera turns on.

  • henry

    Best part of the episode was April reading the letter Andy wrote to her “Gizmo,” I couldn’t stop laughing every timer she corrected it. Aubrey Plaza is brilliant!

  • Asha

    I actually felt really bad for mean Ben in this episode! I mean who hasn’t done something really stupid once a decade ago that everyone keeps harping on. Man it was almost enough to make me want to stop calling him mean Ben.

    April and Andy! YAY! Anne should go to Indianapolis and come back once every five episodes to remind us what a stick in the mud she is.

  • DevilsAdv

    The line “sometimes I feel like I need glasses” was just so perfectly random.

    • Amy

      THIS! I laughed so hard when he yelled that.

  • elena

    Loved that Ron really has morphed into the Papa Bear character. He totally told April what’s what (and thank god, because I forgot how much I love Andy and April together). Also loved Turd Crapley, any time Leslie has to give a newspaper interview (she makes up the most insane puns), and Tom, for once, being good at something. He really is a charmer. Adam Scott, kudos to taking awkward to a whole ‘nother level because that TV interview montage was perfect.

    • Asha

      I love the way Leslie starts her newpaper interviews. My favorite, “Gazebo more like Gazoiknzbo”

    • YH

      Actually, Tom is shown to be really good a schmoozing (sp?) with people i.e. the Pawnee Today host, Ira and the Douche, the car dealership owners at SPAwnee. He just hates working behind a desk in an office.

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