'Parks and Recreation': Goodbye, Rob Lowe?

rob-lowe_320.jpg Image Credit: Danny Feld/NBCA moment of silence, please, for the power couple that was Chris and Ann. Sure, they weren’t the show’s best-loved union — that honor goes to April and Andy, though Ben and Leslie might take it when they finally hook up — but those crazy kids really did seem to make sense together.

Their split came as the result of Chris finally moving back to Indianapolis. Since Chris is no longer living in Pawnee — and since he’s no longer attached to Ann — this seems to imply that Rob Lowe’s stint on Parks and Rec has come to an end. (At the very least, it’s going to be difficult to integrate his character into the show after this point; he’s apparently not in “Harvest Festival,” P&R‘s next episode.) I’m not sure how to feel about this. Chris certainly isn’t an essential character, but he’s a lot of fun to have around. I think I’m going to end up missing his particular brand of crazy if he’s gone for awhile. [Update: Mea culpa: Lowe was added as a series regular after this episode was shot, so I guess he’s not actually going anywhere. So how will his return be explained? Speculate below!]

At least the breakup brought with it plenty of painful laughs. Let’s let Leslie explain the situation: “Sweet and beautiful Ann has never been dumped before, and Chris is such a positive person when he broke up with her she just didn’t realize it. It’s kind of understandable. Although it does kinda make you wonder how good of a nurse she is.” Well, that plus the fact that she’s always hanging around City Hall instead of making rounds at the hospital. Even the most fervent Ann-hater must have had some sympathy for her tonight. How could you not feel for someone who figured out far too late that she had been dumped… and that everyone knew that but her?

While Ann was learning that she no longer had a boyfriend, Tom, Ben, April, Andy, and Donna were having an eventful evening at The Snakehole Lounge. I loved that this storyline revolved heavily around Dennis Feinstein, the scentmaster whose fragrances Yearning and Attack were previously mentioned in a few Season 2 episodes. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that the olfactory wizard of Pawnee is kind of a dick; when Tom approaches him with his homemade perfume, “Tommy Fresh,” Feinstein dismissively tells him it smells ” like somebody spilled Chinese food in a birdcage.” Tom, who dreams of becoming a studly entrepreneur like Dennis, is crushed — until a sympathetic Ben gives him a melon-tini and some encouragement. It’s great to see the show pair Ben with characters besides Leslie, revealing how he relates to other core members of the cast. Soon it’ll be difficult to remember that he only joined Parks and Rec at the end of last season.

The episode’s other subplots — April and Andy compete to get free stuff from the bar; Ron eagerly anticipates eating at his favorite Indianapolis steakhouse, only to find that it’s closed — resonated less. They were funny, but a little flimsy. All in all, putting aside the Chris/Ann developments, I could say the same for “Indianapolis” as a whole. Maybe I just feel that way because it’d be difficult for anything to approach the highs of “Ron and Tammy: Part 2″ or “Media Blitz.” Still, since the show’s about to take a three-week break (the next new episode won’t air until March 17), I wish this episode had had a little more punch.

But enough about what I think. Here are some highlights from tonight:

- “February ’96. The steak? Ribeye. The whiskey? Lagavulin 16. The lady next to me? A bitch.”

- Leslie, convincing Tom to invite Ben to the “antihistamine party”: “Come on, Tom. Take him under your tiny little wing.” Thankfully, Tom’s invitation may have prevented Ben from being murdered by the owner of the motel he’s living in.

- “I want to treat April like a queen, and queens deserve flowers… and massages. Chocolate. Booze. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds. Them treasure chests, full of scarves. Different kinds of lubes that warm up when you rub ‘em on stuff!”

- Awkward Ben Moment of the Evening: Tom says, “Hey, champ!” B replies, “Hey, champ…ion.” Also, that “his drink” is a Miller Lite.

- Leslie wants Ron to stop on the way to Indianapolis so they can see Dame Gervin’s Misshapen Celebrity Castle. “It’s where Madame Toussaud’s sends all of its failed wax figures, and if you can figure out who it is, you can take it home!”

- At the Snake Hole, Andy orders a Pawnee Sunrise for April. What do you think is in one of those?

- Ron wonders, agonized, what happened to the steaks that were in Mulligan’s when it was closed down: “Do you think they got eaten?”

-  More on Dennis Feinstein: His other fragrances include Thickening, Itch, Coma, and SideBoob. All day, people pitch scents to him, like one called Sluts. His real name is Dante Fiero, but he changed it because Dennis Feinstein is much more exotic in Pawnee.

- April snags an entire tray of pigs in a blanket by telling a waiter that she’s suffering from a pork deficiency. Later, she pretends to be a waitress to get tips, telling the bartender that her dad owns the place and her name is Janet Snakehole.

- “You know what’s funny about Ann? She’s my best friend. And anyone who hurt her is someone I would murder probably.”

- Leslie’s montage of horrifying breakup stories was also pure gold. My favorite: “Skywriting isn’t always positive.”

What did you think of the episode, Pawneeans?


Comments (77 total) Add your comment
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  • Chancey

    I doubt rob lowe is gone for good after announcing he is a series regular.
    I loved how Ron started to collapse when he realized that mushrooms were being grilled instead of steaks.

  • OT

    Noooooooo! I love Chris and Ben! If Chris leaves, then doesn’t Ben have to too since they’re a team? This season of Parks and Rec has been awesome, especially with the additions of Rob Lowe and Adam Scott!

    • Liz

      I know! I’m more concerned about Adam Scott leaving. Is he a regular yet?!?!?!

  • jt

    I tho’t this was a typically funny and good episode. I am so glad Andy and April are together. They’re so darn cute. LOVE Adam Scott. And I hope Rob stays on as he’s actually quite good here, and his character fits right in with this group.

  • Chris

    Are you new to watching/reviewing Parks & Rec? Rob Lowe gone? Fail. This episode was one of the six that was shot last Spring while Amy was ‘early’ in her pregnancy and before they locked up Rob Lowe as a regular.

    And let me give a shout-out to the best Dennis Feinstein scent that’s barely mentioned in any of these internet reviews: Blackout…the ether-based cologne!

    • Verity

      That explains the pregnancy jacket! I was wondering why they were working so hard to cover her stomach last night. Had no idea they had filmed future episodes before her leave.

    • Karate Pants

      Thank you! Blackout deserved a mention. After all, it was “named one of Maxim’s Top 100 Ways to Trick a Girl Into Having Sex.”
      I also think you should link up the fans to the sickest website for the sickest club in Pawnee:

      http://www.snakeholelounge.com/

  • Dave

    I thought this was a really funny episode. I don’t think Ron’s storyline, or April and Andy’s, was flimsy at all. It was hilarious. I nearly fell off the couch when Ron opened the grill to see those mushrooms instead of steaks. And I loved that he told the waiter at the diner that he literally wanted all of their bacon and eggs. April getting that dude at the bar to buy her a drink was funny. And Andy rolling over that little table was awesome too.
    And I agree, Leslie’s collection of bad breakup stories was gold.

    • Carla

      OMG! The breakup stories had me laughing out loud!! “Don’t eat anything..Rachel’s coming!”

      • Karate Pants

        Yes, I want a list of the break up lines! The writer liked the skywriter line, but that has NOTHING on the others…

      • Mr. Holloway

        “Who’s Rebecca?” “EXACTLY.”

    • Mr. Holloway

      The bad breakup stories reminded me of the bad first date stories from season 2’s “The Practice Date.”

      I wonder if that stuff is written or if they just late Amy riff for 5 minutes and then cut the best stuff together. (Same for Chris Pratt and the stuff his queen deserves.)

      • JLC

        I think you’re right and it’s the latter. The breakup stories were like Leslie’s list of the town motto for Pawnee. Some of the funniest stuff on the show.

      • Johnification

        I read an interview with Mike Shur where he says that they basically write a bunch, then Amy/Chris will start improv’ing a few. It’s about an even split.

      • Mr. Holloway

        @ Johnification

        That sounds right. I remember reading an interview with Jenna Fischer where she said that “The Office” (where Schur was a writer) had complete scripts for every episode, but that the actors were still given room to play around.

        When you have leads like Poehler and Steve Carell (as well as each show’s talented ensembles), it’d be a waste not to let them improv a bit.

      • Dave

        Yeah I remember hearing that Amy improv’d the dating stories from “The Practice Date.”

  • Robert

    Rob Lowe isn’t going anywhere. “Indianapolis” was the last episode to shoot last spring when the production was working around Amy Poehler’s pregnancy, before Lowe had officially become a regular. At this point, he was still a guest star, so things were left open ended.

  • Katja

    I thought this episode was great, including all of the stuff with April and Andy scamming free stuff/money and the Ron-want-meat storyline. Everything Ron Swanson said in this episode LIT-erally made me LOL. I can see a possible future where the overuse of meat-eating jokes gets old, but for me, that future has not yet arrived!

    • sjcb

      I just LITerally LOLd at your “LITerally made me LOL” comment! Nicely done. I never tire of him saying that word.

    • Liz

      I have added LIT-erally to my vocab. I also now point at people and repeat their first and last names. My friends think it’s so obnoxious but I just laugh hysterically every time.

  • Ugly Jenny

    I didn’t know people didn’t like Ann, I guess I’m in the minority. I might be biased to liking her since I’m a nurse too. And by the way, nurses work three 12 hour shifts, so it’s totally plausible that she could hang out in city hall because hospital nurses don’t work everyday!
    I really hope Rob Lowe will make his way back to Pawnee, I love his character and he is just so handsome! No wonder he’s in the Handsome Mens’ Club!

    • Natalie

      I’m with you. I never even fathomed that there would be Ann hate! I think Ann is great. Her facial expressions to the camera are priceless.

    • Ha!

      I totally agree with both of you – Ann is hilarious and, like her friend Leslie said, sweet and beautiful. I love the supportive friendship between Ann and Leslie.

  • tracy bluth

    Ann is starting to grow on me. I’ve loved Rob Lowe on this show since the line “Stop. Pooping.” in the flu episode (which may just be my favorite of the whole series)

    • marymary

      Me too. I loved this episode and am so glad that Rob Lowe and Adam Scott are sticking around. All the subplots were perfect and I am guessing the ending with Leslie talking about all her breakup’s was Amy Poehler ad-libbing, she is just awesome.

    • Liz

      I love love love Adam Scott and hope he sticks around for as long as the show runs.

  • Johnification

    As much as I laughed during the entire episode, my favorite part was April’s talking head interview at the beginning…cutest thing ever.

    • elena

      Loved that. It totally proved why the documentary style works for a show like Parks and Rec.

  • LOL

    They really need to give Adam Scott more to do. Time’s a wastin’.

  • xti

    Ron Swanson’s plot was amazing. I predict a rise in steak sales starting tomorrow.

    • Mr. Holloway

      Not to mention bacon and egss.

      (“I worry what you just heard was, ‘Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.’ What I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?”)

    • Snsetblaze

      I know. I’m craving one now.

  • Ded

    Great episode, awesome show, easily one of the most intelligent comedies on the air. Leslie is pure gold.

  • no cars go

    i really love the tom/ben interaction. the conversation about what ben was going to wear to the party was great. and the fact that ben was sticking up for tom by dumping the whole bottle of tommy fresh into dennis feinstein’s suv and then gagging on it. cute and hilarious. i love that this show doesn’t always stick to the same pairings of characters. when they explore new pairings like ron/andy and ben/tom it creates some great scenes.

  • Darko

    A pawnee sunrise definitely contains something from sweer’ums.

    • court

      The Snakehole Lounge has it’s own website.

      This is the Pawnee Sunrise:

      FEATURED DRINK

      Pawnee Sunrise
      Inspired by the color of the sky the morning of the 1906 Pawnee Bread Factory Fire. Who knew burning flour and yeast looked so orangey green?

      Sweetums does have it’s own drink–Sweetums Fizz

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