Thursday, December 6, 2012

'Parks and Recreation' Review - 5.09 Ron and Diane

        On the newest episode of NBC's Parks and Recreation, Ron, Diane and Leslie attend a wood-working awards dinner, after one of Ron's handcrafted chairs is nominated, but the happy occasion is threatened by the arrival of Tammy II (Megan Mullally); and Jerry hosts a holiday party at his home with his wife (Christie Brinkley) and some of his friends are shocked to find they were not invited.

        For some strange reason, I am always amazed by how consistently strong Parks and Recreation is. I don't think I would grade any episode from the show's current fifth season anything lower than a B - with most actually being way higher than that. I really shouldn't be surprised by this since the show has been insanely strong since its second season. But I'm always pleased that I can tune into Parks and Recreation knowing that I will be rolling on the floor in laughter by the end of each episode.
        The overall theme of the fifth season seems to be the evolution and the growing up of many of the main characters. Leslie is now in city council and standing up and making changes that she believes in. Ben had his arc of working for the campaign in Washington DC and is now happily engaged to Leslie. April is now pitching her own projects. Andy is working towards his dream job of law enforcement which subsequently led to the retirement of Burt Macklin. Ann is trying to defining herself by her morals and not those of her various boyfriends. Tom is running his new Rent A Swag business trying to avoid the mistakes of his past. Chris in therapy is finally seeing and living his life to the fullest and confronting his fears. All of these stories are phenomenal strong character pieces and necessary for a show in its fifth season to evolve and grow while main foundation stays the same. It's the theme that plagues many aging series as they grow stale and predictable over time. However, Parks and Recreation has remained so relevant and out-of-this-world hilarious while still shaking things up each week.
        Ron's continual romantic escapades goes along with these overall theme as he has finally found the perfect match for him in Diane. It was a fantastic nuance to make Leslie's emotion connection to Ron be the more intimidating threat than anything that was happening with Tammy. Tammy and all of her ridiculousness sure gave the pixillation people plenty to do but the show wisely didn't go for the simple rehash of her coming on to bring out the crazy side of Ron Swanson. Instead they paired her against Leslie with one of the strongest bits of physical comedy I have seen this season from any show. That also allowed the emotional connection between Ron and Diane to be seen for the first time so strongly. The show even brought back out his Duke Silver which is a strong recurring element that is used just enough to have a strong impact here.
        The hiring of Christine Brinkley felt purely more thematic as Jerry is married to Christine Brinkley more so than as a strong comedic addition to the cast. She was purely pleasant in the role but she was mostly there to fill in the holes of the nuances in many of the characters like Jerry, Chris and Ben. It was nice to see just how good and pleasant Jerry's home life is compared to his constant misgivings at work and the sarcastic torture he receives from Tom, April and Andy.

So what did everyone think of the episode? How does Jerry and Gale work? Have you finally catched your breath after that Leslie vs. Tammy fight in the dumpster? Share your thoughts in the comments.