Thursday, October 3, 2013

REVIEW: 'Parks and Recreation' Heads to Familiar Territory by Dealing with Eagleton in 'The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic'

NBC's Parks and Recreation - Episode 6.03 The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic

Leslie, Ben and Chris visit Eagleton to discuss financial matters with city councilor Ingrid de Forest (Kristen Bell); Ann takes April to vet school orientation; and Ron works to "get off the grid."

The history between Pawnee and Eagleton has always been a satisfying bit of story and conflict for Leslie and company. And now, the show is embarking on a multi-episode plot exclusively around the relationship between the Pawnee characters and their Eagleton counterparts.

But the bulk of this story in this episode feels too repetitive and juvenile to the stuff that has happened before. Like every show as it ages, it suffers from falling into familiar territory. Leslie acting the way that she does toward Kristen Bell's Ingrid and the town of Eagleton is exactly how we figured she would act when she learns of their financial bankruptcy. You can tell what the series is building to so when Ben finally has the speech to her, we've already been anticipating it for 10 minutes. The prospect of this story is huge and exciting - Pawnee is going to reabsorb Eagleton. But this episode is largely set up and relies on familiar beats too much.

In a similar vein, the Ron trying to go off the grid plot feels immensely similar to last season's trip to the cabin with Tom with no screens. That story was a success but this one didn't quite work. Ron is a different man now than he was just a year ago. He now has a family to think about whenever he makes decisions. So it never felt like this plot would ever evolve into something big.

Ann and April traveling to Bloomington was the most original idea of the episode. But it also felt like setup to the much larger plot that we know is coming - Ann and Chris' eventual departure from Pawnee.