Thursday, February 27, 2014

REVIEW: 'Parks and Recreation' - Ben Tries to Give Leslie the Surprise Face in 'Anniversaries'

NBC's Parks and Recreation - Episode 6.14 Anniversaries

Ben attempts to surprise Leslie with a special anniversary gift; Tom and Andy try to help Leslie bring positive light to the Pawnee-Eagleton merger; and April asserts her new authority as Donna's boss.

"Anniversaries" was just a really funny episode of Parks and Recreation. It's so reaffirming and refreshing to know that a comedy in its sixth season can still produce an episode where it's firing on all cylinders. Nearly every joke just works. The fact that the show returns from hiatus - as well as the first episode without Ann or Chris - this strong gives a great indication of what's to come for the rest of the year.

And there's nothing really huge that happens in this episode. Leslie continues to deal with the response from the Pawnee-Eagleton merger, Ben tries to plan a great surprise for Leslie for their one year anniversary and April has to learn how to communicate with Donna as her new boss. All of the plots were given the exact right amount of time necessary while also finding the hilarity in everything the characters did.

I could listen to Ron writing his version of "Anonymous Online Comments" all day long - but the show wisely keeps it to a minimum. Ben tries to give Leslie the surprise face by doing some extravagant planning for the day before their anniversary - only for Leslie to be too busy to do anything with him. The dance between Ben and Jerry was so great as well as proving that Jerry can be funny without people ragging on him all the time or spilling food on himself.

As much as Ben tried to make Leslie have the surprise face, she actually does give it in a moment where he's nowhere near her. So proud of what this new committee was able to create in just an hour was such an overwhelming feeling for her. It was like that for the show too. Sure, a lot of jokes can be made at these characters but they have also grown into capable characters. Being able to draft this festival idea shows just how far this show has come.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Anniversaries" was written by Megan Amram and directed by Morgan Sackett.
  • The episode even had great comedic guest turns by Dan Castellaneta, John Hodgman, Debra Mooney and Peter Bonerz. This episode was literally jam-packed with fun.
  • Jim O'Heir and Retta finally get into the opening credits!
  • Also hilarious - Donna saying "Mjolnir" multiple times.
  • Please tell me that the Game of Thrones throne is going to become a permanent set piece on the comedy. If not, I'll be severely disappointed.
  • Ben: "She's going to make the face this year! She will make that stupid face!"
  • Ron: "Dear frozen yogurt, you are the celery of desserts. Be ice cream or be nothing. Zero stars!"
  • Ron: "Dear Canda, (bleep) you."