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PARKS & RECREATION, “Ms. Knope Goes To Washington” – Strong Season Premiere

*Spoilers*

One of the funniest (if not the funniest) shows on television is back! And it is back with a whole lot of ideas that can make Season 5 the best one yet. So of course with the new season, comes a new project for Leslie Knope: she is going to clean up the Pawnee River. Her first step: conveniently be in Washington D.C. to get federal funding. With her is Andy, who is inept as ever, peeling apart gum hoping it would be a map just like the fictional one on a fictional Declaration of Independence in a fictional movie. But if Andy doesn’t make you laugh with everything he says I’m not sure you’re watching the right show.

Ron Swanson is back, and determined to be a better meat-loving, rule-breaking Ron Swanson than he has ever been. When he throws Leslie’s traditional barbecue to thank the Parks Dept. employees, he foregoes every non meat-related activity she usually plans. And when Jerry asks for corn-on-the-cob, Ron ferociously declines. Instead, he’s going to proudly kill his own food. Or at least he wants to. But it’s OK, he has a permit that clearly outlines “I can do what I want.”

Season 4 ended with Tom and Ann restarting their relationship. So what does Season 5 have in store for Haverkins? Nothing. That story might have seemed like an attractive one at first, but it looks like Tom and Ann won’t be together for what was really the sake of just another workplace relationship. Ben and Leslie, and Andy and April are enough, right? Besides, does Tom seem like a guy who can or would want to hold a serious relationship? And Ann’s already dated both Andy and Chris Traeger(!). Easy to see why Haverkins doesn’t appeal to the writers in the long run.

Ron’s behavior is tied-down toward the end of the episode when Chris insists that he can’t keep acting this way. This authoritative, yet friendly, stance by Chris is reminiscent of when Mark Brendanawicz held is own against Ron in Season 2. And the outcome is the same–Ron caves and does what he’s told–he thanks everyone with a huge stack of corn-on-the-cob.

The cameos of Senators Barbara Boxer, Olympia Snowe, and John McCain round out an outstanding season premiere. After meeting Boxer and Snowe, or #4 and #27 on her list of influential women to meet, Leslie goes to the coat closet for some privacy with her emotion. Enter John McCain. Or as Leslie knew him, just some pestering guy who she doesn’t even bother looking at. It does seem a little unbelievable that a regular city councilwoman would get to meet such amazing people. But she’s not just a regular woman (as a few people in D.C. have made her out to be)–she’s Leslie Knope!

Best moments:

Donna laughing hysterically at the pig who is hilariously named, Tom.

Ben’s response of “Pants” to Andy asking if the government cocktail party would be a “pants or shorts affair.”

Leslie: “Am I living the dream? I don’t know! Did I also just walk past a food truck and buy myself a waffle sundae, yes!”

Andy: “Hey Leslie, is this the train from Back to the Future 3? I think it is!”

Ron: “And most of all, there will be no ****ing vegetables.”

(on Tom, the pig) “He’s basically a dog. A dog that we are going to cook, chew, and swallow.”

Bottom line: Parks and Rec may have started out as Amy Poehler‘s show. But it has grown into much more than that–each character is extremely likable and the actors in the roles even seem overqualified. But that’s part of what makes Parks and Recreation one of the best sitcoms on TV.

I will be recapping each new episode of Parks and Recreation, as well as The Office this fall. Please follow @MattBenincasa and @ScreenInvasion on Twitter!

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The Author

Matt Benincasa

Matt Benincasa

Matt is an actor and writer from NYC, attending Fordham University with a Major in Communications and Minor in Theatre.