TVTV Recaps

PARKS AND RECREATION “Halloween Surprise” Recap/Review


First things first: does anyone else think in the picture above that Amy Poehler resembles Lucille Ball…a LOT? Ok. Moving on…

I’m not sold on why television shows (especially sitcoms) are obligated to do an episode about Halloween. It’s limiting in nature and it’s been done about 700 times before. Having said that, Parks and Recreation has found the perfect solution: Don’t really make the episode about Halloween. Also having Chris Pratt say or do anything doesn’t hurt. If the episode didn’t have so many other fantastic moments, Andy’s nonsense observations would be one of the best. Observe: “Trees..night…sky. Hand! Andy’s hand…” He didn’t tell us, but Andy went as Burt Macklin for Halloween.

A great show has to take great risks. And that’s what we saw last night with Jerry’s heart attack. And still nothing is about him. It’s the perfect thing to take Leslie’s super-thoughtful mind off of her uncertain future with Ben. But it doesn’t, because all Leslie ends up doing is projecting her own stresses and worries onto Jerry–who is refreshingly calm about his whole ordeal. But a heart attack is a serious thing–how can it belong on a sitcom? Easy. With Jerry maintaining the mentality to apologize for his “fart attack”, and Tom being so hilariously inappropriate during the whole thing, there is a perfect balance of the seriousness of  a heart attack and the comedic nature of a sitcom.

This time around, and certainly why the episode was full of awesome, the supporting cast is not neglected. Donna, just like Retta in real life, live-tweets the movies and shows she watches, and also sometimes what’s happening right in front of her. @UnfoRETTAble warns us “P.S. I live tweet my favorite shows.” Parks and Rec takes another risk by bringing an actor’s real life into the show. But it works. It just does, don’t question it. And with Tom trying to come up with his next brilliant idea (“corner snaps! That’s not an idea. That’s just two random words.“), there is always something happening. It’s impressive how well “Halloween Surprise” keeps moving, and when the show finally ends (in 40 years) fans will look back to the episode where Ben proposes as one of the best.

Ron began the episode asking the camera “What the hell just happened?”–what a lovely piece of foreshadowing. We find Leslie as she is forced to back out of the lease agreement, losing her deposit and another $300 for who cares what. It seems for the first time in her life, Leslie is thinking about herself; possibly reviewing her relationship, her career, and daydreaming about her future. Then Ben walks in. Again, another scene perfectly executed–and you find yourself not crying because you were laughing, but instead laughing because you were crying. Or at least as close to crying as Parks and Rec has ever brought you before. Ben’s proposal is so emotional because of how unexpected it was. Before it happened, it seemed as if we were closer to Ben and Leslie breaking up. If the proposal was anticipated at all, we’d all be critical of how it was done, what they said, what Leslie was wearing, how the lighting was, etc. etc. Instead the focus stays on the actual event, and everything else is gravy. Such delicious gravy.

Best Moments:

All of it.

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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.