PARKS AND RECREATION “Animal Control” Recap/Review
“There’s four ways to skin a cat.” Here, the cat is Season 5 of Parks and Recreation. It started off as a healthy, promising kitten, then it grew a beautiful coat of fur, and now it’s next to be skinned. First, you let Councilman Jamm overstay his welcome. The next step is misusing Adam Scott. Then you let April Ludgate accomplish anything. And maybe next week we’ll learn the last step. Ron Swanson is the only great thing about last night’s episode. Not just good—but great—it’s a shame, though, that nothing else is. NBC isn’t doing well, it’s actually doing terribly, so a sixth season is an unconfirmed guarantee. If there is any chance to revive the network’s lineup, Parks will have to try to avoid any desperate measures (Ann and Chris…) and have some faith in what it already is, one of the best comedy ensembles currently on television.
Since my biggest problem with “Animal Control” is it’s heavy plot, perhaps my perceived problems are more a matter of taste. If you don’t mind the plot, you may be pleased with last night’s episode. But for me, Parks and Rec has never been about the problems Leslie and co. face, because they come and go as routinely Tom’s business ideas. The Animal Control Department in Pawnee is atrocious, and after Chris gets his ankle caught in a bear trap, Leslie starts looking for new, less stoned, employees. One candidate is Orin, the creepy goth guy from the Halloween party, who claims to have psychic powers. “I made you say that,” he tells Leslie after she says “get out.” To be fair, he did make her say that. Harris Wittels, Harris, is a bright spot in the early going when he shows up to re-interview for the job he just lost. His courage to share that he has one testicle and his partner’s admission that he is very high right now gets them swiftly thrown out, and I wonder what they said that actually got them the job in the first place. Maybe it went something like, “But Councilman Jamm promised!”
Whenever this show does end, the episodes with Councilman Jamm will not be regarded as it’s finest moments. He is getting exhausting. With unusually formal proceedings, Jamm once again butts heads with Leslie, and this time it seems like his motivation is nothing more than ‘do the opposite of whatever Leslie Knope would do. It might be funny.’ A sitcom doesn’t need a villain. April suggests that Animal Control be absorbed by the Parks Dept., which Leslie proudly dubs a “brilliant idea from a dark, tortured genius.” It was a bit startling for April (who likes her hands to be cracked and callous like a railway worker) to come up with the idea, especially since not 90 seconds before did she tell Jamm that she’ll fill his office and car with snakes and train a crow to fly up his butt. Things were all going quite well when she was insisted, not only on not doing anything, but actually preventing things from being done (i.e. scheduling Ron’s meetings for 2:65).
Dennis Feinstein (Jason Mantzoukas) returns as a potential investor for Tom’s new business, and at this point I only have a loose understanding of what that actually is. When I say Adam Scott is being misused, it means that his best moments shouldn’t be talking to the camera. We do know that the trio of Tom, Andy, and Ben is a good one–when they tried playing basketball it was the funniest they have been. This week they have to impress a man who owns a Rolexus, which is a Lexus filled with Rolexes. But you can’t drive it. In which case it’s much cooler if a Rolexus were Rolexes put together in the shape of a Lexus. The scenes with “major dick” Feinstein and, of course, Ron Swanson have the funniest jokes of the episode. Honest Andy matter-of-factly calls him a dick, and they lose the chance at some of Feinstein’s fortune. Later, he comes back to apologize: “From the bottom of my heart, my bad.” I loved this. It is what Andy considers a sincere apology, but it’s far from what someone worth $20 million would want to hear.
Ron has strep throat from Diane’s kids while watching Finding Nemo, so he’s at work wearing three coats and a winter hat, and his medication is a scotch with one ice cube. You see, it’s medication because he usually drinks scotch neat (by the shelf), but soon-to-be-soon-to-be mom Ann advised him to stay hydrated. But once Ron falls right out of his chair, Ann takes him to the hospital. No surprises here; just Ron Swanson being Ron Swanson with saw dust in his ear. I have no problem with the same ol’ schtick, but if it’s the only true redeeming quality of an episode, I’d hope to sooner see a spin-off than see Nick Offerman constantly save the day. Also, it’s been more than 10 minutes since the episode aired, so by now there should be a .gif of Ron eating a banana.
“Government shouldn’t operate based on personal favors, government should operate based on good ideas.”