Dirty political tactics – are they ever okay? What if we’re talking about a tactic to help Leslie Knope win her recall election? That’s the question we had to ask ourselves this week. We also contemplated the menace of The Grid, and watched Anne take advice from April (try not to gasp too hard.)
TV RECAP: Parks & Recreation S6, E3
So, what’s the verdict? Are dirty politics ever okay? Maybe when the opponent is an annoyingly perfect Eagletonian who condescendingly offers you a bowl of crystal fruit. It was kind of cute to watch Leslie get all evil and schadenfreude-y on Eagleton. She spends so much of her time being kind and supportive and compassionate that it’s nice to see her letting off some steam and doing some light gloating. And we can all get behind bullying Eagleton, right? They don’t talk about money because it’s gauche. They tip everyone with hundred Euro bills. They keep their budget files in white leather trunks. Didn’t you love how even while gloating and bullying, Leslie still makes excellent use of PowerPoint, with neat bullet points and enthusiastic selfies?
But of course, in a world governed by the pristine morality of Leslie Knope, there was never any real doubt that Eagleton would get a helping hand from Pawnee. Of course Leslie helps out her neighbours – she’s Leslie! She can’t help but be generous. She can’t help but be helpful. It’s in her DNA. It’s why we love her, after all, and why we all want to be her friend – because we know that she’ll always share whatever she has with someone in need (even if what she has isn’t much more than a pile of recalled apples).
Oh, you were worried about Leslie and Ben when they were arguing over Eagleton’s fate? Don’t worry. Of course there will be arguments, but it will never last. The show spent a long time building to their union, devoting countless episodes to convincing us without a shadow of a doubt that these two are soul mates. Such a well-suited nerd couple is pretty much unbreakable, so don’t sweat it. Instead, take pleasure in their arguments. They challenge each other – Leslie challenges Ben to have fun and think in the abstract, while Ben challenges Leslie to be analytical and practical. Arguing is just a way for them to challenge each other to be better.
After the premiere’s impromptu wedding, Ron and Diane are adjusting to married life. On Ron’s end, this adjustment mostly revolves around issues of privacy and P.O. boxes. That damn Penny Saver. In attempting to disconnect from The Grid, all of Ron’s exaggerated Libertarian kookisms come to the surface. It’s fun to watch his moustache bristle with rage, but we all know this isn’t really about mail or cell phones or credit cards. It’s obviously just displaced anxiety about the major step he took with Diane. He’s retreating from change by trying (once again) to become a reclusive mountain man, because living in the woods and eating berries is easier than facing real life and real problems.
But this is a perfect excuse for the show to make us all love Diane so much more. She talks Ron down from crazy! She compromises, allowing Ron to semi-de-Gridify himself, but she makes him keep a blocky cell phone! Okay, so their relationship isn’t the perfect symbiosis that Ben and Leslie have – but it’s honest and adult and it feels like it’s here to stay, baby.
In between all the Eagleton bullying and credit card cutting, we were also treated to more boring baby stuff with Anne. Oh, she wants organic baby blankets? Will she be doing cloth diapers? What are her thoughts on self-soothing? GOOD GOD. Is anyone supposed to care? Anne on her own is boring, so the show at least spared us that, and revisited an old favourite: Anne + April. As brief as it was, I was pleased to see this, because Anne and April really are delightful together. Anne’s the boring mom-type and April’s the perennial freak child. Mother Anne gets to act all supportive and practical while Child April acts like… well, her usual self. Anne doesn’t work on her own, but she makes an excellent straight woman. This is the only reason I’m slightly apprehensive about Rashida Jones leaving the show. I wonder who will react to April’s eccentricities when Anne is gone. Does any other character on the show even notice her weirdness anymore? Is weirdness ever quite as funny when it’s not juxtaposed with normalcy?
So, what did you think of last night’s episode? When was the last time you went to the caviar store? Do you wish you could have Michael Buble on retainer? Let us know in the comments!
Hannah McIlveen is a freelance graphic designer and TV-obsessed writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up riding horses and reading Roald Dahl books, got an art degree, and then spent the next several years moving around the country and watching television. Her greatest goals in life are to write good stuff, produce a web series, build a house with her husband, and have six cats at once. Hannah has contributed to BitchMagazine.org and is a staff blogger for the soon-to-launch TeenSized.com. She also writes her own daily blog, Click Watch Write. Hannah can be accosted on Twitter @ClickWatchWrite.