Parks & Rec 2-3: Mehhhh

Plot: Leslie judges a beauty pageant. Tom is unlikable. Ann and Mark *zzzz* sorry what? Leslie and Officer Sanderson dance around each other.

Deep Thoughts: I know the writers still hadn’t found their footing yet, and had been told to totally rethink the way this show worked after season 1. I know these things. But this episode is a reason people would have quit watching. It makes me want more of a backstory of how Leslie has ended up who and where she is, because at times she seems to have beamed down directly from a UFO after studying some How To Be Human tapes. It isn’t so much that she’s girding her loins to fight to change the way the Miss Pawnee pageant is run and what it means. It’s more like she doesn’t understand what beauty pageants are and how they’re usually judged, and she’s dislliusioned to find out the truth. I feel like someone who’s cast as a feminist and a fan of all the women Officer Sanderson has to study up on would know these things already.

Your Related Link For The Day: How to Talk to Your Boyfriend About Feminism. It’s hard, but somebody’s got to do it. And one huge part is trying to avoid the “How do you not know this?” reaction when he says something dumb. Or when he doesn’t know that Madeline Albright isn’t your grandmother, as Officer Sanderson assumes in Leslie’s office. But, greatly to his credit, by his next visit Officer Sanderson has learned who all of Leslie’s idols are, and a little bit about each of them. We can educate our less-aware friends and have fun doing it!

Ann is Mean: Andy interrupts Ann’s bizarre, stilted “second date” with Mark by existing and living in the pit. Which is weird and kind of stalkery and not that funny, sure. But when it starts raining, Mark has to pressure Ann to let Andy come inside and then she makes him sit in the corner.

Jerrybashing: Leslie has purchased $90 boquets of daffodils for each of her colleagues — except Jerry. No explanation is provided.

Somebody Get Tom Some Therapy: I can’t even with Tom in this episode. It’s to the writers’ credit that I end up loving Tom by the end of the series, because he actually is a complex, generally developing character and not just a two-dimensional asshole. It’s hard to see here, though, as he fulfills every stereotype of a frat boy judging a beauty contest.

April Is My Spirit Animal: “I may not have won [the beauty pageant], but at least I didn’t make any new friendships.”

The LOL moment: April’s impression of Leslie. “Parks, parks, parks, parks, parks, parks, Michelle Obama, parks. Gay penguins, parks, sugar, parks.”

I want to be more like Leslie: April’s impression delights Leslie. Few of us are very good at really looking at ourselves, but Leslie is almost completely free of self-doubt, and is therefore able to enjoy herself in caricature.

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