Parks & Rec 2-4: Dirty secrets

Plot: A local politician’s sex scandal prompts the crew to try to gather dirt on each other. Leslie is extremely anxious about her impending first date with Officer Sanderson. She humiliates herself, but Officer Sanderson declares the next day their second date and saves the day. 

Deep Thoughts: I hate the knowing-what-happens with Officer Sanderson, because these episodes are reminding me how much I loved him for Leslie when I first watched the series. He’s awkward and adorable and so kind.

So let’s talk about Ron. It’s the first major Ron-development episode of the season. First we learn that Ron has established a “standard of human beauty” and that he thinks Tom’s wife is too hot for Tom. This is kind of gross, except that he phrases it as human beauty and then immediately rates both a woman and a man. Then, after promising not to expose Tom’s green-card marriage, Ron demands to “have [Tom’s] wife tonight.” He immediately says he’s just kidding, but this isn’t the Ron of later episodes, and his delivery is so creepy, it really bothers me.

Your Related Link For The Day: Leslie attempts to talk about the “local flora and fauna found in Pawnee” on her practice date. I’m worried about the flora and fauna of our planet this week. Head over to read about some environmental news, and then consider donating to an organization like the EDF.

Ann is Mean: Ann is not mean in this episode! She seems genuinely sympathetic to Leslie’s date problems and she tries to help. If this Ann showed up more often, I might not dislike her so actively.

Jerrybashing: Jerry declines to play the game and they force him to do so, up to and including Mark’s disclosure of the fact that Jerry was adopted, which he didn’t know. Plus, none of Jerry’s dirt is funny. This show can be really random and expect us to accept very far-fetched plot occurrences (April’s driving a riding lawnmower through Nordstrom, for example), but I just do not and never will understand what role the gratuitous Jerry-hate is supposed to fill. Is it commentary on how social dynamics can end up isolating the nicest person? Are we supposed to be okay with it or critical of it?

Donna Is Cooler Than You: Of the crew, only Donna and Tom can truly appreciate cave sex “because of the echoes and the humidity.” We know Tom cultivates the crazy-sex image, but it’s our first indication that Donna has things going on.

Somebody Get Tom Some Therapy: Tom has a couple real moments in this episode. He appears to care deeply about protecting his wife, and in the end he’s not cruel to Ron when he discovers Ron’s secret identity. It starts to look like he and Ron both live double lives: Ron as Duke Silver, and Tom as… Tom.

April Is My Spirit Animal: “Is it weird that my feelings are hurt that no one’s found any dirt on me yet?” We all want to be included, April.

The LOL moment: Leslie’s terrible English accent.

I am Leslie: “What if I get drunk and I talk about Darfur too much?” Yes.

I want to be more like Leslie: Leslie moves on. She humiliates herself, she deals with it, she experiences embarrassment, and then she moves on. In this case Officer Sanderson helps by being genuinely kind, but in her place I would ruminate and self-reproach and fret. Leslie just moves along.

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One Response to Parks & Rec 2-4: Dirty secrets

  1. Naomi says:

    I am reading back through these and I agree so much about the chronic bullying of Jerry.

    I do appreciate the fact that Jerry’s life outside the office is always shown as TERRIFIC: everyone in his family loves and appreciates him and his family clearly has a lot of fun together. (Really deeply wholesome fun, like singing songs during breakfast.) I like that the Jerry coda is all about how beloved he is by the entire Pawnee community. But the office bullying makes me sort of sad in a “but I want to LIKE these people and even Leslie is a jerk to Jerry most of the time” kind of way.

    (April can be mean to Jerry because she’s mean to everyone and a lot of the humor of her character comes from that deliberate meanness. But Leslie? WTF LESLIE.)

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