Parks and Rec 2-10: Shoot me

Plot: The whole crew goes hunting, and someone shoots Ron in the head. More importantly, they shoot out one of Donna’s car’s windows. Left behind at work, April and Andy become friends. Also, women can’t shoot guns good because they get tunnel vision.

Deep Thoughts: Wow is there a major writing problem with this episode. I mean, you get past it pretty fast, but the setup premise is that Ron, Mark, and Jerry have a years-long history of a guys’ hunting trip, and that Leslie insists the whole office be invited. We’ve seen Ron have a relationship with Tom, who is sad about not being invited. But seriously, have we ever seen Ron, Jerry, and Mark exchange even single words of pleasantries with each other? And suddenly they’re hunting buddies and have in-jokes like pantsing rules and war cries?

Anyway. Once you get over the massive suspension of disbelief (and preemptive gratitude for the better writing starting in Season 3!), this episode has some funnies. We learn about Donna’s unhealthy passion for her car, we see some of the deep love between Leslie and Tom, and best of all, APRIL-AND-ANDY STARTS HERE.

Your Related Link For The Day: This episode manages to be about guns without being political. When I say it’s “about” guns, I mean that I think it does intend to make some points. Leslie, who is typically quite liberal, is apparently not only familiar with firearms but quite good at using them, and Ann’s first time shooting leaves her interested in doing it again. The fact that none of the previously ultra-liberal characters feels the need to voice a negative opinion about guns or shooting (or shooting animals!) at all is a point in its non-pointedness, if that makes sense. Because if there were going to be a show to hit on any of those points, you’d think it would be this one. So here’s a Rolling Stone article from a couple years ago on the rise of women’s gun culture, including the surprisingly feminist directional changes to the industry after businesses noticed that women also have money.

Jerrybashing: None. But we do learn that Jerry has a wife and three lovely daughters who don’t let him pee standing up?

Donna Is Cooler Than You: Well, she certainly has a nicer car than you do. Or she did, before Tom shot out the window.

Somebody Get Tom Some Therapy: Tom doesn’t have a hunting license so he can’t confess to the park rangers and therefore has to allow Leslie to be subjected to some very stupid sexism. But he isn’t willing to allow Leslie to be subjected to Ron’s anger — or more likely he isn’t willing to watch their relationship suffer from Ron’s misallocation of blame. Tom’s okay in this episode.

April Is My Patronus:  Let’s talk about April and Andy. Andy thus far hasn’t been a very impressive character, skirting very close to some stupid Hollywood stereotypes about the romantic nature of stalking and not-taking-no-for-answer. (See tomorrow’s post for more on that!) Plus, he’s a moron. But April’s peculiar brand of complete self-awareness allows us to see Andy in a new, much more attractive light. Now that I think about it, the biggest thing they have in common is that they are both totally themselves at all times. April is much more analytical about what that is and how it reads to others, while Andy could probably never self-analyze to save his life. But they give equal fucks (that is, zero) about how anybody else judges them. And I adore them together.

And here is a link to the obvious NSFW song from Erika Jayne, speaking of people who seem to be extremely self-possessed and not care what people think of them. I hope Erika is half as secure as she seems, because if it’s all repression or acting I would be very sad.

There Is Only One Ron Swanson: I love Ron’s very self-aware defense of sexist guy culture. “Leslie, please. I don’t care that you’re a girl. I just don’t like change.” It’s honest and it’s real and I’d like to discuss it with him over a beer, because it also can’t be allowed to continue.

The LOL moment: There are several great moments in this episode, but the one that literally ripped a laugh out of me was the very last scene in which we discover that Ron’s had the back of his head shaved. It’s so ridiculous, but he’s navigating his life as if he expects absolutely nobody to mention it, and so they don’t. But I can giggle.

I am Leslie: Leslie’s sad attempts to join the pantsing club resonate with me. There is nothing harder than hanging out with a fun group and knowing you’re not quite part of the group, and not quite all of the jokes make sense. Sometimes you just have to serve your time — by the end of the episode, Ann’s pantsing of Tom feels okay and it’s clear a new group has sort of formed. But sometimes you’re on the outside looking in, and I too struggle with letting that be okay.

I want to be more like Leslie: Faced with that condescending asshole of a park ranger, I would flush, probably start to shake — maybe even to cry — and not be able to articulate to him at all why I was upset or that he’d done something wrong. This is probably one of the benefits of being a made-up and scripted character-person instead of a real-world sort of person, but Leslie’s feels-like-improv responses to his casual sexism are worth revisiting.

I let my emotions get the best of me.
I cared too much, I guess.
I was thinking with my lady parts.
I was walking and I felt something icky.
I thought there was gonna be chocolate.
I don’t even remember.
I’m wearing a new bra and it closes in the front, so it popped open and it threw me off.
All I wanna do is have babies! Are you single?
I’m just, like, going through a thing right now.
I guess when my life is incomplete I wanna shoot someone.
This would not happen if I had a penis.

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