Parks and Rec 2-11: Oh, Tom.

Plot: Tom’s getting a divorce and Leslie wants to cheer him up. Oh, and there’s a totally stupid subplot involving Andy and that nameless guy Ann’s dating who have a pool competition to see who owns Ann. Mark realizes it’s ridiculous, of course, but I don’t care because he is a zero. Andy again seems to have no idea that he’s being scary, because as we all know, stalking is love, and it’s gross, and I can’t wait for him to move on.

Deep Thoughts: If I were being sentimental and giving the writers a lot of credit, I’d say this episode is about how people can be both good and bad and do both unconsciously. Ron is in fact the only one who knows that Tom’s marriage is for his wife’s legal benefit only, and therefore he’s the only one who can properly commiserate with Tom and give him the support he needs in the situation he’s really in. On the other hand, Ron also totally misses the clues that Tom is in fact in love with his wife, and in doing so steps all over Tom’s feelings. Being a friend, like being an ally, is a process, not an identity, and it’s easily screwed up and requires constant awareness.

Your Related Link For The Day: Listicle mecca Everyday Feminism sort of recaps/steals a great blog piece from Black Girl Dangerous about the dangers of thinking of “ally” as an identity rather than a verb. But the original blog post is no longer available online. So go read this summary piece, and if it’s interesting to you or you find yourself thinking about it over time, buy the book.

Ann is Mean: Actually, in this episode Ann is right on. It totally stinks when you go out with a big group of people who order lots of alcohol and sides and sweets and then want to split the bill evenly.

Jerrybashing: Remarkably absent from the episode. Jerry picks a stupid restaurant to eat at and everybody is pretty good-humored about it. They even laugh at one of his jokes. Were the mean writers absent this week?

Donna Is Cooler Than You: This is the first time we suspect that Donna and Tom have a relationship on the side, which makes me preemptively happy. Also, the horrified look Donna shoots the camera after Leslie instructs the gang that they’re all going out for a dino-themed dinner is perfection.

Somebody Get Tom Some Therapy: Well, that’s the whole episode, isn’t it?

There Is Only One Ron Swanson: He doesn’t really like strip clubs, because he prefers intellectual conversations with tall women at the top of their fields. But he is also not above a breakfast buffet wherever it occurs.

I am Leslie: “I kind of feel like Jane Goodall studying the chimps, you know? ‘Cause there are some feminist scholars who say that stripping is a feminist act.” *horrified face as she looks around*

Some wonderful friends took me to Atlanta’s Clermont Lounge for my birthday one year. It’s on the hipster list of things to do in Atlanta and isn’t really meant for, you know, men in sad stages of solo gratification, but it’s plenty seedy and there are in fact ladies above eye level taking their clothes off. But, hipsters. So the ladies taking their clothes off were mostly being ignored by the tweedy college students who were, I kid you not, actually playing scrabble at one table. While my brain was struggling to process feminist theories of stripping-as-empowerment, I had no such difficulty being outraged by the ennui. If you’re going to go to a strip club, at least have the manners to watch while the nice lady strips!

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