Parks and Rec 2-14: Appearance of impropriety

Plot: Leslie wants to impress new boyfriend Justin with a scintillating dinner party and accidentally ends up abusing her position by using all the Parks continuing ed teachers.

Deep Thoughts: I’ve actually thought after the last couple of episodes, or at least after writing about them, “Why am I so in love with this show again?” But this episode is back on track. I wonder if the lack of subplots — or, more accurately, the way the substories fit into the main plot (the party) without distracting from it — makes it better writing? There’s no gratuitous misogyny, lots of relationship-building, great one-liners, true-to-character writing, and Ron eats a plateload of deviled eggs. Thumbs up.

ONE small nitpick/question: Justin takes Leslie to a restaurant of some sort at which the owner thanks him for helping him emigrate. They’re eating what’s clearly meant to be foreign food. The owner is apparently white, although he has a vague Middle Eastern accent; IMDB says the character is named “Said” and the actor is Iranian-American. But the table they’re at and all the tables next to them appear to be mesob. What’s up with that?

Your Related Link For The Day: It isn’t that Leslie did anything wrong. In fact, at the outset, she tried hard to avoid doing anything wrong. The problem is that Leslie is in a position of power and there could very easily be a perception of her doing something wrong and abusing her power to control people dependent upon her for their income. Like, for example, if you were President of the United States, and you just kept randomly sending notes to a guy investigating your election. Just, you know, to tell him he was doing a good job. Because you had to fire the last guy for not doing a good job. But that’s not related, and there’s nothing illegal about telling your buddy Investigator Man that you like him, right?

Jerrybashing: Jerry’s not invited to the party because he’s boring. Sullen April and her gay boyfriends make the cut. And that guy Ann’s dating is all over the place literally whining about how his own life is boring. But Jerry’s not invited.

Donna Is Cooler Than You: I am going to have to go back and look because I don’t think Donna’s even in this episode. Thank goodness they figured out how awesome her character could be later on, because they’re really under-utilizing her here.

Somebody Get Tom Some Therapy: Tom is mad at Leslie for inviting his soon-to-be-ex-wife to the party. Tom uses his words to express his disappointment and hurt to Leslie, and she apologizes and admits he’s right. Nobody needs therapy this week! A+ communication!

There Is Only One Ron Swanson: “If I wanted to bring a large number of deviled eggs, but I didn’t want to share them with anyone else, can you guarantee fridge space?” I don’t even know how they make randomness like this shit work, but they do.

The LOL moment: It’s our very first meeting with Barney, Accountant-Comedian, and apparently also continuing ed teacher! He demands his turn sweet-talking Leslie and deadpans “When it comes to choosing accounting software, there’s no accounting for taste.” It’s painful right now, but realizing that this particular thread of humor starts here and lasts through all seven seasons is delightful. I wonder which writer is married to an accountant?

I am Leslie: My house isn’t quite that bad. But I get you, girl. You never know when you’re going to need two birdhouses.

I want to be more like Leslie:  I have a new bucket list. “There are very few things I’ve asked for in this world. To build a new park from scratch. To eventually become president. And to one day solve a murder on a train.” LEGIT.

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