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Even a week is too long to be without Parks and Recreation, so it's return after this briefest of hiatuses is still much anticipated. For the most part, “Meet 'n' Greet” met that unwarranted expectation with a Halloween bash at the Dwyer's. Though Leslie's failed attempt at schmoozing some local businessmen didn't earn quite as many laughs as the costumed soiree, it wasn't dry enough to bring down this episode, which proved to be a strong return for the series.
While Leslie was unsuccessfully courting the small business vote, the real fun was happening at Andy and April's, and an unwilling Ben's, Halloween extravaganza. Right from the opening, the storyline was drawing laughs for April's macabre list of party supplies. I don't know what “blood orphans” are either, Andy, and I think that's probably for the best. Things really started cooking once everyone donned their costumes, well except for Ben. Turns out his housemates forgot to inform him of the festivities, but showing us the key to a long, miserable life is repressing all that anger, Ben just drops a few passive-aggressive comments. Comments that Andy and April are, as usual, hilariously oblivious to. Adam Scott in a “straight man” role is always money in the bank, and it only became better once Andy decided the only way to make Ben open up was to force him to spend half the night in a headlock.
Andy certainly has the gut needed to impersonate the Iceman, and with Ben refusing to reprise his Caped Crusader look, Andy's Chuck Liddell definitely won the best costume award(the Kempo tattoo really sold it). Which isn't to say there weren't a few rivals to the crown. Sherlock Traeger was hilarious during his initial introduction, though his biggest laugh had nothing to do with his costume, but was actually in Chris' response to Jerry assuring him he didn't mind if he invited Millicent to the party; “You're beautiful! ...on the inside, where your spirit lives.” Jerry would soon come to regret that decision, once he was forced to watch the pair dirty dancing in between their make out sessions; which actually was a little more disturbing than funny. You can't put it past sumo-wrestler-April(sorry, former sumo-wrestler-April) to have just swiped Chris's keys out of pure spite, but even if she wasn't doing it to helpt the sad sack, it was still a nice little piece of payback for the rough night Jerry endured.
Ron reusing his pirate costume -which he makes clear is the only one he ever uses- was a nice little nod back to the second season. Captain Ron(who is much funnier than Kurt Russell) also killed it when he shut down the clerk's attempts to help him at the home improvement store by bluntly informing him that he knows more. While Ann's eggplant costume was about as exciting as the vegetable itself, her time spent with the mustachioed buccaneer more than made up for it. Ann has still been struggling with finding a storyline that lasts longer than a single episode, and though a romantic relationship seemed like the best solution, a teacher/student type friendship with Ron wouldn't hurt either. Whether it continues on or not remains to be seen, but judging only from their time together in “Meet 'n' Greet” maybe it should. Ann latching on to Ron and enjoying the natural high that comes from accomplishment in itself was great, but it was for her self-invented repair jargon, like “fuse hose,” for which she really shined.
For the second time in the series, Leslie was missing out on the Halloween party, and just as when she dealt with Greg Pikitis, her evening turned out to be no fun at all. Tom having to screw over Leslie in a last ditch effort to save his failing business would have played better if he was just a little funnier while doing so. Annoyingly asinine Tom can be hilarious, but he can also be just plain annoying. Maybe I could feel more sympathy, but with his business failing Tom should be returning to City Hall, ensuring his infectious humor is around 24/7 – or 7/20, if you will. Not that he hasn't been getting plenty of face time while away from the Parks Department; as he did quite literally in this episode by plastering his mug on any surface he could find. Unfortunately for Tommy, it seems that just putting logos on every ubiquitous object known to man isn't a very solid business strategy. It also isn't a good idea to go with so much pizazz when dealing with the “Nipple King” of Pawnee, Martin Kernston(With a moniker like that who could have guessed he wouldn't like a little showmanship?). The mobile hot tub probably didn't help either, but it was one of the funnier moments to come from the plot. Tom made things up to Leslie with the touching campaign video, but besides it and few other moments, the storyline was a bit of a miss for the usually hilarious duo.