Parks and Recreation – New Slogan Review: A Satisfying Continuation
Last week, I grumbled about the fact that Leslie and Ben didn’t talk about her National Park Service job offer. I thought it was such a missed opportunity to show off their great dynamic as a couple. Well, I don’t know why I ever doubted Parks and Rec
because this episode gave us some great moments in regards to that very issue, along with the emergence of the always adorable, ping-pong playing Peebo the Panda. Huzzah for alliteration!
I could talk at nauseam about how much I love Leslie and Ben. From Leslie’s Julia Roberts/cameraman husband fantasy to Ben getting turned on by the thought of her as a dictator, they seem like such a fun, down-to-earth couple, which is why I hated that they glossed over her decision to reject Grant Larsen’s job proposal in the last episode. This time, however, we see Leslie tell Ben her anxieties about the job—and it’s not just that she doesn’t want to leave until she knows that Pawnee can survive without her.
Leslie’s professional conundrum is all too relatable—the feeling that you have outgrown your current job but are scared to try your hand at a new gig for fear of failure. It’s hard to imagine Leslie failing at anything—I mean, this is a person who does research on a new job by giving her potential boss two gigantic “Questions About the Job” binders—but it’s a valid apprehension, especially for Leslie. She has always been in the thick of things, even going so far as to personally pull bloated raccoon carcasses from a public fountain. Indeed, there’s something comforting about being involved in the nitty-gritty instead of delegating tasks to others to accomplish a big picture idea. I’ve always believed in the notion of “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” and I have to assume Leslie is the same way. But, as Ben says, the point of moving up the ladder is to think bigger and hope your leadership is enough to trust your people to see it through.
Her opportunity to practice the art of delegating comes with the new slogan debacle. The build-up leading to the Larry-led forum involves a press junket, which proves to be the perfect way to demonstrate the embarrassment of riches in Parks’
stable of side characters. To use a sports allusion, their bench is stacked! From the goofy Perd Hapley to Pawnee Today’s nutty Joan (or is it Juan?) Callamezzo, these people help to create the weird and wacky world of Pawnee, and I love any opportunity to see more of them. This time, Leslie’s focus is firmly on the shock jock duo of Crazy Ira and the Douche, played to perfection by Matt Besser and Nick Kroll. I enjoy a bit of fart humor now and then, especially when Leslie has to get in on the act with her two-sizes-too-big hoodie and backwards baseball cap. “Just chillin’ in the studes with my dudes” just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?
I’ve always admired the undercurrent of town pride in Pawnee no matter how stupid or baffling their actions can be, such as voting for a slogan like “Welcome to Douche Nation.” But somewhat surprisingly, Larry runs the forum without too much trouble, taking stock of people’s oddball ideas with his usual enthusiasm, and the proposed slogan, “When You’re Here, Then You’re Home,” which is suggested by a woman who is vaguely reminiscent of first season Leslie, isn’t half bad when it doesn’t contain any grammatical errors. Though I’m not entirely convinced that the town isn’t full of idiots—they somehow manage to install the welcome sign where people drive out of Pawnee—this episode seems to suggest that the town has the potential to exist without Leslie’s micromanagement. I mean, just the fact that they didn’t choose “Pawnee: Home of the Stick Up Leslie Knope’s Butt” as the town slogan is a step in the right direction.
Tom, meanwhile, is tackling a professional challenge of his own. Much like April and Donna, I can’t help but root for the “weird little elf” to succeed in his new business endeavor, Tom’s Bistro. Sure, he’s a skinny, handsome, Indian Mario Batali who can’t cook, but his earnest will to, in the words of Tim Gunn, “make it work” has always been one of my favorite qualities about him. And despite my indifference about his authentic Sinatra-style Italian restaurant idea, I will say that the idea of a place outside of City Hall where these characters can hang out on a regular basis—a la HIMYM
’s MacLaren's Pub—is an intriguing one. Although, it’s a shame he couldn’t find a use for that load-bearing dinosaur in his decorating scheme.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the smooth and silky return of Mr. Duke Silver! Saxophone? More like sex
ophone. It’s no wonder those middle-aged women can’t keep their undergarments to themselves. Although the side plot seems like a throwaway—unless Ron sheds his secret persona and makes an appearance at the Unity Concert—it’s nice that Andy, fellow music aficionado and Mouse Rat front man, knows about Ron’s alter ego. I really thought Ron would try to push the whole twin brother thing (I’m sure Andy would have believed it wholeheartedly), but Andy’s eagerness to keep Ron’s secret in order to persuade him to keep Duke Silver’s music alive—and share his own crazy secrets in exchange for the privilege of knowing—made for a sweet moment.
Notes and Quotes
- Turkey neck is such a disgusting description. And of course, Craig is allergic to it.
- How many waffles is two hours’ worth: 10? 25? 100?!
- Leslie: “Good, I hate paperwork. I hardly ever do it in my bed on a Saturday night while listening to old Spice Girls CDs.”
- It seems like Tom and April spent some time at the Leslie Knope School of Gift Giving with Tom giving Donna and April shoes and a Larry voodoo doll, respectively, and April giving Tom watch cologne.
- You can’t outrun the whale meat police forever.
- If Jurassic Fork looked familiar, that’s because it was in the episode “Tom's Divorce.” I’m sure Larry is beside himself with grief that it’s closed since he has eaten there three times a week for over 15 years.
- Peebo did not deserve to be defaced with a hat o’ penises.
- How does Larry keep buckling himself into chairs with his belt?!
- The portrayal of Leslie and Ben as a couple you’d love to double date with.
- Finding safe haven in a warm bathtub full of Duke Silver’s jazz.
- Anything that comes out of the Douche’s mouth.