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Parks and Recreation Swing Vote – Review: Putt-Putt Pandering

Despite the welcome reappearance of my spirit animal, Mona-Lisa Saperstein, and a new tune from the artist formerly known as the lead singer of Mouse Rat, this episode was, in a word, blah. Although I don’t expect sitcoms to consistently feature episodes that move the plot forward (we did get some of that last week with regards to the Ann/Chris baby), I expect the laughs to be fast and furious. Sadly, it seems Parks and Rec phoned this one in, but let’s hope next week’s finale brings it with the funny.


You down with P.P.P.P.P. (Yeah, you know me). Unfortunately for Leslie, Ron’s not down with keeping the Pawnee Palms Public Putt-Putt open, especially when doing so requires $9,000 of taxpayer money. As we’ve seen many times before on this show, when Leslie backs a cause, she’s all in, even if it means sucking up to Jamm and pumping him full of sugary snow cones as he plays on the golf course. Don’t get me wrong; as much as I love a good game of mini-golf, I’m not fully convinced as to why Leslie wants to keep it open, aside from calling it the “Toy Story 3 of places.” More so, I hate that she panders to Jamm’s demands to get his vote, even going so far as to tank her golf game. Why, Leslie? You’re so much better than that weasel.

Ron and Leslie have butted heads in the past, most recently about her bailout idea for Pawnee's video emporium. This issue ended in much the same way – with Ron erring on the side of logic and proving that despite his anti-government stance, his views aren’t entirely off-base. The dynamic between Ron and Leslie has grown exponentially over the past five seasons, and it’s nice that they’re able to discuss things like rational human beings. Moreover, I love to see them balance each other out, especially when Leslie has a well-intentioned, but unrealistic or impractical idea, which has happened more often since her stint on the City Council began.


Of course, Jamm proves he’s a snake, which leads Leslie to storm into Ron’s office. Rightfully, she doesn’t want to be lumped in with Jamm’s “people like us” statement, and her anger manifests itself in a hilarious yet touching six-point list, which she recites with great aplomb. This scene exemplifies why no one else could play Leslie Knope like Amy Poehler. Honestly, if she doesn’t take home a Best Actress Emmy for this role, I’ll be so disappointed because she’s inhabits her role so perfectly. Afterward, they share a drink and trade compliments – Leslie calls him a wonderful human being for keeping to his rigid honor code, and Ron tells Leslie that he respects her – and it makes me smile because it shows how well they work together and how much their friendship has evolved. Leslie’s incredibly smart and determined, but I wonder how she’d manage without Ron’s no-nonsense opinions. Hopefully that day never comes!

Mouse Rat, now known as Rat Mouse, has been a staple on the show over the years, most notably in tribute to Lil' Sebastian, but their singer/songwriter/t-shirt designer/nacho chef is missing from the line-up! As I watched, I Googled the band and stumbled onto their genius website. I had no idea they had so many prior names! In any case, it’s a silly little B-plot of Andy’s band playing a show without him because of a misunderstanding, but we do get a lovely ditty about swans. Chris Pratt is quite a talented singer, don’t you think?


As for Tom, even though his ridiculous relationship with Mona-Lisa makes no sense, it makes more sense than his dalliance with Ann. Zing! Still, his recruitment of Ann for help to end his relationship with Mona-Lisa makes for a funny, if not predictable, turn, especially since it goes horribly wrong for Ann when she’s drafted as Mona-Lisa’s new best friend. It’s always great when Ann’s taken out of her comfort zone and allowed to go crazy, even if it’s against her will. And much like Mona-Lisa’s first appearance on the show, I can’t criticize anything she does because she’s amazingly kooky. Who keeps a screwdriver in their purse? But oh, how I wish we had been privy to the scene of her throwing a cinderblock through a windshield as she says, “Bitch, you’re gonna get pregnant,” after stealing birth control pills to later sell as ecstasy. Oh, girl. Can we please get an episode delving into the Saperstein twins' backstory? I would be all over that like melted cheese on nachos.

Notes & Quotes

-- Chris offers to be “conversational lubricant,” and I could not stop laughing at that phrase. Also, gross.

-- Jamm: “You know I have irritable bowel syndrome, you racist.” I hate Jamm. That’s no secret. But I can’t deny that he has some great lines.

-- I shouldn’t be surprised that April listens to German death reggae, Halloween sound effects records from the 1950s, and Bette Midler.

-- Leslie: “Math is worthless in real life. I mean, there’s an app for calculating tips. That’s all you need.” But she doesn't let it end there, continuing with, “Math is very important, especially for young women, Stay in school.” That’s just so Leslie.

-- The things Leslie yells to throw Ron off his game: bean sprouts, tofu, Ralph Nader, that Ayn Rand is a terrible writer.

-- I wonder what Anna Nicole body spray smells like.

-- I can’t decide which Mona-Lisa quote is my favorite so I’m listing three: “I’m gassy. Let’s make out.” “Mm, yeah, 'cause I don’t eff with poorsies.” “What the mother-effing, c-ing, ess-ing, effing, k-ing eff is going on right now?”

-- Tom: “Be nice to Chenille O’Neal.”

-- Ben’s relegated to the sidelines in this episode, not getting to drink or even pick the place for their celebration, but I couldn’t help but laugh at him excitedly yelling “The Beatles!” when Andy asks the crowd to name another band with two lead vocalists.



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