Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Bus Tour': The mad pie-man
Things get frantic in the campaign's final hours
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I spray paint nipples on the Lincoln Memorial...
Even though "Parks and Rec" has devoted most of this season to the story of Leslie's campaign, and even though Leslie and Ben have done everything they possibly can to overcome a string of bad breaks and the well-funded Newport political machine, there's a sense as we get to the season's penultimate episode that all that time still wasn't enough. Because "Parks and Rec" was telling other stories in addition to the campaign, there wasn't time to fill in every detail (like, for instance, how Leslie won the senior vote away from Bobby after the events of "Campaign Shake-Up"). And because Leslie and Ben dug such a deep hole from themselves earlier in the campaign, they're still scratching and clawing here in the final hours, even after Leslie destroyed Bobby with her closing speech at the debate.
And the frantic nature of the campaign's final day leads to an episode that's a little too frantic itself, with a lot of good individual gags and stories — and a terrific climactic scene with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd — but that didn't come together as successfully as "The Debate" or some of this season's other highlights.
In particular, I could have done without the sequence where Leslie's campaign bus pulled up to the Newport mansion just as Jen Barkely was orchestrating a solemn memorial service for Nick Sr., then ran over the painting of Nick. Even though Ben later beats himself up for falling into Jen's trap, it felt like too cheap a joke. There's Jen outsmarting her heroes because she's smarter than they are, and there's our heroes screwing up because they're suddenly very stupid. This was the latter.
The bus tour also brought back Burt Macklin, FBI for his greatest case yet — plus great code names like "Been There, Done That" (Ann), "Currently Doing That" (April) and "It Happened Once In A Dream" (Donna) — which in turn brought back Sewage Joe for some revenge on Ben after the sexting scandal from the season premiere. It's very Andy to be too busy celebrating his triumph to actually stop Joe from hitting Ben with the pie. Macklin, you sonuvabitch!
And other last-minute election prep brought Nick Offerman face-to-face with the other Man Who Would Be Swanson, Mike O'Malley (Mike Schur says he was a very close second for the part) as the van rental guy who decides to take advantage of his unexpected leverage to extort the Knope campaign. Much as I love Ron, I was pleased that the solution to the problem came not from him (since he's occasionally in danger of becoming a superhero), but Donna, whom we learn loves Leslie more than her Benz when she's willing to damage the car further to extort the extorter for the necessary vans.
And Jen Barkely's expressed interest in Chris from last week pays off when she finally rescues him from his recent existential despair by inviting him to have sex with her in one of the many, many Newport mansion bedrooms. Rob Lowe flashed a great smile as Chris agreed to that plan, didn't he?
Finally, a couple of notes on alternate version and alternate distribution: 1)NBC.com (and Hulu, I assume) is hosting extended cuts of this episode, last week's, and (after it airs), the finale; and 2)The show has been airing on Tuesday nights in Canada (I'm not sure if this is a recent development or something that's been going on all year and I only heard about recently), which means that the election results are going to be out in the ether before the finale airs here a week from tonight. Be careful with your web-surfing if you don't want to know.
What did everybody else think?
Trending Now on HitFix Boards
News From Our Partners
- The Wrap Up: Remember 'The Office' With the Ultimate Blooper Reel The Sims 3: Island Paradise's Producer Walkthrough Shows Us the Finer Points of Tropical Life 'Man of Steel' Featurette: Reinventing Superman
- The 'Doctors' Unite 'We Are Men' In 4 Words MTV Legend Recalls Heavy Metal Frontman's Anti-Gay T-Shirt Controversy
- Fiery 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Scene Hurt The Most: Ouch! How Far Will 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Boldly Go At Box Office? 'Star Trek Into Darkness': The Secret Behind The Mystery Villain
- Beyonce Pregnant Again? Sources Confirm 'Epic' Star Is Carrying Baby No. 2 'Hangover 3' Red Band Trailer: Take a Walk Down a NSFW Memory Lane (VIDEO) Why 'Man of Steel' Didn't Use 'Superman' in the Title
- Cannes Film Festival: Cannes 2013, Day Three: Cheers for the young stars of The Selfish Giant, jeers for the new films by Hirokazu Kore-eda and Arnaud Desplechin Hear This: Destroy This Place shows how press releases can get it right Watch This: With Beavis And Butt-head Do America, Mike Judge skewered the idiocy of cinematic adventures
- Kendall Schmidt of Big Time Rush Loses $7,000 Worth of Gifts for Fans [Video] Kanye West to Drop New Album 'Yeezus' on June 18 Justin Bieber + Selena Gomez Will Sit Together at 2013 Billboard Music Awards
- Weekly Ketchup: Will Smith to Star in Wild Bunch Remake? Critics Consensus: Star Trek Into Darkness is Certified Fresh Red Carpet Roundup: Star Trek Into Darkness Edition
- The Telefile - The Most Heinous Person on Reality TV This Week The Telefile - Modern Family: The Best Lines of the Night The Telefile - Fall TV 2013: What's On When
Promising pilots, puzzling scheduling moves and moreSunday, May 19, 2013
The Doctor uncovers Clara's secret and comes face-to-face with a surprising figureSaturday, May 18, 2013
Dan and Alan also discuss the recent finales of 'Survivor' and 'The Amazing Race'Friday, May 17, 2013
Dwight gets married and the staff revisits the documentary in a lovely farewellThursday, May 16, 2013