A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I put a question mark on Stop signs...
After a couple of wobbly episodes, particularly where Leslie was concerned, "Gin It Up!" was much more on point, neatly balancing three different stories that did right by the characters. Not a "Parks" classic, but a solid, funny outing.
Let's take the stories from smallest to biggest, starting with Tom trying to make a move on guest star Tatiana Maslany, here playing a Doctor Without Borders who understandably wants to do some work in the overweight hot zone that is Pawnee. As funny as Maslany often is in her multiple roles on "Orphan Black" (particularly as Alison), she was more of a straight woman here, but I liked seeing someone able to verbally thrust and parry with April with no advance warning, and hope she'll get more to do when she reappears. And April's deadpan amusement at all of Tom's stupid ideas elevated what could have otherwise come across as a pretty stock sitcom plot about unnecessary lies spinning out of control. Plus, DJ Roomba!
Ron's marriage to Diane has opened up some opportunities for the show, but also a potentially huge problem: things that were hilarious about Ron Effing Swanson, single man, seem insane when he has a pregnant wife and two young stepdaughters. We ran into that a couple of weeks ago with his desire to get off the grid, and for a few moments, the subplot about his lack of estate planning seemed like it could go that way, even with the reappearance of Trevor the snippy lawyer (who of course looks down his nose at accountants like Ben) and Ron being especially peculiar. But the idea that Ron — who, as Tammy 1 has long suspected, is incredibly wealthy — is afraid of spoiling his children made it feel just real enough for the comedy around it to work. I think to an extent the show needs to find ways to more frequently feature Lucy Lawless so it's not just Ron running around on his own making wacky decisions that impact his whole family (say, making the maitre'd at Mulligan's, as opposed to some pre-existing friend or relative of Diane's, the first choice for guardian of the kids), but there were enough strong jokes, and good Ron/Ben interplay, that this individual story clicked.
What did everybody else think? And was anyone disappointed that it was Tom, and not Nadia, speaking in a fake English accent?