Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'How A Bill Becomes A Law': A noble porpoise
Three stories of mismatched duos add up to a funny half-hour
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I eat racist salad...
"How A Bill Becomes A Law"(*) isn't a particularly complicated episode of "Parks and Rec," just a very effective and funny one. With Ann absent and Chris, Donna and Jerry confined to a few stray jokes attached to Ron's storyline, we got three fairly evenly-balanced plots, each of them featuring a comic pairing the show knows works well.
(*) And you know you're a member of Generation X if the episode's title immediately made you think of this. Or possibly this.
The A-story continues Leslie's journey into the less pure world of elected government, as she goes all-out to pass a bill that will appeal to a very small constituency (and one that doesn't even vote yet) and make only a modest improvement in their quality of life, all for the principle of the thing. She wants to give the Porpoise kids the same faith in the power of government that she developed as a little girl, and if that ultimately means giving up her huge new office, private bathroom, and ill-advised half-perm (a sight gag that kept on giving), so be it. The writers often use Ron as Leslie's professional foil because their philosophies are so diametrically opposed, but Tom's own cynical take on government and professional responsibility also makes an amusing contrast — and, at this point in the series, a more pleasant surprise when he sacrifices his own desires to help Leslie out. And even that loss was no big one, thanks to Tom's amusing realization in the tag that he kind of hates smoking cigars.
Ron and Andy are an excellent combination because they're temperamental opposites. Of course Andy would know how to talk to the little girls and dive right into their princess play, while Ron just wanted to pour the asphalt, and of course Andy would be the one to push Ron to make a move on Diane (the always game Lucy Lawless, who unsurprisingly fits right into both the show and Ron's archetype of the perfect woman). If Aziz Ansari's delivery of "I do not like this" wasn't the best delivery of the episode, it was only because Nick Offerman first got to say a very childish, embarrassed "Shut up!" as Andy called out Ron for wanting to impress Diane. Very much looking forward to how this relationship plays out, especially since we've seen in the past that Ron Swanson + little girl = comic gold.
And April and Ben's aborted road trip was just an excuse to put another mismatched duo together, this time with no outside characters or conflicts to deal with: just April reacting hilariously, over and over, to the totality of Ben Wyatt (the Star Trek fanfic, the mix CD opening with "Shoop," etc.). Elegant and hilarious in its simplicity.
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