Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Swing Vote': Putt putt power
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I jump out of a moving car to buy a Nikki Minaj poster...
I liked a few isolated jokes and scenes, but overall "Swing Vote" didn't work on a number of levels.
First, while I appreciate a good Leslie vs. Ron battle as much as the next guy, their argument about the mini golf course was too similar to the one they had about the video store, and was a case of Leslie going wildly overboard for a really minor cause. These Leslie/Ron fights succeed when both sides have a point, but as much as I love a good game of putt-putt, Leslie seemed pretty ridiculous here. The final scene where they drank Ron's whiskey and talked about all the challenges Leslie has faced as an elected official was very nice, but everything leading up to it dragged.
On top of that, Jamm has tended to work better as an obstacle than a character. He's two-dimensional like a lot of Pawnee villains, but the show is usually wise enough to limit the use of those people; I love Perd Hapley, but would not want a Perd-centric A-story.
Similarly, I think Mona-Lisa has been a miscalculation. Whether the idea was just to present a Saperstein presence while Ben Schwartz was busy starring in "House of Lies" (or going to Roy Hibbert's bachelor party) or simply to give Tom a new love interest, she's ultimately too horrible to click. Jean-Ralphio's douchiness is tempered by the fact that he's completely harmless and knows when to retreat, where Mona-Lisa is a violent sociopath. The Ann/Tom interactions around Mona-Lisa were amusing (Ann being scared and powerless is one of Rashida Jones' better comic notes), but I'd be fine never seeing the evil sister again.
The Andy story was mainly an opportunity to let Chris Pratt get on stage to do his Hootie and the Blowfish impression again, and on that level, it worked. (I particularly enjoyed the complete lack of stakes in the story; the band didn't so much kick him out as assume he had quit because he stopped returning their calls.) But the idea of Andy being torn between his immature past and the possibility of growing up is a tricky one to pull off, and needed more time than was possible in a B-story. While some of the show's supporting characters (most notably April, but also Tom) have matured over the years, Andy has actually devolved a bit. (He wasn't smart in the first season, but he was at least canny in the way he manipulated Ann.) It's a funnier, sweeter version of the character, but one that's harder to use when discussions of maturity come around. Assuming there's a sixth season (a safe assumption at this point), I'd be fine with an arc about Andy really trying to grow up. Here, it just felt like a holding action until he took the stage with Burley and the guys again.
(Also, because the early mini golf scenes took place in dazzling sunlight, it was jarring to see them intercut with all the action at the bar.)
Even a show with as great a batting average as "Parks" occasionally turns in a dud. And given how well Schur and company bring it at finale time, I've got high hopes for next week's episode.
What did everybody else think?
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
Let Streaming Genie help you.