Making Love to the Pooch

by

I am happy to report that Parks and Recreation has reclaimed its rightful place as foremost in my affections with this week’s episode. When this show began it seemed like Leslie was just going to be lady Michael Scott, but thankfully that has not turned out to be the case. Leslie and Michael both love their jobs an unreasonable amount, but Leslie is actually competent. Even though it didn’t work out, Leslie’s concept for the Parks Department magazine was sound, she just counted on people who turned out to be hateful cynics (and Ron, who is a cynic, but not particularly hateful).

The open was really funny: Tom borrows Ron’s coonskin cap for the purpose of peacocking and just succeeds in scaring the ladies off with lines like “Daaaaaamn girl, your hotness killed my raccoon!” He probably should have tried Donna’s contribution: “Yes I am a hunter– and it’s you season.”

The A plot is Leslie’s attempt to put together the summer Parks catalog, which she compares to Vogue’s September Issue. In an odd coincidence, I had just watched The September Issue mere hours before P&R. It definitely troubled my mind-grapes, since I am obviously in favor of smart women in positions of power and I really don’t think every woman has a responsibility to be warm just because men feel more comfortable imagining everyone woman is their mom but DAMN does Anna Wintour go to the other extreme. I kind of wanted to curl up and die when she told the photographer he’d better hit the gym. He’s a photographer! As Grace Coddington said: “Not everyone has to be perfect, it’s enough that the models are perfect.”

Leslie has some sexists of her own to deal with, notably former Parks Director James Watson. (Okay, that’s not really his name, but I am still, and always will be, pissed at James Watson for being a grade A douchebag to Rosalind Franklin.) James Watson tells Leslie that back in his day women weren’t allowed to teach and she’s all “Really? I thought there were women teachers way before then.” And he’s all “Not in my department. Women need a lot of blood to flow through to their baby centers which leaves less for the brain. I’d stay away from leadership roles for your own safety.” Then he’s all, “You really shouldn’t be leading us, if you’re menstruating you could attract bears.”

Holy God. My favorite thing about this show is that it’s overtly feminist in a way that’s just a premise of the show, it reminds me of Donna on That 70s Show in a way. Leslie has to deal with sexist assholes at work ALL the time, and it bugs her, but she just keeps doing her job and kicking butt. We don’t have to learn a little lesson about how these guys aren’t really sexist or sometimes ladies really are bad at their jobs (for an offender on this front, Grey’s Anatomy).

Ron’s immediate predecessor was apparently afflicted with reefer madness, and was a savant of bongs, once crafting one out of a taxidermied raccoon (Ron’s hat?). He makes good (and funny) points when Ron brings up his smoking at work: “In fairness to me, it was a different time, it was the early nineties. But also it’s ridiculous that marijuana is illegal. Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. Alcohol is legal and pot isn’t? That makes sense to you, Ron?”
Ron: I’m sorry, I don’t hear hippies.

Director Stoner suggests everyone smoke another j and calm down, but the person with the real solution is April who photoshops a spread with the directors all– well there’s no delicate phrasing (except “going to Bologna,” but that’s only comprehensible to people who, god bless us every one, watch SLAT)– blowing each other. “What, look how generous they’re being with each other!”

April and Andy almost make progress in their cute crush when April offers to help Andy write the song “Life is a Picnic With You,” but when April is carded at the bar it seems to make Andy think (hard to believe, but true!) about how young she really is, so that might be on hold.

Anne and Mark’s relationship seems not long for this world with Tom’s photographs revealing Anne’s secret unhappiness or, as Tom puts it “sad wife”-ness.

Tom: What are we doing, Maxim or Good Housekeeping?
Anne: I’m not sure which one is the insult….
Tom: Hey, if there’s anyone out there that wants to do a photo shoot on the dangers of eating undercooked chicken I can give you Anne’s phone number.

I don’t really know why they’re ending that relationship, although I mostly don’t care, which I guess might be the problem. I love Anne and Leslie’s friendship, but they need to do a better job of integrating Anne into the show since she seems to show up at the department for increasingly contrived reasons week after week. Although I love most of the direction of the show I do kind of miss the clarity of purpose in the first season: a department of people and concerned citizens working hard to get a pit filled in.

The episode ends sweetly with Ron and Leslie getting breakfast-for-dinner at a diner and promising they won’t start to hate one another. Leslie admits that despite her efforts, things did not go as planned in the greatest line in the history of ever: “Oh Ron, I really made love to the pooch on this one.”

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