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Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: Parks and Recreation, Ann's Decision

Season 5, Episode 12
Grade: B+

Verdict: This episode makes great strides in developing Ann, a character with a lot of potential who hasn't had a lot to do since season 2. Some good jokes and a solid plot, but not the most memorable episode of the season.

Oh, Ann. It was nice to see you come back this week.

In this episode, Ann decides she wants to become a mom and embarks on her search for the perfect sperm donor. I kind of saw this coming after last week's episode, during which Ann spent time bonding with children and realizing she enjoyed taking care of them. Leslie does her best to put a stop to the plan, because she's convinced Anne will meet her soul mate and wish she'd waited to have children.

I've really missed having an Ann that was funny. Lately I've been really enjoying Andy and April - I think they've been providing more comic relief than any other characters on the show, save Ron Swanson. I like Rashida Jones, who plays Ann, but she hasn't been given stellar material lately. She was in her prime during season 2 when she was trying to escape Andy's stalking post-breakup.

This story line allowed us to revisit some of the men Ann has casually dated in the last few seasons, including Howard Tuttleman, a.k.a. radio personality the Douche. In a hilarious interaction, Tuttleman reveals a hyper-intellectual side and admits that his radio personality is a front. I'm hopeful this is the start of giving Ann some better plots (I'm still trying to forget the Ann-Tom hookup episodes).

While Ann interviews candidates in an attempt to find her hypothetical baby's daddy, Ben is in charge of choosing a caterer for his wedding. He brings Tom, Chris, and Ron. Because this show always perfectly nails Tom's character, he was my favorite part of this plot line - he echoes Tom Collichio a la Top Chef while judging the various caterers, and as Ben points out, spends more time instragramming the food than eating it. Continuing the running gag of Ben's obsession with calzones, he chooses a caterer based on his calzone appetizer. But the calzones betray Ben and give the guys food poisoning.

I think it's a bit odd that the last slew of episodes keep sectioning off the men and the women. It made sense for the bachelor/bachelorette party episode, and then I guess it made sense for the feminism episode last week. But I miss Leslie's interactions with Ron, Andy and the rest of the men. I think they have awesome comedic chemistry, and I hope we have more interaction there next week.

In the episode's third plot, April tries to be Leslie (and fails). Dressing up like Leslie and emulating her attitude, she doesn't succeed in getting the signatures she needs on a petition, so she decides to go ahead and try being April instead. She gets a lot of complaints for her rudeness, but she gets even more signatures, which she chalks up to success. I like the idea of April running things in Leslie's place and doing it her own way - well, but direct, to the point, and incredibly rude.

Favorite quote: "Excuse me, ma'am, I didn't ask for a math lesson. So why don't you just tell me how much it's going to cost me? And DON'T use numbers." - Concerned taxpayer at parks meeting

Best moment: Ben and Ron writhing around on the ground and trying to call Tom without using their hands, which are too busy clutching their stomachs.
Worst moment: Leslie's Cosby impression. Well, OK. The impression was the worst. The moment was actually probably the best. We'll call it the best worst.
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