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Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Parks and Recreation, "Emergency Response"


Season 5, Episode 13
Grade: A
Verdict: Every subplot of this episode was strong, funny, and classic Parks & Rec. In my opinion, this episode encapsulates the perfect formula for Parks & Rec: one part Leslie kicking ass, one part Ron giving life advice, a dash of Andy stupidity, a hint of everyone berating Jerry. The episode is a two-parter that ends on a cliffhanger, which will presumably lead to one of the larger events of the series.

In "Emergency Response," we see a long and hard-fought battle of Leslie's come full circle: THE PIT! Since the beginning of the show, Leslie's been battling to fill the pit and turn it into a park. Now, in the fifth season, she's finally close to securing agreement to build that park.


This was a really solid, funny episode. The main conflict occurs between Leslie and Councilman Jamm, who wants the lot Leslie is fighting for to be turned into a Paunch Burger (did anyone else feel like this was definitely a fictional version of Hardees?). Leslie's plan is preferred, but she doesn't have the funding to secure it. Ben suggests they host a black tie gala to raise the money, which the Councilman attempts to foil by calling for a state-mandated drill over the town's emergency preparedness.

The episode primarily focuses on the simulated disaster, Avian Flu, and Leslie's response to the drill. Unlike some episodes where there is a semi-boring or serious main plot, this one was full of laughs; Leslie instructs animal control to kill birds, shows clips from fake news programs, and Chris dies of the flu. Meanwhile, Ben et al try to put together the gala without Leslie's help. Because Ben is terrible on camera, as we've seen previously on this show, Ron agrees to appear on Pawnee Today to promote the event.

This is hands-down the best part of the episode. The show's host, Joan Callamezzo, is hung over and sick from a week-long booze cruise and passes out in the first few minutes of the show. Ron does his bit to promote the gala and then takes over the show, answering questions from callers. He doles out advice on everything from how to mask table scratches and keeping your money out of banks to how to run a business and his favorite movies. Was there EVER a better mentor than Ron Swanson?

In a side plot, Andy is getting ready to take his examination to become a police officer. He's studied the questions back and front and has some really strange memory devices to remember the questions, but regardless of the method, he knows the answers by heart. Unfortunately there's a personality portion of the exam that relies on basic common sense. Andy really struggles with this test, and it makes for some great comedy.

I really appreciated that we're still seeing some action on the pit/empty lot behind Anne's house. We even get to see Mouserat play a revised version of their song from season 1, "The Pit," and Jerry is berated in a way that we haven't seen in a few episodes. This reminded me of some of the best episodes from seasons 2-3, and I'm definitely excited for next week based on the show's ending (I'll stop here to avoid revealing major spoilers).

Best moments and best quotes: There were two wonderful moments in this episode in the form of Q&A, and both are quote-worthy, so we'll combine them this week.

#1 - Ron Swanson answering caller questions on Pawnee Today
Caller: My Yorkshire Terrier has chewed up the legs on my kitchen table. Is there a cheap way to repair that?
Ron: Great question. Take a walnut and rub it into the legs of your table. That'll mask the scratches. Next thing you'll want to do is ditch the terrier and get yourself a proper dog. Any dog under 50 lbs is a cat, and cats are pointless.

#2: Andy answering questions during his personality test

Cop: Scenario: A high school age child asks to hold your service revolver. What do you do?
Andy: Yes. I give it to him. When I was a kid, I always wanted to hold a cop's gun. To make that dream come true for another kid? Well, that's what being a cop is all about.

Worst moment: Tom's finding a caterer plot. I've come to expect more from Tom + food humor.

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