Parks and Recreation Recap: “Pawnee Commons”–Good Luck With That

Meanwhile, Tom’s recruited the whole office to help him get Rent-A-Swag off the ground—on a very limited budget. To avoid another Entertainment 720 disaster (can we all agree to stop calling E720 a disaster now?), Tom is playing it safe. He’s reading actual books on entrepreneurship and using words like “fiscal.” Tommy Timberlake has officially reinvented himself! One problem: Thomas M. Haverford, responsible tycoon, sucks. Afraid of taking any risks for the business, he does whatever’s cheapest, even if that means gross yellow walls and suicidal mannequins.

I think the whole of Tom’s mistakes can be summed up in DJ Roomba playing “Heigh-Ho.” It isn’t right. Why strap an iHome to a Roomba if you’re just going to listen to motivational Disney songs? Listen up, Tom; this is an intervention. In the words of Ann Perkins, “Your swagger and your showmanship and your confidence is part of you, and in small doses, it can help.” The team collects extra money for Tom—aww—and he spruces up his place. Rent-A-Swag: now featuring dope-ass cravats!

pawnee commons 3

This is a much better balance for Tom—he’s practical enough to not go broke financially but invested enough to bring all of his home furnishings to the store. He even gets the Ron Swanson Seal of Approval: “I hate all of this, which probably means it’s good for your business.”

If you can’t have Rent-A-Swag without the swag, can you have Andy Dwyer without Burt Macklin? What does it mean for these characters to grow up? What does it mean for this show to grow up? Ugh, I sound like Andy: so bored that I’m thinking about existence. “Do I matter, do any of us, is there a master plan in the works, a grand design, just dumb stuff like that.” You’re right, Andy. Moving on.

Being a security guard is hardly the action-fest Andy anticipated, so he calls April for backup. She comes to City Hall because he promises she can break something, and the two of them entertain themselves the best way they know how—role-playing. April takes the role of Judy Hitler, Adolf’s spoiled daughter who may or may not be falling for Burt Macklin. (“Don’t you do it, Hitler. Don’t you dare fall in love with me.”) They chase each other around the building and briefly interfere with Leslie’s apology to Wreston.

Ben: We wouldn’t want to leave you with the wrong impression of Pawnee.

Andy: Have you guys seen Hitler?!

PERFECT. The fact that these storylines are almost entirely unconnected is salvaged completely by that moment. After last week’s fight, I’d been hoping to see April help Leslie with the park, but this was worth it. Also notable: April awkwardly popping up behind them, saying, “I vas nevah here,” and running off.

Things get serious, though, when Burt and Ms. Hitler run into a lost little kid in the hall. Andy drops the finger guns and helps Joey find his mom, and April realizes that it might be time for Andy to treat his real job like a real job. He’s a better cop than Burt Macklin. The two of them hold a “retirement” ceremony, and it’s one big cop-movie cliché. It’s also the best ever.

“Some of the boys chipped in, and we got you this. It isn’t much, but it’s something to remember us by.”

“Some of the boys chipped in, and we got you this. It isn’t much, but it’s something to remember us by.”

I like the way Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza approach their characters’ role-playing. Andy is so earnest; he’s over the top, but he means every move he makes. When he says, “Today I say goodbye to the only life I’ve ever known,” you believe that he’s really sad. April plays it bigger, more exaggerated and silly and full of funny voices, and she plays it right to Andy. Whenever she feels something real, it’s not for her character—it’s for him.

Burt Macklin goes down in a blaze of glory and iPhone gun salutes and Chris Pratt tears.

Pawnee Commons Snaps:

“Here is a model of what I thought the park could look like. Also I’m innocent please find me a lawyer.”

pawnee commons 6

Eagleton has palm trees. I feel like the location scouts probably spent a lot of time debating how best to avoid those trees and then they all just decided to screw it.

“Much like women in 90s standup comedy routines, Tommy be shoppin’.”

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“I made this. Before I started, it was bigger.”

“Forty years undercover—I never even met my family.” (April: “What?”)

“If you ever need me, you know where to find me. In bed next to you, probably havin’ sex with you.”

Ok, everyone. What did you think of “Pawnee Commons”? THOUGHTS FOR YOUR THOUGHTS. Lay ‘em on me like Ben on a Segway.

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