21
Jan
2011
Parks and Recreation: Season 3, Episode 1
Go Big or Go Home
Sam
The last few months of television have been particularly frustrating because Parks and Recreation, which made its triumphant return last night, was pushed aside for the not-so-shockingly lazy, Outsourced. Parks and Rec proed to be my favorite comedy after its air tight second season. Picking that over Community should speak very much to just how big a fan I am of the show. Characters and storylines became fully fleshed out and made me not only care about these people but it made me laugh out loud more than anything else.
In the long awaited season 3 premier, we are first met with an awkward "Last Time On Parks and Recreation..." which had I not just rewatched season 2 (thanks Netflix!) I may not have minded so much. It felt like all the great characters and storylines were summed up so quickly it did them no justice. Of course, this may be the first time many Office fans checked out the show.
The show also reintroduced all the storylines and characters to not only those who were new to the show but to those who had not treated themselves to another viewing of last season. After the government ceases to be shut down, we get Leslie Knope going around to the old gang (minus Mark Brandanowitz) letting them know that "they're back" (works on two levels y'see?) The best moment in this cold open had to be Leslie throwing Jerry's painting into a lake. Glad to see everyone still irrationally hates Jerry still.
The A story for this week, had Leslie construct a plan to get some of the Parks Dept.'s funding back, using Anne who is apprehensive about going out with new full-time cast member Rob Lowe who controls such things. The best surprise is how Lowe's character has beccome more than a two-dimensional positive thinking guy. He has a sad story about how he had a rare blood condition and shouldn't even be alive. His positive outlook seems less like a weird cartoon character and more like a real person. Anne falls for this too and actually begins to like the guy. Of course Leslie and Ben (played by the newcomer Adam Scott) muck it up and let it slip that it's all to get the Parks some more room in their budget. Anne seemed to clear things up with Lowe but we'll have to wait and see how things work out for them down the road. This is my favorite Anne relationship so far already beating out the questionable one she had with Andy in the first season and the flavorless one with Mark in season 2.
The B and C stories I felt were a bit flawed. We get Ron FUCKING Swanson back but as a rec league coach with Andy. Since they're just two teams they look like they'll only be playing each other. Tom plays ref even though he clearly has zero grasp of the rules. We get some Ron Swanson gold (The pyramid of Greatness and the Bob Knight sweater/chair throwing) but not much else from the others. Tom is pissed that Ron is dating his ex-fake green card wife. I felt like these characters were pushed into a situation that didn't really fit them at all and they had nothing to really do.
The C story really bugged me only because I need to see Andy and April together. OK so Andy kissed Anne at the end of last season but I wished they had gone in another direction with April. Couldn't she have just been mad instead of grabbing a model from Venezuela? Maybe I just envy that guy. I think Andy will get her back if his first attempts were any indication, he'll try VERY VERY hard. Overall I'm really just glad to see the gang back together but I think season 2 will be very difficult to top. This episode felt like it was a get-to-know-you episode and wasn't catered so much to the hard core fans. Hopefully it'll get Parks and Rec get the fourth (third full) season it deserves.

B+

Some notes:

-Sorry for such a recap heavy review, sure this won't be an issue for next episode.

-Here's Ron's Pyramid of Greatness

- Rob Lowe nails that "Anne Perkins!" finger point. It has somehow become sweet rather than bizarre.

-Wondering when Leslie and Ben fuck already. Any guesses by which ep number? I've got six.

-Andy with his hair matted down to impress April was adorably sad, the flowers didn't help either.

-Did I mention that chair throw, that was awesome for fans of the Knight.
Tags: Parks and Recreation
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