Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 15: Correspondents’ Lunch
– Posted by Sage
Strap on your adult diapers, you guys. In the episode that immediately followed the tear-a-minute Ben and Leslie wedding, Pawnee’s journalists and politicians are sharpening their barbs and getting ready to roast each other at the annual Correspondents’ Lunch. Leslie is far too confident about flaying her nemesis, the Pawnee Sun, with jokes, so I’d bet an autographed portrait of Scott Caan that something’s about to go wrong.
I wish that NBC had scheduled “Leslie and Ben” to stand alone and doubled up “Correspondents’ Lunch” with another episode the week after. But, le sigh, if NBC ever took our advice about scheduling and promoting its programming, it wouldn’t be dead last every week and thus lose the failure status it’s so aggressively cultivated in these last few years. Anyhoodle, this ep was a fun return to form for Leslie and team and did advance the Chris/Ann baby-daddy plotline in a satisfying way.
Chris Traeger’s reaction to Ann’s hastily blurted sperm request was proof that she asked the right guy. Chris was flattered, surprised, and humbled. I had thought that the writers were setting up a rekindling of Chris and Ann with the way his admiration of and respect for her had clearly been growing after their breakup. But those sly foxes were working up to this. Chris truly thinks that everything about Ann Perkins (“Ann Perkins!”) is wonderful. Who would be a better mother to his child? Ann’s maturity is a nice contrast to Shauna’s aversion to labels, which was so frustrating to him. Maybe this will lead to Chris/Ann getting back together (and to planting ficuses anywhere these two consenting adults want); but, in the meantime, I love the idea of these two creating their own little non-traditional family.
Meanwhile, Leslie is gearing up her zingiest zingers to take down the vultures at the Post-esque Pawnee Sun (they of the classic headline, “Knope Grope Last Hope.”) She inadvertently exposes a Murdoch-style hacking scandal when she deduces how the Sun‘s Kim Terlando managed to steal all her jokes AND get the scoop on other City Hall business. Terlando also got a little more than she bargained for, apparently having to sift through emails like “Top Ten Ben’s Butt 2012 Slideshow,” which was only meant to be seen by Ben, Ann, and the folks over at Huffpo. Maybe Beslie will consider putting their Lord of the Rings RP fetish letters in longhand now. I’m pretty sure they didn’t have Outlook in Middle Earth anyway.
We got a little nod from Team Parks to the whole “Are women funny?” business, the question that just won’t die and which Amy P. twice described as being “boring.” Leslie tries to quickly drum up some new material for her speech at the lunch, and, of course, turns first to her solver, Ann. Ann doesn’t exactly have the stage presence of a seasoned performer, in fact she’s spent the last few days lit-rally running away from Chris in the halls. She gives Leslie a rambling joke(?) about Councilman Milton having a green tie just like a dinosaur (what?) and Leslie disappointedly responds, “Oh, Ann. You’re too beautiful to be funny. You never had to compensate for anything.” The less attractive people? Not off the hook.
- Lucky for Ben that an American leader grew up in Hawaii. Otherwise, he would have been spending his honeymoon in Scranton, PA, birthplace of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.
- It’s hard to believe that April and Andy’s silent conversation about retrieving the “fertility tea” from the trash was the first time the show referenced what must be their regular pot-smoking habit. Did you ever have ANY doubt that these characters are 420-friendly?
- I’m not just saying this because Retta totally plugged HoF this week, but holy smokes, did Donna Meagle just run away with every scene she was in in this episode. Both “…as a trap. INTO WHICH YOU HAVE FALLEN.” and “You wanna talk numbers, Terlando? Get to steppin.'” are getting dipped in gold and placed into the classic Donna lines canon.
- The Tom that showed up to “help” Ben choose a grantee for the Sweetums Foundation was the selfish Tommy T from seasons past. He’s grown so much in the last few years, but I suppose he’ll always be helpless to the lap of luxury. Also, without Tom abusing the Sweetums perks (and Andy pointing out the hypocrisy, of course), Ben might not have realized just how ridiculously opulent his set-up was. Must have been hard to say goodbye to Fondue Friday though.
- Leslie’s terrible impressions are the Ross’s divorces of this show – my favorite running joke. In this ep, we get her take on a classic (“I’mma Borat. There’s one.”) and an attempt at a new one (“Someone fucking tell me what Neve Campbell sounds like.”)
- Andy’s tendency to lay facedown on the floor when he’s sad is maybe the best visual representation of depression I’ve ever seen.
- “Ah! I just opened a can of whoop ass on myself!”
- I’m glad that Ben is giving Andy a chance to find a new purpose in charitable giving and I’ve missed those two characters being paired off in scenes since Ben moved out of their house. But didn’t we miss a chance for Ben to pick the Redwood Music Program and send Andy off to teach underserved kids to be “undercover rock stars?”
- Of course, Leslie watches Army Wives. Of course.
- “They can’t hack into a typewriter, that’s all I have to say.” “Can it, Unabomber.”
That’s all I’ve got, folks, in case you want to stick around for my impressions of the entire cast of Party of Five. I do a great Scott Wolf. If not, I’ll see you next time. Go. In your honor, Amen.