Season 7, Episode 5: GryzzlBox
Posted by Sage
On Leslie’s strategy board, she’s endeavored to list every possible method of bringing down Gryzzl, up to and including an “act of god.” She’s overlooking the obvious. Gryzzl’s manufactured mask of “chill” may not be its downfall, per se. But it’s certainly the company’s handicap.
I’m not one to poo-poo technology, considering that most of my personal and professional lives happen with the help of one device or another. But Parks is laying down truths here, portraying the way that the advancements that aid you in your work, your friendships, and your general existence also have the power to steer you if you’re not careful. We don’t care enough about the sanctity of the data trails we leave behind. For years we were told that our privacy meant nothing in the face of national threats and that giving up that privacy was our duty as Americans. Tech companies have capitalized on that loosey-goosey attitude towards information. Our lives will be better and more streamlined with our data in their hands, they tell us. And “What are you gonna do?” they seem to taunt. “Not be on Facebook?” It’s a fair question.
But even perpetual Tweeters like Donna and me have the right to know how and for what purpose our business is being monitored. “The internet is no longer optional,” Ben says in The Perdple’s Court. “It’s a necessity for everyone.” Using the argument that we’ve somehow opted in just by virtue of being first world citizens of the 21st century assumes that we’ve thrown in the towel. And even if your office looks like a goddamn jungle gym, schemes like the mid-December 2015 revision of the town-wide WiFi agreement reveal Roscoe and his Gryzzl brahs to be a more cunning than they let on.
More realness happens over in the B-story, which involves Andy Dwyer’s cash cow of a children’s character and the undervaluing of creative work. Andy has never been driven by a paycheck. He’ll do all the work and drive everyone home after, all with a smile on his face. But even trusting Andy knows that there’s something wrong when the station asks him to sign away his rights to Johnny Karate. Every other writer whose been offered a byline or a link-back as pay for their work (or professional recording artist who’s ever been “invited” to audition for The Voice) knows this struggle. The work is fun. This does not make it invaluable. If it were, Hank Muntak wouldn’t want to own it.
Sidenote: Perfect timing for this cameo, as there is already a Crosby Braverman-shaped hole in my world.
Andy isn’t just the talent. The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show is his very nature, distilled and unfiltered. Kids dig it because it’s authentic. So Andy goes to Tom with his troubles and finds himself with a manager. Johnny Karate must be defended, as must Burley’s recurring villain, Puppy-Hating Dan. Tom grasps any opportunity to wheel and deal, and this new project has the added benefit of distracting him from Lucy, who’s back in Chicago visiting her boyfriend Conrad. After hours of negotiation (“In the words of Jerry Maguire…” “The human head weighs eight pounds.”) it’s Hank’s inability to deal with human emotion that loses his bid to own those rights. (“And there’s this girl I really like….” “Please, just stop.”) Andy keeps his character, and his optimism. (“If there’s something that you want badly, you just have to believe that it’s gonna work out.”) And Tom dries his tears when Lucy returns to Pawnee single and ready to really explore that Jesse Eisenberg/Nicki Minaj beef over a bottle of wine with her boss. (“Settle in, because I have some very strong feelings about this.”)
April ignores all the bright-eyed, crisp-resumed youngsters to focus on Jen, a disaffected, straight-faced teen whose parents are forcing her to be there. This is April’s chance to get one out – to save one morbidly creative soul before she signs her life away to public service. She convinces Baby April to quit, incurring the righteous wrath of Craig and, indirectly, the coping mechanisms of his therapist, Dr. Richard Nygaard. “You’re lucky to have worked here, no matter what you want to do with the rest of your life,” he tells her. “And I think you know that.” It’s true. Whatever April does next, her work at Parks and beyond puts her in a better position to do it. Where would she be now if she’d never been mentored against her will? Chastened, April starts to think like “the best teacher in this or any business, Leslie freakin’ Knope,” and cultivates a new pack of interns for Craig. Hopefully, they make his ever-growing list of reasons to be alive.
Ron and Leslie are such a killer team because they hardly ever think the same. They often come to the same conclusions, but they take different paths to get there. This expands their tactical arsenal and should, if they know what’s good for them, strike fear into the hearts of their enemies.
- I hope the NBC store is selling posters of SCOTUS drinking the Friends milkshakes by now.
- “Actually this is Tom Sel-oink, but you know, close enough.”
- Sonia! Sonia. One down, two to go.
- Hey, Fake Hipster Ben, hey.
- “Different Selena Gomez.”
- “Les. Les Vegetables.”
- Leslie: *floundering as she gives her evidence*
Perd: “Extremely well-put.”
Stay tuned for Kim’s recap of the other half of this week’s Parks doubleheader, and leave your thoughts in the comments!