"Uh-oh."

May. 16th, 2011 04:40 pm
zombie_boogie: (TV » Parks & Rec » Smooch)
[personal profile] zombie_boogie
 

  • I'm not sure I even know how to coherently talk about these episodes without turning into a pile of goo, but I shall soldier on! This is why there are pretty pictures because I fail at words (or at least, my words feel inadequate in the face of the mess of face-clawing feelings I become when I think about this show and these episodes). SHOW, IF I LOVED YOU LESS I COULD TALK ABOUT YOU MORE (I'm still going to talk about you a lot). Warning: I say love too much.

  • I was looking forward to "The Fight" because I knew it was written by Amy Poehler, and I really enjoyed the episode she wrote last season ("Telethon"). The episode absolutely did not disappoint. I think in both of her episodes Amy did a magnificent job at having the characters act over-the-top while still having them remain true to themselves. It was a perfect blend of comedy and a heartfelt exploration of relationship dynamics.

    To start off, how adorable was this?


    BEN: Uh oh, looks like someone’s going to be late for her meeting.
    LESLIE: Oh, race you!
    BEN: Really? Isn’t that a little childish?
    (Source)

    Hee. I love that Leslie brings out Ben's dorky side, and I feel like with the wave of rainbow vomit following "Road Trip" that some little moments like this from "The Fight" have been neglected. I also love that Leslie always acts like a loon around Councilman Howser (the previous incidents being the piggyback ride with Andy in "Hunting Trip" and running into him in the men's washroom in "94 Meetings"). Mini continuity squee!

  • Obviously the highlight of the episode was the drunk Parks department:


    The talking head sequence from the producer's cut is even better because it includes Ann and Jerry. I read somewhere that they had enough footage to make a thirty minute episode composed entirely of drunk talking heads, and I sincerely hope they include that footage on the season three DVDs. NEVER HAS THE PHRASE "I LOVE EVERYONE IN THIS BAR" FELT MORE APPROPRIATE. RON IS WEARING APRIL'S TINY HAT I CAN'T DEAL. For the record, I usually fall into the Drunk!Tom category when I get smashed.

  • Speaking of the producer's cut, if you haven't watched it already I would highly recommend it, if only for this cut scene between Ben and Andy. I can see why they cut it in terms of time and narrative flow in the Leslie-Ann storyline, but it's a great scene and I'm sad it got cut. I love the continuity of the Ben-Andy friendship and I think it contextualizes Leslie's apology to Ben the next day a bit better. ALSO THEY MENTIONED FORBIDDEN SEX AND LESLIE AND BEN IN A SENTENCE AND I'M A PERV.

  • I would like to take a moment to write a love letter to Jean Ralphio. He is far and away my favourite re-occurring character, which is a fairly amazing feat considering Pawnee is populated by a ton of awesome, colourful side characters (it's kind of like a live action The Simpsons in that way). Actually, this essay on the subject is really ace, so just go read that, but suffice it to say that I am DELIGHTED whenever that big doofus shows up on my screen. I loved his terrible rapping, his enthusiasm and promptness when Leslie demanded that he "dance up on her", his plaintive "I'm so alone" in the car, and, as always, his interactions with Donna (ship it!).

  • I'm so enamoured with how adorable my OTP are when hungover:



    BEN: I feel great, I ran 5K this morning.
    LESLIE: Really?
    BEN: No, I threw up in the shower.

    LOOK AT THEIR HAIR. YOU HAVE PICKLE HAIR BABY AND YOU GOT IT FROM ME. I am also dying over April and her pillow hat in the background. Heh, and of course Ron would show up the next morning in tip-top shape. Of course.

  • The Leslie-Ann fight was so well-done, mainly because they've been planting the seeds for it all season. What I liked about it the most was that on the surface it appears that they "got drunk in a bar and fought about boys", but in reality the fight exposed some core issues between them. Namely, the friction that can crop up between friends when one friend (Leslie) thinks they know better than the other friend (Ann) and tries to direct their friend's life. The way they fought also rung really true for me, starting out all passive-aggressive before the big explosion of feelings. Who hasn't said something similar to "I'm not saying you're a stupid jerk I'm saying you're acting stupid and you're being a jerk"? Also Ann yelling "Offense!" in response to Leslie's "No offense but I don't remember you having a nursing degree in feelings" was amazing.

    But ugh I never want to see the face in the bottom right cap ever again for any reason:



    BEN: Are you okay?
    LESLIE: No. I'm sad

    And you can read so much into that "I'm sad." She's sad because she fought with Ann. She's sad because she shot down Ben. She's sad because of Chris' stupid rules. IN CONCLUSION SAD LESLIE BREAKS MY HEART INTO A MILLION TINY PIECES.

    I'm so glad Leslie and Ann resolved their differences the very next day because the best 'ship is friendship. Yay besties! And yay for besties who are mature enough to acknowledge that they were both in the wrong. I think the choice to have Ann work part-time at City Hall is an excellent one, as it incorporates Ann into the main cast a bit better without resorting to their old standby of having her date someone in the government.



  • To backtrack a bit, the Ben and Ann scene was really lovely:



    ANN: You’re nice. I can see why she likes you.
    BEN: When did she say... likes me?
    ANN: Oh God. This is so high school. Just rent a limo, ask her to the prom. I’m sure she’ll say yes.
    BEN: Alright.

    First of all, I hate you Rashida Jones. She's actually still attractive even with her hair mussed up and her makeup smeared. Second of all, SNOWPANTS! Third of all, I just like the idea in general that Ben cares enough about Leslie to go to Ann Perkins' house to talk to her, and that Ann loves Leslie enough and thinks Ben is a good enough guy to listen to him. Fourth of all, there are not one but two really stellar Ben Wyatt's Face Appreciation Moments in this scene. The first after Ann says "fight about boys" and the second during the whole "she likes me" bit. In "Jerry's Painting" we had Ben say he thinks that he and Leslie like each other, and the majority of their dynamic in the past couple of episodes has been based on the fact that they know they're into each other, but I still like that he needs and likes this little confirmation from Leslie's best friend.

  • One of my favourite things (among many) in this episode was how it carefully established this eroding opinion of Chris and his policies within the Parks department. It's not just Leslie and Ben who are fed up with his rules; in this episode we had the really quite heartbreaking stuff with Tom having to give up his shares in the Snakehole Lounge, and Ron's support of Tom. I can absolutely see Ron butting heads with Chris more in the future and I think the Everybody Hates Chris arc is where they are headed as we move towards the final two episodes.

  • April and Andy were so fucking precious in these two episodes. I adored the throwbacks to Burt Macklin from "Greg Pikitis" and Janet Snakehole from "Indianapolis", and Aubrey Plaza was particularly amazing during their roleplay. Her old-timey Janet Snakehole voice was way sexier than it had any right to be.



    I think the Know Ya Boo set-up was a fairly contrived way to get April and Andy to fight and overall it was one of the weaker subplots they've had this season. Still, I really enjoyed Tom's game show host antics (especially the sound effects on his phone) and Donna Jerry kicking ass and taking names. Also, it was all worth it for this:



    "Maybe April doesn't think that we're the greatest band in the world but man she loves me. And I love her so who cares?"

    Oh kids! She sang "The Pit"! And she tried to sing it in Andy's singing voice! And they're totally going to do it later! I should mentioned that I love that lip bite thing Aubrey Plaza does whenever April has feelings.

  • Ron's storyline with the little girl was pretty amusing, especially the part where he just ate her lunch, but really the most affecting scene was at the very end when he told Lauren to read and study and think for herself. I loved that. I also cackled at Tom's reaction to Ron reminding him that he is, in fact, the boss.

  • Like I touched on above, I think "Road Trip" had slightly weaker B and C plots than some of the other episodes this season, which makes "The Fight" the stronger episode of the two in my estimation. The A plot though. THE A PLOT. OH MY GOOD GRAVY OTP TIMES GLORIOUS OTP TIMES. This is the part where my brain shuts down and my feelings take over you have been warned.

  • Before I get to the Leslie/Ben goodness I have to address Ann Perkins, Amazing Human and Voice of the People:



    "I want them to get together. Sue me."

    HER FACE IN THE SECOND CAP YOU GUYS. But what even is her shirt. That shirt is possibly even uglier than the red shirt Leslie wore in "The Fight" that I also hated. Anyways, I love that Ann is an unabashed shipper.


  • GO AHEAD. STARE AT EACH OTHER SOME MORE. I'LL WAIT. Ugh you stupid fools and your stupid, smitten faces. Look at you talking sexily about documents. Look at your hesitation to fist bump Chris because if you actually touch other right now you might just explode and make out with each other right in front of him on his damn desk. Look at you and your talking about towels and eyelashes and being allergic to fingers. LOOK AT BEN'S LOVE FOR PAWNEE. JUST LOOK AT IT. Ben gradually falling for Pawnee as he gradually falls for Leslie is one of my favourite things of all the things this season, and that scene was just... perfect. He said Pawnee was special. He said it a number of times, and he meant it sincerely. This was the guy who emphatically said Pawnee was not special in "Freddy Spaghetti". I can't even deal with this progression. MEAN BEN HAS A SOFT SPOT. At some point Amy Poehler was quoted as saying that Leslie is like a single mom and Pawnee is like her kid, so when she sees the guy being nice to her kid she's totally hooked ("That was really nice to hear"). OW MY OVARIES.

  • As much as I absolutely ADORED Leslie and Ben finally smushing their faces together (and oh how I adored it, but more on that in a bit), I actually think their dinner conversation might be my favourite scene from the episode.



    LESLIE: You were really great in that presentation today.
    BEN: Oh, thanks!
    LESLIE: I like the stuff you said about Pawnee. That was really nice to hear.
    BEN: Pawnee is a really special town. I love living there. And, um, I look forward to the moments in my day where I get to hang out with the town, and talk to the town about stuff. And the town has really nice blonde hair, too. And has read a shocking number of political biographies for a town… which I like.

    CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BOTH OF YOU ON YOUR FACES. And basically all of your little nuanced acting choices in this scene. I love that the scene started out with Leslie's laughter. I loved that little moment after Ben has reiterated that Pawnee is special and he looks down at his plate, and you can just see him decide that he's going to turn this into a metaphor for liking Leslie. I loved that he turned it into a metaphor for liking Leslie period. I loved her goddamn glorious face as she realizes it's turning into a metaphor, and I love her goddamn glorious face as she gets visibly shaken and frustrated. I loved both of their faces during the "It's not just me, right?" bit. Both of their faces just light up. God. Life ruiners, the both of you.

  • One of the things I've noticed on re-watch is how self-assured Ben seems to be throughout the entire episode. While Leslie is a bundle of nerves, Ben seems to be relatively nonchalant, which is interesting considering what an awkward penguin he normally is. In my own head Ann's confirmation of Leslie's feelings for him in the previous episode sort of sparked this realization in him that he was finally going to do something about their mutual attraction. One of my favourite bits is the part in the car where he says "I know. It’s a silly rule. But maybe they’ll be reasonable and not care" with regards to the hotel issue, but I think it's pretty clear he's talking about their situation as well. And then at dinner, we see him steel himself for a fraction of a second and then proceed to lay it all out on the table because, in his own words, he can't take it anymore. I just really love the idea that he's firm in his feelings for her and wants to act on those feelings, but he respects her enough to proceed slowly.

  • Favourite quote of the entire night, hands down:


    (Source)

    I mean, obviously I agree with the sentiment expressed whole-heartedly but I just love it because it is exactly what I've imagined Leslie saying. ON HIS FACE. I also really loved that Leslie worked in "Leslie Knope from the Parks department" and "beautiful nurse" into her letter to herself.

  • There's been quite a bit of discussion recently on the subject of Chris, so I might as well throw in my two cents. I don't dislike Chris just because he's a giant cock blocking robot developed in a secret fucking government lab. I dislike Chris because he represents that Nice Guy on the Outside, Secret Asshole on the Inside type of personality. The image Chris Traeger projects of himself is a facade. He cares about appearing healthy, I think, more than he actually cares about being healthy. He cares about appearing to be a Nice Guy, when in reality he's actually a passive-aggressive dick. I'm so glad they included that bit in his office with Ron when he calls for Ben to ask him if there's anything they can do about Tom, because it harkens back to all of those times when he shoved the bad news on Ben to deliver and it royally pissed me off. This image-consciousness extends to his rules, I think. I don't believe for one second that he actually has any fundamental moral issues with intra-office dating or with Tom's activities. If you listen to his words carefully he's all about how this behaviour will reflect on the government. That's not to say that he's a worthless character; Rob Lowe has been playing him with aplomb and many of his scenes are hilarious (his air banjo in the back of the car being a prime example). He's also had some good scenes with Ron, Andy, and April. But most of the time Chris is the irritant that just doesn't fit. He is the grain of sand in the microchip.

  • Anyway, let's get back to watching my kids make moon eyes at each other:


    My favourite thing about this scene is that once again we have some great body mirroring going on, which of course reflects romantic interest. Look at them literally chin-handsing each other, good god. Oh and Ben looks swell in colour.

  • OK then this happened:


    And squeals were heard throughout the land. I had a very strong feeling that there would be a kiss at some point in this episode, but I still wasn't adequately prepared for how strongly the kiss would slam me right smack dab in the middle of my soul. Physicality stanning alert: the staging of this kiss was actually perfect. HIS HANDS. HER FACE. I like that the way he initiates the kiss is bold enough to be confident, but not too bold or presumptive. And then he pulls back a bit to give her space to decide what she wants. And then she re-initiates. And his hands are cupping her head and his fingers are in her hair and my heart explodes. And even though I love the way this scene was filmed and her face never over it I would probably gladly give up a limb in order to get a flashback in the next episode from a different angle, one that preferably showed Ben's face because we know that Adam Scott gives the best faces. It is scenes like this that make me appreciate the mockumentary style of the show, because the way the cameras have shot the scene it really does feel like a glimpse into an intimate, private moment. And her "uh-oh" totally speaks volumes, as she's just finished telling the camera that a relationship wouldn't be worth the risk, but now she's realizing that it just might be. Ugh ugh ugh shoot me in the heart I'm done. Let's not talk about how many times I've re-watched this. What is sanity.
  • Page 1 of 2 << [1] [2] >>

    Date: 2011-05-16 08:56 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com
    I just added this post to my memories. Because it deserves a spot there.

    I think you're onto something with Chris. He is the grain of sand in the microchip and ugh, how I hate every time he made Ben be the bad guy. When it came to budgets, Ben would normally be the bad guy though he did find a way to get Freddy Spaghetti to the concert. Chris never would have. In this instance though, it's only Chris who's being the bad guy and I love that Ben was not there to substitute for Chris' jerkiness. I want this resolved, asap.

    Their faces! I can't even. What is sanity, indeed. I'm going to go home and watch it again. Both of them, because as much as I love the kiss...I love The Fight more as a whole episode. The April/Andy subplot of Road Trip was kinda contrived and I kinda skip over it.

    Date: 2011-05-16 09:07 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Aww thank you ♥.

    I find Chris' behaviour in his earlier episodes even more annoying now that we've gotten to know Ben. One of my biggest pet peeves is people pushing off responsibility to other people. In general Chris seems kind of wishy-washy? Like in "Jerry's Painting" he totally let Marcia Langman control the issue. He seems like one of those people that needs to be liked and be perceived as doing good instead of the kind of person who actually does good. I'm not sure where they're going with his character, because it almost seems like they're writing him in a way that would facilitate an exit from the canvas. I would be pleased to hear that Rob Lowe got a mid-season pilot for next year to be honest.

    I... don't know how many times I've re-watched these episodes. "The Fight" overall is clearly the superior episode, but I'm almost glad the B and C plots in "Road Trip" aren't as interesting because with all the Leslie/Ben stuff I'm not sure I'd be able to concentrate on anything else :P.

    (no subject)

    From: [identity profile] agresha06.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-05-17 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand

    Date: 2011-05-16 09:07 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] fairandbright.livejournal.com
    There were so many golden moments/lines in both these episodes. Like I need to fit "OFFENSE! THAT'S RUDE!" into my daily conversation, and "I'm allergic to fingers," was just so random and totally the thing a starry eyed Leslie would pull out as an excuse.

    I wish the camera crew could secretly film Chris when he's on his own to see if he acts different than he does around others. Hmmm...

    BEN AND LESLIE! LESLIE AND BEN! BENJAMIN AND LESLIEMIN! THEY MADE OUT ON EACH OTHERS' FACES AND IT WAS GLORIOUS! I mean, what else can be said about that scene that hasn't been said all over Tumblr already? Perfection.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:45 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Late comment is late BUT I DO WHAT I WANT.

    I dislike Chris, but I actually find him fascinating? LIKE CHRIS I WANT TO KNOW YOU. I just want to know what makes him tick. And then he can go away.

    LOL I feel like half of my meta is Tumblr-inspired.

    Date: 2011-05-16 09:49 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] hobbitofkobol.livejournal.com
    THESE EPISODES. THIS SHOW. THESE CHARACTERS. EVERYTHING!!!!!!
    <3333333333

    Date: 2011-05-16 09:49 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] throwingpens.livejournal.com
    THIS POST.

    I mean, obviously I adored the shippy bits, but you definitely captured how I'm feeling about these episodes overall!

    Especially the part about how Chris does things because of how he *wants* to be viewed, rather than how he actually is. I think you're totally right about that.

    Sigh. I'm going to have to re-watch the episodes...again.
    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Date: 2011-05-16 09:55 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] fairytiger.livejournal.com
    Oh my god, I agree with every single thing about this post.

    But ugh I never want to see the face in the bottom right cap ever again for any reason:

    RIGHT?! My heart broke into a thousand tiny pieces from one. look. I WANTED TO HUG HER SO BAD.

    Can I just say that I have the exact same thoughts about Chris? I have always been wary of him, like he's not just this super optimistic guy that's fun to laugh at, that there's another layer there that's kind of smarmy. At least people are starting to catch on. Ron is not a fan and I feel like we haven't seen the last of his protective side.

    I actually think their dinner conversation might be my favourite scene from the episode.

    AGREED TO INFINITY. I mean obviously the kiss was glorious, but THIS. THIS is what we've been waiting for, the "I know it, you know it, let's just acknowledge this gigantic elephant in the room" conversation. And it was so sweet and perfectly written. That little breath that he takes right before launching into his town metaphor basically killed me.

    While Leslie is a bundle of nerves, Ben seems to be relatively nonchalant, which is interesting considering what an awkward penguin he normally is

    First of all, "awkward penguin" is the most apt description of Human Disaster Wyatt ever. Secondly, I really really enjoyed the fact that we got to see Leslie freak out about it. I actually had a few discussions (yes, plural) about who would initiate the kiss and I'm so glad it was Ben. While the last few episodes have about Leslie finally seeing the light, this whole growing attraction has been more of his journey than hers, and I liked seeing that pay off. That he was the one to take charge and take that chance and ugh, my god, it was SO hot.

    This was wonderful. I hope you do the same for the next (last, WHAT?) two episodes!

    Date: 2011-05-16 11:35 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] lady0fthesith.livejournal.com
    AGREED TO INFINITY. I mean obviously the kiss was glorious, but THIS. THIS is what we've been waiting for, the "I know it, you know it, let's just acknowledge this gigantic elephant in the room" conversation. And it was so sweet and perfectly written. That little breath that he takes right before launching into his town metaphor basically killed me.

    I think that's practically my favorite little moment of his. It's seemingly so small, but...it's just perfect. I love it!

    (no subject)

    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-05-22 02:48 pm (UTC) - Expand

    Date: 2011-05-16 09:56 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] everythingshiny.livejournal.com
    THIS POSTTTT THIS SHOWWWW THIER FACESSSSSS

    I LOVE EVERYONE ON THIS SHOW, I THINK MY APRIL LOVE IMPROVED GREATLY AFTER THIS EPISODE AND ITS CLEAR THAT AUDREY IS A GREAT ACTRESS.

    i neeeeeeeeeed more Ann and i'm glad these episode had a lot more ann, because i would hate for the ben/leslie relationship to overshadow the galmance of epicness.

    and RON. OH RON.

    Date: 2011-05-16 10:02 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] lightsarefading.livejournal.com
    I read somewhere that they had enough footage to make a thirty minute episode composed entirely of drunk talking heads, and I sincerely hope they include that footage on the season three DVDs.

    That sounds like all I've ever wanted out of life. My fingers are crossed it makes it onto the DVDs!

    I just....I CAN'T. I've rewatched these episodes more times than is normal and sane. THEIR FACES. I'M GOING TO MAKE OUT WITH HIM RIGHT NOW. ON HIS FACE. OFFENSE! THAT'S RUDE. Drunk people! This show is just such a delight, every single week. Even with characters I dislike(re: Chris) they still have moments that make me like them(re: air banjo in the car). I cannot wait to see what the finale has in store.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:51 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    I just.. need the DVDs in my life in general. Because the commentary tracks are necessary to my existence.

    Date: 2011-05-16 10:36 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] some-doll.livejournal.com
    Great picspam. I loved these two episodes. Loved your insight. and I completely agree that the "I'll race you" scene in The Fight was so good yet very much neglected.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:50 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Thanks so much!

    Date: 2011-05-16 10:42 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] allthingsholy.livejournal.com
    This is all absolutely aces, so I have very little to add beyond YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!, but a few things:

    I really thought it was important in the producer's cut of "The Fight" that during Ann and Leslie's conversation on the bench at the beginning, Ann mentions that she's getting really sick of her job and she almost can't take it anymore. I think it casts Leslie's actions in a different light, makes it more justifiable that she'd suggest Ann for the job right away if we've seen Ann complaining about her job recently. Not that I don't think Leslie's a good friend, but I think it painted Leslie as a bit more overzealous than she really was, given the context of that scene.

    There's a moment just after Leslie pushes Ben away when he says "Make a wish" in the car to Indy where he looks back at the road and kind of shakes his head, comes back to himself a little bit like, "God, what am I doing?" And I like that as confident as he was the whole episode (while still being respectful of Leslie), he's not 100% gung-ho just because he knows this could all be a really bad idea. (Though it's not a bad idea, it's a beautiful and perfect idea and it fills my heart with joy.)

    I also really hope we get another shot of the kiss (like in the S3 premiere of "The Office," when they flashback to "Casino Night" just for a minute) if only because I can't enjoy the kiss properly because I'm really thrown by not being able to see their mouths! Leslie's hair is in the way and then Ben's shoulder and I JUST NEED TO SEE THEM LIP TO LIP. If that makes me an awkward voyeur, so be it. I NEED IT IN MY LIFE.

    tl;dr, this write-up was excellent. Would you mind if I friended you?

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:53 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Leslie's hair is in the way and then Ben's shoulder and I JUST NEED TO SEE THEM LIP TO LIP.

    All of their kisses are like this so far and DON'T THEY KNOW THAT SEEING THEM SUCK EACH OTHER'S FACES IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS? I love the mockumentary format most of the time but in this case it might just kill me because I need moar makeouts.

    Date: 2011-05-16 11:08 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] quick-ly.livejournal.com
    THIS POST OWNS MY HEART!

    I kind of already (http://quick-ly.livejournal.com/33790.html) talk about these episodes, but I just find them to be so great, and all the Leslie/Ben-ness has me going crazy! I really need secret dating now!

    Date: 2011-05-16 11:24 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] lunamystik.livejournal.com
    As always, thanks for sharing. Those 2 eps were excellent, and totally deserved the attention you gave them.

    Date: 2011-05-16 11:29 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] lunylucy.livejournal.com
    Hahaha, I was waiting for this post. You did not disappoint! (OH HIS FACE.)

    Apart from enjoying everything in this post, I also really enjoyed your thoughts on Chris. I think it's really interesting how in a show that's so heavily dependent on the actual niceness of its characters (April! Ron! Tom! Andy! <-- could we ever imagine how heart-meltingly loving they can be when the show first started out?!) gave us the ultimate "nice" character in the form of Chris and then proceeded to actually make him the asshole. I don't know just how conscious he is of not being as nice as he pretends to be, because sometimes I feel like he genuinely does not realize how annoying and douchy he can be. But then I think back to what you brought up- him always using Ben to deliver the bad news as if he's not the bad guy here- and I think he's quite well aware of it.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:56 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    I'm genuinely fascinated by Chris - people on Tumblr have been calling him a Slytherin, and I think that's kind of accurate in terms of him being incredibly self-aware of his image. I'm just curious about how aware he actually is - I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out he's an IRL troll who is completely aware of how he comes off to people. I'm actually waiting for the reveal that he's not as oblivious as people think he is.

    (no subject)

    From: [identity profile] lunylucy.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-05-22 06:06 pm (UTC) - Expand

    Date: 2011-05-16 11:29 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] ancientday.livejournal.com
    Okay, so I basically agree with EVERYTHING you had to say about these two episodes. And now I'm even more excited for this week's episodes, omgggg.
    (deleted comment)

    Date: 2011-05-22 03:01 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    I'm really enjoying the scenes between Ben and Ann, because as the two so-called "straight" characters their scenes could have been boring, but Rashida and Adam play well off of each other (it helps that they're not straight-and-narrow straight characters, especially Ben).

    In "Road Trip," I appreciated the contrast between Andy, who gets to shout into a microphone in front of a crowd in the courtyard that he and April are totally going to do it later, and Ben, who has to steal a kiss in a narrow hallway. The parallels and contrasts between April/Andy and Leslie/Ben have been consistently impressive.

    I've read so many fics that exploit this parallel, and it really is one of my favourite things - how Ben might kind of envy Andy and April's impulsiveness, etc.

    I love their utilization of Adam Scott's face, I really do. His facial expressions are the punchline to the joke incredibly often and it's always effective (my favourite though is probably his reaction to April spitting her gum into Andy's mouth). I also think he looks at the camera more than any other character except possibly April, which suits him because he is kind of the Jim Halpert of the show in that he performs the role of audience surrogate in terms of his reactions to the madness of Pawnee.
    Edited Date: 2011-05-22 03:02 pm (UTC)

    Date: 2011-05-17 12:29 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] rikyl.livejournal.com
    GO AHEAD. STARE AT EACH OTHER SOME MORE. I'LL WAIT. Ugh you stupid fools and your stupid, smitten faces. Look at you talking sexily about documents. Look at your hesitation to fist bump Chris because if you actually touch other right now you might just explode and make out with each other right in front of him on his damn desk. Look at you and your talking about towels and eyelashes and being allergic to fingers.

    You're hilarious and awesome and insightful. I wish I was feeling more coherent right now, but basically yes, all of this, everything you wrote.

    Also, I think nonchalant is the perfect word for Ben in Road Trip. I was getting kind of a vague Henry Pollard vibe from him, and I think that was it. It was a little disconcerting but kind of great.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:43 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Aww, thank you so much!

    Date: 2011-05-17 12:52 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] gabsy.livejournal.com
    Your posts are a highlight of my week. THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:41 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Aww, thank you for commenting! :D :D :D

    Date: 2011-05-17 12:56 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] nut-shell.livejournal.com
    This is all really spot on. I also feel like it would have been nice for The Fight to have more time to simmer. We could have micro-analyzed the heck out of it. It really is an awesome episode.

    I thought it was a cruel irony to have Chris barge in on their lovely dinner right when things are coming to a head and say, "There is literally nothing you can't do!" When he is the whole reason they can't do what they want to do.

    I'm going to go check out your other episode commentaries now!

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:40 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Oh yes, I caught that line from Chris on my second viewing (I think the first time I was still in UGH COCKBLOCK mode to be paying proper attention).

    Date: 2011-05-17 01:02 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] space-dementia6.livejournal.com
    this show does too many things to me. ann and leslie are the greatest. their arguments are utterly hilarious and then their make ups are even better.

    andy and april and their neutral milk hotel and then the singing and the GAH.

    and leslie and ben. and just KJSFLDJSFLKJDKDJKLGJDGKLDJGKLDJSG.

    !!!!!

    Date: 2011-05-17 01:24 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] wicked-g.livejournal.com
    Just lurking from the Ben_Leslie comm and omg THIS POST. This Post.

    Perfect.

    Jean Ralphio-how much did you love his dancing? He's so terrible, I love him for it.

    The Fight was deffo the stronger episode of the night, but The Kiss kinda eclipsed it in the short run. I was totally unprepared for it, and did not see it coming, and was stunned into silence, my mouth gaping, my heart all but stopping...and then I had to rewind it a million times to see it again. Same impact, pretty much-but at least I could squeal a bit.

    I also really want to know why Ben was wearing Chris's clothes. In my mind he came up with a scenario where Leslie would at one point see him going to bed sans clothes...but maybe there's a deleted scene where he goes 'damn, I forgot my pajamas!' *shrugs*

    The dinner conversation was so...pretty much my favourite bit, I think. It was almost as if he had practiced it a million times in his head, just waiting to get it out, and finally, finally he can and he's had confirmation that it won't backfire on him, but he's still being a tad careful about it-just in case it does.

    I'm looking forward to Ann toning down the serial dating a notch. Not that it's not normal, but she's so much more likable when she's around Leslie and being a merry little shipper for Leslie/Ben. And her little 'YAY!' through the phone was perfect.

    I swear, this season. Jeez.

    ALSO-Ben acting all nonchalant. Loved it. Whereas Leslie saw this as like, God testing her will power, Ben totally saw this as 'yay Leslie/me time!' and after Ann's confirmation felt a lot more...settled in what was happening between them. Being on the road for hours on end can bring up good conversation, and I think that's what he was gearing towards until Leslie herself cockblocked them with her stupid mixed cd lol
    Edited Date: 2011-05-17 01:28 am (UTC)

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:39 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Thanks so much!

    I really loved seeing Relaxed!Ben, because after almost an entire season of Ben being nervous and smitten it was nice to see him being confident and Leslie being more antsy. It worked with how their arcs have progressed with relation to each other.

    Date: 2011-05-17 03:27 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] blueeyelinerx.livejournal.com
    I freaking love your recaps with all the pretty pictures. Now I want to go back and watch both eps, even though I've watched them both several times. (Totally agree with you -- the Fight was a stronger ep. And Jean Ralphio is just THE BEST). AH, Parks and Rec why are you perfection??

    I need a Parks and Rec icon, for serious.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:37 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Aww, thank you! Even though doing these recaps is like re-watching the episodes I feel an urge to re-watch again immediately after finishing them.

    Date: 2011-05-17 04:07 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] ballroom_pink.livejournal.com
    My favorite moment of hungover Leslie was her cute shoes peeking out from her desk when Ben comes to get her.

    Ann is the greatest shipper!

    And has read a shocking number of political biographies for a town… which I like.
    Going to lurve this man forever!

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:36 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    I will stan Ben Wyatt and his character arc from now until the end of time.

    Date: 2011-05-17 04:53 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] webeh.livejournal.com
    Great review.

    This is jumping off your comment about Amy's expression's during Ben's speech at dinner. I think she looked especially gorgeous in that scene. It's hard to see the difference in just a cap, but in the actual scene her glorious reactions to Ben were fantastic. I find she always looks especially beautiful whenever she's reacting to Ben's praise/dedicated attention. That's something I really love about this ship. It's just so happy and not too heavy on the angst.

    As for Chris, I kind of wish the writers gave him more story lines because I'm really at a loss about who he is as a character. What are his motivations, thoughts, feelings? He's the more outgoing of the two auditors, but ended up being the less integrated into the Pawnee culture. His concerns about inter-office dating and using government resources for personal gain are legitimate. But, how he goes about addressing them seem prick-ish. As you mentioned already he's a physical health nut, but doesn't seem overly concerned about people's emotional health. I don't get the guy. I can't hate him, but I also can't like him.

    With whatever is coming up, I really want to see how this affects the relationship between Ben and Chris. Are they truly friends or does Ben merely tolerate him? I'd say he's friends with Andy and Tom, but I don't get the same friendly vibe at all in relation to Chris.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:36 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Thank you!

    Chris really is a strange beast. I think the most recent episodes made him a lot more interesting (the microchip is compromised!) and I'm actually looking forward to seeing what happens with him in season four. Right now I think he's the most underdeveloped character aside from Donna and Jerry, but I wonder if that's been purposeful.

    Chris and Ben's relationship fascinates me on so many levels. In part I think Ben put up with being the black hat during their partnership because of his residual Ice Town guilt feelings, but there had to be something more to it.

    Date: 2011-05-17 05:58 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] agresha06.livejournal.com
    This will be short and sweet and I hope to elaborate more in the future.
    To the point though:
    I love this show. I love these entries.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:30 pm (UTC)
    (deleted comment)

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:29 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    There was totally a lot of speaking in sync going on! At the beginning of "The Fight" they both turn to each other and I swear they ask each other simultaneously if they should go to Tom's thing, and later in "Road Trip" they speak in unison when Chris tells them they're going on the road trip. Ahhh.

    Aww, thank you so much! I'm so flattered that my crazy-pants rambling is well-received.

    Date: 2011-05-17 01:35 pm (UTC)
    falulatonks: ([parks] !!!!!)
    From: [personal profile] falulatonks
    a) I loved the fight for exactly those reasons!! The passive-aggressive starting point especially. At the same time, though, I don't think Leslie was being too out-of-line - I liked that Ann mentions in the producer's cut that she was actually getting tired of the job. so Leslie was, in a way, just trying to find a way to help her with that - even if she went about it the wrong way.

    b) Ben's face after "fought about boys" is my favourite thing his face did in his scene, oh my god. it sounds weird but IT'S SO PERFECT. "WHAT BOYS?"

    c) You are absolutely right about Chris. I like thinking that he's slowly gathering enemies by being too-strict and a little unreasonably so. I LIKE IT A LOT. And yes, I dislike him because of those reasons, not because he's a cockblock or whatever, because I think at least in that aspect he's a fantastic obstacle - considering who Leslie and Ben are and what matters to them. on the other sides, though - I find him frustrating.

    d) I think even the A plot of Road Trip is pretty weak, but I'm calling it Parks and Recreation-weak, which is. really not very weak at all.

    e) aaah, I love what you said about Ben being a lot more calm during this episode, because yes, you could totally tell that knowing Leslie felt the same calmed him down and let him relax a little more around her. and he knew he would do something about it eventually, and I really loved that. Adam Scott is so wonderful. And he is perfect as Ben. Just perfect.

    f) also all of your Leslie/Ben feelings are accurate. I die.

    Date: 2011-05-22 02:25 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Late comment is late, but whatever whatever I do what I want.

    What I love about the "boys" face is that it kind of highlights one of my favourite things about the relationship, and that is how they manage to make Leslie/Ben an adult, mature relationship while at the same time infusing it with this kind of teenage giddiness. LAHV LAHV LAHV.
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