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  • If you still feel bummed at the end of "Lil Sebastian" I highly suggest looping around again to the beginning of "The Bubble" and you will automatically feel ten times better:


    Reason #887 why I need Leslie Knope to be real and for us to be best friends immediately. BUT HER WORST QUALITY BY FAR IS HOW THOUGHTFUL SHE CAN BE. I also highly enjoyed Andy schooling us all on the properties of gases and Ann's disgruntled office-mate Stuart (it's almost a shame he moved down the hall). And in Tom/Ann Stealth Endgame Watch '11: Welcome to City Hall, Cupcake!

  • I'll admit that it bothered me a little bit that we didn't get to see the direct fallout from The Kiss That Shook the Fandom last week. I usually love the mockumentary format for the interesting shots, talking heads, and glances to the camera, but I swear when it comes to these two I think the format might actually kill me. It makes sense that the conversation (and ~anything else) that followed the kiss might not have been filmed, and that Leslie and Ben would be shown talking about secret smooching and hand-holding more than doing those things, but don't they know these things are relevant to my interests? I'm glad, at least, that we got that wonderful conversation about their feelings at dinner in "Road Trip" and I'll just keep my fingers crossed that season four will bring us more of the same. And more makeouts. For, you know, storytelling purposes.

  • I loved the return to the fourth floor, though despite Tom's obvious distress it didn't seem as menacing as it did during its previous appearance (maybe they fixed the lightbulbs). The metal detector that was constantly going off was a nice touch though. I also enjoyed the contrast between Tom and Andy's enthusiasm (or lack thereof) for the work, which provided the best line of the episode for me: "When life gives you lemons make lemonade. I read that one on a can of lemonade. I like to think it applies to life." Sage words my friend!

  • The Chris vs. the Parks Department storyline was interesting to me in that it seemed to emphasize what I talked about in my last recap about Chris being extremely image conscious. The changes he made in the department were primarily aesthetic (i.e. relating to the layout of the office space) and he seemed less pre-occupied with people's actual functions so much as their titles (for instance, when Tom confronts him Chris reiterates that Tom should be happy to be called a project leader, irregardless of his feelings about the actual work). This image obsession is never more apparent than in his final scene with Ron. Chris gives in relatively quickly and does not seem all that passionate about his changes. His line "there's no way that I can just roll over on this" is very telling in that it's clear that what he's most concerned with is the appearance of authority rather than the rightness of his cause. I also loved the contrast between Chris, who appears to be a people person and a people pleaser but doesn't really get the Parks Department at all, and Ron, who puts on a show of not paying attention to his colleagues but very clearly has a much better handle on his co-workers. What I'm wondering about Chris is this: does he just fail at reading people, or does he read people well but chooses not to use that information?

  • This might just be the single greatest sight gag they've done on the show:


    I cannot stop cackling every time I see it.

  • I wanted to highlight this Ron-Donna scene because it's so great:



    DONNA: This isn’t going to work. Okay, you did not just swivel away when I was talking to you. This spaceship keyboard is driving me crazy! I’m down to one word a minute, and the word is “perflipnisklemp,” because I can’t fly spaceships!
    RON: Donna, you know as well as I do that these city manager shakeups always peter out. You just have to wait.
    DONNA: Usually I’m with you, but this is Chris Traeger, the six million dollar man. He won’t quit. So you need to swivel your ass down to his office and have a word with him.

    I love the idea of Donna being one of the few people that can put Ron in his place. While Leslie and Ron's relationship is based on mutual respect and admiration, I think Donna's influence on Ron stems from both sheer force of personality as well as a shared history in the trenches of the workplace. In "Ron and Tammy" Donna mentions that she's been in the Parks Department longer than even Leslie, and along with Jerry she's probably been there the longest of any of the other staff. This conversation touches on that shared history nicely, and it sort of comes up again in the next episode as it's Donna who warns Ron about the arrival of Tammy I.

  • I pretty much loved everything about the storyline with Leslie, Ben, and her mother:


    Let me just take a brief moment to mention BEN IN A CARDIGAN.


    I think they hit all the right notes with the character of Marlene. Her making a pass at Ben was awkward and funny as hell (oh my god their synced head tilts), but in the end she was supportive of the relationship. It was a nice surprise for her to give Leslie her approval.

    Not only was the storyline hilarious, but I think it was a great showcase for Ben. It sort of reconciled the various aspects of his character. Obviously the return of Ben Wyatt: Human Disaster was a highlight, and his awkwardness was consistent with what we've seen before. Like in "Ron and Tammy Part II" his nervousness stemmed from meeting someone intimidating, and he found himself falling apart because he's unprepared to deal with something personally uncomfortable as in "Media Blitz". I also liked the continuing thread of Ben's most awkward moments happening off-camera and being reported on afterwards ("And at one point, for no reason, I just took off my shoes. and held them in my hand"). We also saw glimpses (Cute) Fascist Hardass!Ben from "The Master Plan" and "Freddy Spaghetti". While Leslie did help coach him, I think Ben's self-confidence was always there. He just needed to tap into it again. We even saw him being assertive with Leslie herself when he demanded that she tell him everything there is to know about her mom, and again when he barges in to Marlene's office to tell her that he and Leslie are dating. It's not a side we've seen of him in awhile, so I loved that in this episode we got to see multiple facets of Ben.

    Another thing that I loved about this storyline is that we got to see a bit of a tiff between Leslie and Ben when he confronts her about lying about her mom, but they're able to resolve it with relative maturity (Leslie's continued insistence on solving her problems by sending them away to a foreign locale aside). I think it was a really nice moment between the two of them.

  • I'm so glad that at the end of the day they brought it back to Leslie and Ron and his desk prison:



    LESLIE: Kind of figured you’d be back in your office by now.
    RON: You know how new city managers are.
    LESLIE: Seems like everyone else is back to normal. …How long do you have to do this?
    RON: A week.
    LESLIE: Citizen request. Swivel, swivel, swivel. Hello! I can help you in here, sir.

    Aww, she protected him from a citizen! Flawless friendship is flawless.

  • THIS WAS SO CUTE WHY WOULD YOU CUT THIS WHY:


    God, they're so smitten. Because Leslie Knope would not normally let some dude wipe her face but it's Ben and he's not being condescending, he's just looking for any excuse to touch her and she loves that and let me die.

  • I was so happy that after their great scene together in "The Fight" that we got some more interaction between Ben and Ann (even if it was just in the Producer's Cut):



    BEN: Hey! …Hey, Ann, how’s it going?
    ANN: You don’t have to pretend, I know you’re supposed to meet Leslie here.
    BEN: But I’m also curious about how it’s going.
    ANN: Leslie’s busy, she’s working on the Li’l Sebastian Memorial Service, but, you know what, she gave me this note to give to you, and she also wanted me to kiss you deeply which I’m gonna have to pass on.
    ANN: I really like my new part-time job here. My officemate moved down the hall, so I have this whole room just for me. …And Ben and Leslie, who secretly meet here. 40 times a day.
    BEN: She drew a kiss monster! On the- on the note.
    ANN: Yeah.
    ANN: Look, you guys are totally welcome to use my office, just don’t do anything on my desk.
    BEN: Oh, we don’t… you know. We just like to work in the same place, and then we talk and hold hands.
    ANN: Yuck. That’s somehow worse.
    BEN: Yeah, it sounded bad when I said it.

    Again, so smitten! SHE DREW A KISS MONSTER ON THE NOTE.

  • The scene between Leslie, Ben, and Ron was hands down my favourite of the evening (this dialogue needs to be transcribed in all of its glory):



    RON: How long have you been sleeping with Ben?
    LESLIE: That’s disgusting and wrong. I don’t even get- why would- I, I’ve never had sex with anyone anywhere. It’s none of your- you have- the nerve, the audacity. Ben is my boss. Technically. And he is terrible facewise, and how… how do I know, frankly, that you’re not sleeping with him? Maybe you are. Maybe you’re trying to throw me off. Hm. Check and mate. This is an outrage! Who do I call?
    BEN: Hey! Hey.
    LESLIE: Hey. Hey.
    BEN: Hey. Hey, Ron. Listen, you’re just who I was looking for. Are you… did you forget the uh… did you, can I- can I get that thing? Can we just, uh… did you bring it? …This isn’t convincing.
    LESLIE: How did you find out?
    RON: We’ve worked together for awhile now. I’d like to think I know you pretty well. Plus, Ben butt-dialed me last night.
    LESLIE Okay, okay. And this is how Eleanor Roosevelt would kiss.
    BEN: Whoa, Eleanor likes the tongue. Show me Pelosi again!
    LESLIE: Okay, lay down.
    LESLIE: Please tell me you hung up before Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
    RON: Unfortunately not. This is a scandal waiting to happen. If you get caught, which you clearly will… Chris will fire you. And I won’t be able to stop him.
    LESLIE: Ron, we’re being very careful.
    LESLIE: Oh, President Reagan, my blazer popped open.
    BEN: Well, Maggie Thatcher, let me help you with that. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride to this summit meeting. Our countries have had a very special relationship—
    LESLIE: Okay. Yes.
    LESLIE: Oh, no!
    LESLIE: You’ve proven your point.

    LET ME COUNT THE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THIS SCENE:

    - The way Leslie adjusts her dress just before walking through the door.
    - Her dress in general. And her hair.
    - The fact that Leslie's babbling was improvised by Amy Poehler (GODDESS DIVINE).
    - Ron Swanson's face the entire time and, later, how protective he is. Eventually I'd like to see him approve of Leslie and Ben's relationship (and ultimately I think a Libertarian like Ron wouldn't approve of the government interfering in personal relationships), but I think his reaction makes sense considering he doesn't know the depth of their feelings at the moment. He's just looking out for their jobs, mainly Leslie's since she's the one he knows well (side note: all I want in the world is for there to be Ron and Ben scenes next season, because I think that relationship has an untapped wealth of comedic potential). Also he's still hung up on Lil Sebastian's death so he's probably grumpier than usual.
    - Just... everyone's horrified expressions.
    - POLITICIAN ROLEPLAY. OH MY GOD. And not even sexy politicians (I bet he does Joe Biden just for her). I'm thinking that left-learning Leslie chose Reagan and Thatcher because as quintessential conservatives they probably seemed kinkier than liberals.
    - The throwback to "Go Big or Go Home" and Leslie believing that clothing popping open is, like, the sexiest thing ever.
    - The frankness about sex. "White wine, cuddling, and crazy amounts of... History Channel documentaries" and all that. The show is still operating within sitcom standards, but in general there is a sense of sex positivity on the show that I appreciate. I'm reminded of a quote from Amy Poehler where she says, "What I do like about the show is that they are adults and they're having sex. People are actually having sex. And it's not the kind of show where you take five seasons to have sex with someone. You do what you usually do in real life, which is you take like five dinners." Leslie and Ben clearly like each other for a lot of reasons, but I like that one of those reasons includes includes just honest-to-god wanting to tap that. We saw some of that in "Jerry's Painting", and we're seeing it again in this episode, and I love it. GET IT, KIDS.
    - Adam Scott totally breaking when they pan back to him following the Reagan bit. I demand a million takes of this scene on the gag reel.
    - HE IS TERRIBLE, FACE-WISE.

  • I love that these two are so enamoured with each other that their attempt to discuss professional physical contact leads to a kiss. Obviously:



    LESLIE: So the only people that know are my mom, Ann, and Ron, and they’re not going to say anything.
    BEN: Right, just, no more fooling around at work.
    LESLIE: Okay, yeah, we can’t.
    BEN: Well, I mean, you know, the situation could arise where you do something good and I congratulate you. Like with a professional hug. You know, kind of like… like this. Oh, congratulations!
    LESLIE: That feels appropriate.
    BEN: Yeah, I think so.
    LESLIE: Yeah, I think we can get away with that, as long as we don’t do stuff like this.
    GEORGE: Hey, lovebirds! What do I do with these?
    LESLIE: …You can just leave it there.
    GEORGE: Okay.
    LESLIE: So, my mom, Ron, Ann, and that guy.

    BUT GODDAMNIT BEN YOUR SHOULDER. Dear Parks and Recreation directors: next season, let's try a new angle because I WANT TO SEE HER MOUTH ON HIS MOUTH. Part of me wonders if this blocking is purposeful. In a way it feels appropriate for the current state of their relationship that we're only getting obscured kisses. Their relationship isn't fully out in the open, and neither are their kisses. It also keeps the audience wanting more, which is probably a smart move on their part. At least we still have forehead touching and faaaaaces.

    I also really love the visual parallels in this scene to their scene in "Freddy Spaghetti" after Leslie finds out Ben paid for the titular character to attend the concert at Lot 48. Once again we have Leslie and Ben shot through a fence next to a stage, but look how far they've come! THIS NARRATIVE ARC APPRECIATION LIFE.

  • You know what I also love?



    LESLIE: Ron Swanson loves his facial hair. And we burned it off. This thing, that we’re doing? It’s unsustainable.
    BEN: What, you want to break up?
    LESLIE: What? No, I like you!
    BEN: Well, then— You want to tell Chris.
    LESLIE: What? No, I like my job!
    BEN: Well, then, what do we do?
    LESLIE: Okay. Operation Shutdown. No more secret handholding, no more smooching in Ann’s office. In fact, when we’re at work, we just shouldn’t talk to each other at all.
    BEN: Okay, well, that’s going to be really hard, and we could still get fired.
    LESLIE: I know, but… it’s worth the risk if I can be with you.
    BEN: All right. Well, then, I’m in.
    LESLIE: What are you doing, are you kidding?
    BEN: I am sorry, no, it’s a force of habit.

    The fact that they've been making out so much over the past couple of weeks that kissing Leslie has become a force of habit for Ben. Let's talk about that. A FORCE OF HABIT. ALSO IT'S WORTH THE RISK. ALSO THEIR FAAAAAAACES. (Also "shutdown" - nice parallel with the season two finale).

  • One of the best things about Parks in comparison to other comedies is its commitment to pushing its characters forward. So many sitcoms allow their characters to become stagnant, but Parks has always been about progress, even if it's in tiny increments. Whether it is in terms of the relationships between characters, the goings-on in Pawnee, or internal character developments things happen. I think the show left us with some really interesting threads going into season four:

    » April/Andy:



    ANDY: April I need to ask you something and it's the biggest thing I've ever asked anybody in my entire life.
    APRIL: Honey we're already married.
    ANDY: No this is way more important than that. April Ludgate... would you be my manager?
    APRIl: Seriously? Okay... yeah.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the direction they took April and Andy this season. I wasn't sure if they would work as a married couple, but I find them even more adorable now than when they were a will-they-won't-they couple or just dating. I also think their marriage opens up a lot of storytelling potential, and I've been thinking of this quote from Mike Schur a lot in relation to April becoming Mouse Rat's manager: "What if they just got married? What if they did something impulsive and young and foolhardy? It seemed like it would lead to interesting stories down the line where whatever is going on in their relationship the stakes would automatically be higher because they’re married, instead of just dating." I haven't seen a lot of people talk about it, but I think April acting as Andy's manager will definitely lead to some tribulations, both comical and dramatic. We already saw in "Road Trip" that they have very different musical philosophies, so I'm interested in seeing how this develops.

    » Chris and Chris/Ann:



    "What's the point of doing 10,000 pushups, if you’re going to do them alone? I’d much rather do 5,000 pushups with a wonderful woman... sitting on my back to increase my resistance."

    THE MICROCHIP HAS BEEN COMPROMISED! Honestly, this is the most interesting I've ever found Chris (well, I've always found him interesting but more from a construction point of view rather than as a character to care about). I don't ship Chris/Ann and I don't really want to see them back together (though I'd love for Chris to go in for a kiss and have Ann reject him), but I do like seeing the affect they have on each other. Ann's line "he always just throws me off" encompasses their dynamic perfectly; I like seeing Ann thrown a bit off-kilter. I think in this episode we finally get to see Chris thrown off his axis a bit and see Ann have a modicum of control in their relationship, which is great after all she's been through.

    » Tammy I:



    DONNA: Red alert Swanson, your ex-wife is back.
    RON: No kidding Donna.
    DONNA: Not her, the other ex-wife.
    RON: Tammy I.
    DONNA: She's in your office.

    Who is this she-beast who can send Tammy II scurrying away in fear? I'm definitely curious to see who will play Tammy I and what type of personality she'll have. I'm assuming she'll be different than man eater Tammy II. I just don't want the role to go to Molly Shannon because I feel like her type of comedy is too broad, loud and physical. No one can top Megan Mullaly in that regard so they should go for something different.

    » Tom:



    JEAN-RALPHIO:Why don't you live your life like that cow from the video?
    TOM: He was a horse!
    JEAN-RALPHIO: Yeah, because he followed his dreams!

    Tom's departure from the Parks Department for Entertainment 720 was one of the more interesting developments of the finale, and one of the most satisfying from a progress perspective. I think it's fantastic that they've taken a character that could have been one note and given him an actual arc. Instead of having his aspirations be mere comedic fodder they're actually going places with them, and it's so exciting to me. I think eventually he'll be reincorporated into the government fold, but for now it's nice that this character is being given an opportunity to pursue his dreams, however foolhardy (I'd like some Tom-Ben scenes next season wherein Ben tries to give Tom financial advice, please and thank you). Of course this storyline also means MORE JEAN-RALPHIO! Always appreciated. Unlike a lot of fans I don't want him to be a series regular in season four, as I think he works best in smaller doses, but I do love seeing him on my screen. "Which one floats your penis."

    I have to mention that one of my favourite scenes in "Lil Sebastian" is the Thelma and Louise conversation, because the music kind of swells in the background at the perfect moment and it gives it this faux-epic feel.

    » Leslie and Leslie/Ben:



    WILLIAM: All we need to know right now is are you theoretically interested in running for office?
    LESLIE: Absotutely, I am very sorry that I just used that word! But, yes! I just… I’ve dreamed about this moment for a long time.
    ...

    LESLIE: Would I have to quit my job?
    WILLIAM: Well, that’s a long way off.
    LESLIE: Of course.
    WILLIAM: But, listen. When you run, even in a local election, your life becomes an open book. So, if you so much as stiff a waiter on his tip, or use a government stamp for personal mail, it will come out. So before we go any further, I need you to tell me, is there a scandal out there? Is there anything at all you need to tell us about your life?
    LESLIE: ...Nope.

    ALL. OF. THE. FEELINGS. Damn, this scene was beautifully done from FACES FACES FACES (Her little half-smile! His knowing look!) to the way the scene ends as we hear the line "things I really want to do" from "Two Birds Holding Hands" in the background. I also can't help but remember Leslie and Ben's conversation about running for office in "The Master Plan" and ugh ugh ugh my actual heart.

    Now that I've had some time to let my feelings on the finale settle, I think I'm actually at a really good place mentally and emotionally with regards to this development (oh my god this is a television show I need to stop). Leslie's "nope" is ambiguous, but I don't take the cynical perspective I've seen in a lot of comments on various reviews. First of all, Parks and Recreation is not a cynical show. The creators are invested in their characters' happiness, and I truly believe that even if there are bits o' angst in season four that ultimately things will turn out for the best because that's just how they roll in Pawnee. Second of all, Leslie is not the type of character to just give up. I can't see her sacrificing either her personal or professional happiness without a fight. I'm not sure how the show will reconcile Leslie/Ben with Leslie's political aspirations, or even how they'll reconcile her political aspirations with her role in the Parks Department, but I'm more nervous-excited than nervous-worried because these writers know their characters and care about them. If any character can have it all, it's Leslie Friggen Knope, and I doubt they'll truly make her permanently decide between being happy in either her romantic or professional life. For all Schur and Co.'s talk about not knowing what kind of storyline they're going to go with and figuring out what they're going to do next season I'm positive they already have a game plan and I for one could not be more excited to see it play out because...

    LESLIE KNOPE IS GOING TO RUN FOR OFFICE. LADY HERO! EVERYTHING SHE'S DREAMED OF! I just... want this for her so badly. I'm not sure how the show would pull it off without major alterations to the fundamental structure of the show, but I'm sure they have something up their sleeves. A loss would be devastating, but I can see it happening. Hopefully something like that would be tempered by some other promotion, or perhaps instead they'll have Leslie realize that her passion lies in the Parks Department and not public office. Regardless, there is tons of potential for storylines with a political campaign and possible secret dating. I have a feeling that her relationship with Ben might be the least of her problems when it comes to scandal. There are a ton of other incidents from her background that could be brought up to derail her - marrying gay penguins and becoming a gay icon, holding a minor against his will, "posing nude" for a painting, getting into a fight with a government employee from Eagleton and getting thrown in jail overnight, going against the Sweetums corporation, etc. Parks has always been great with continuity so I wouldn't be surprised to see some great throwbacks to earlier incidents next season.

  • RANDOM THINGS THAT I LOVED THAT I DIDN'T MENTION IN-DEPTH BECAUSE THIS IS LONG ENOUGH AS IT IS:

    - "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" and Andy's little head bop.
    - Tom's fake British accent in the Lil Sebastian tribute video.
    - "5,000 Candles in the Wind" being 5,000 times better than "Candle in the Wind" and including the lyric "spread your wings and fly".
    - Leslie and Marlene Griggs-Knope joking about their shared last name... even though they've never met.
    - April's note to Jerry ("You're going to fail").
    - That random guy smashing a coffee pot against the wall (I think he's a writer from season one).
    - CUBE BUTT CUBE BUTT CUBE BUTT!
    - Ron's military march to the eternal flame.
    - LET'S MENTION EVERYONE'S FACES AGAIN BECAUSE IT IS WORTH REPEATING.

    That's a wrap! See you next season! ACCIO SEPTEMBER!
  • Date: 2011-05-25 04:21 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] rikyl.livejournal.com
    I have started looking forward to these reviews. They are so thoughtful and detailed and entertaining. Thank you for writing them!

    "Not only was the storyline hilarious, but I think it was a great showcase for Ben. It sort of reconciled the various aspects of his character."

    YES! (To this and all of the two paragraphs following it.) I rambled about something similar in my journal, but you express it so succinctly and eloquently. I so loved The Bubble for all the reasons you list.

    "I can't see her sacrificing either her personal or professional happiness without a fight. I'm not sure how the show will reconcile Leslie/Ben with Leslie's political aspirations, or even how they'll reconcile her political aspirations with her role in the Parks Department, but I'm more nervous-excited than nervous-worried because these writers know their characters and care about them. If any character can have it all, it's Leslie Friggen Knope, and I doubt they'll truly make her permanently decide between being happy in either her romantic or professional life."

    I am now going to try to adopt your nervous-excited instead of nervous-worried attitude. Thank you for this. :)

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:29 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    And I've been looking forward to your comments! Hopefully the discussion posts on [livejournal.com profile] leslie_ben will keep us going until the fall.

    I ended up checking out your post in your journal after this comment, and you were spot-on, so yay great minds thinking a like! I think "The Bubble" was Ben's best episode character-wise and performance-wise after "Media Blitz".

    Parks hasn't failed me yet so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they continue this winning streak.

    Date: 2011-05-25 06:12 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] fairandbright.livejournal.com
    Ha, I see you too snagged the animated P&R mood theme. *brofists*

    I think "He is terrible, face-wise," is becoming my all-time favorite line from this show. Hard to tell since it's still so fresh, but c'mon, that was amazing.

    I'll admit I too was bummed there wasn't talking after The Kiss last week, but at least they had plenty of moments alone in these two episodes.

    Can I ask where you watched the producer's cut? I haven't gotten the chance to watch those cut scenes. I've just seen graphics, which doesn't feel the same. :/

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:27 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Everyone is using this mood theme and it is glorious!

    AMY POEHLER IS A GODDESS. Seriously, I can't believe she improvised that whole thing. Amazeballs.

    I watched the producer's cut originally on NBC.com. It should be available there or on Hulu? I also have a download so if you still need it let me know. It's worth watcihng.

    Date: 2011-05-25 06:14 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com
    I love your enthusiasm for this show. Never change :) These eps didn't quite grab me as much as Parks usually does, but I've come around to blaming that on the wonderfulness of The Fight/Road Trip and how anything would have trouble being as great following that up. I'm not worried about Ben/Leslie in S4 - this is Parks, it's going to work out. And we'll get some great Leslie moments in the campaign, no doubt ;)

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:25 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    I'm really excited to see Leslie on campaign. There's a ton of storyline potential there. I have this weird idea in my head that there needs to be an episode about attack ads - like there is one against Leslie about her marrying the gay penguins and flashing her butt on television and having a clandestine relationship with... ANN.

    Date: 2011-05-25 08:12 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/brokenrecord__/
    This is totally awesome and I agree with everything you said, but a few things in particular:

    I'll admit that it bothered me a little bit that we didn't get to see the direct fallout from The Kiss That Shook the Fandom last week.

    Seriously! I just wish we at least had some clue about what happened between Leslie saying "Uh-oh" and then Ben saying at some point, they should make out in The Bubble! I want to know what Ben's reaction was and if Leslie ran out after that or if she stayed and they talked about things or if they went somewhere and talked about things and how much they've been making out and watching history documentaries! (I mean, it's obviously a lot because FORCE OF HABIT, but I'd still like some confirmation. And by that, I mean some visual evidence of them making out a bunch. Purely in the name of fully understanding their character arcs, of course.)

    It's not a side we've seen of him in awhile, so I loved that in this episode we got to see multiple facets of Ben.

    Yes, that was absolutely something I really loved about this episode! It was really nice to see the return of mean (well, not mean, but assertive, no nonsense) Ben from last season! I mean, I love that he's softened so much towards Leslie and Pawnee over the course of living there and falling for her, but that assertiveness and confidence is a part of his character, and it was nice to see it back. And I love how flawlessly it was integrated with the return of Ben Wyatt: Human Disaster, as well as Ben Wyatt: totally and ridiculously head over heels for Leslie Knope. I have nothing but love for Ben and his character arc; it is literally perfect.

    So much yes to what you said about Ron's reaction to Leslie/Ben! I liked that after his initial anger at them in that scene, it became clear that it was basically solely because they would get fired, and he couldn't protect them (Leslie, particularly) from that. And yeah, Li'l Sebastian's death couldn't have helped matters any.

    The fact that they've been making out so much over the past couple of weeks that kissing Leslie has become a force of habit for Ben. Let's talk about that. A FORCE OF HABIT.

    STILL NOT OVER THAT. I WILL PROBABLY NEVER BE OVER THAT.

    Leslie's "nope" is ambiguous, but I don't take the cynical perspective I've seen in a lot of comments on various reviews.

    Agreed! I saw a lot of people indicating that that was Leslie choosing her job over Ben? But I didn't see it that way. I mean, she couldn't have actually told them because then they would both be fired AND she wouldn't be able to run for office. It seemed more of an instant response, panicked kind of reaction, like when Ben asked her about Marlene being related to her. She didn't lie to him because she didn't care about him or had no intentions of ever telling her mom about him. It was just an instant "Oh god, I can't handle this" response, so she had to be like "Nope, no relation, we laugh about it all time but have never spoken to each other, she's Filipino!" I feel like this was another instance of her just trying to cover quickly without really thinking through the consequences. Anyways, I am definitely with you in being nervous-excited about next season!

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:33 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    I mean, I get why we didn't get those scenes from a structural point-of-view, because that's just part of the mockumentary format but... more makeouts! More talking! Season four should have plenty of both, though, so I won't complain too much. I'll just fill in the gaps with fan fic and my own imagination.

    I think Leslie's "nope" can be construed as either her momentarily forgetting about her relationship with Ben in her excitement or not thinking her relationship with Ben was a problem or her lying, but I don't think for one second her nope was a "I'm breaking this off". I'm sure there will be struggles, but I don't see her as the kind of person to just dismiss the relationship. It was definitely a panicked reaction.

    Date: 2011-05-25 11:39 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] andyapointis.livejournal.com
    I totally caught Adam Scott breaking, but my silly romantic heart took it as Ben remembering what happened between "Reagan" and "Maggie"

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:24 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Haha, I can totally fanwank that as being a possibility!

    Date: 2011-05-26 12:00 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] quick-ly.livejournal.com
    As per-always, I agree with 100% of everything in this post! I have this gut feeling that I'm never going to dislike one of your Parks post. Oh well.

    Image

    (Also, yay for matching mood-theme! I love how like everyone in the Parks fandom is using it!)

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:22 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    It delights me that, like, half of my friends list is using this mood theme! I NEVER WANT TO CHANGE IT EVER (unless it gets updated).

    Date: 2011-05-26 12:35 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] jamesie-boy.livejournal.com
    And more makeouts. For, you know, storytelling purposes

    mte. how are fic-writers supposed to know the exact positioning? we need more footage to research.

    Let me just take a brief moment to mention BEN IN A CARDIGAN.

    BEST. BEST. BEST. :D he looked so good. it's even better than the windbreaker. xD

    It's not a side we've seen of him in awhile, so I loved that in this episode we got to see multiple facets of Ben.

    yesss ♥ i love that we got confident!Ben and HumanDisaster!Ben in the same episode. so enjoyable to watch. and i also really loved that he called Leslie on her lying (LOL) and demanded the real story.

    God, they're so smitten. Because Leslie Knope would not normally let some dude wipe her face but it's Ben and he's not being condescending, he's just looking for any excuse to touch her and she loves that and let me die.

    ALL OF THIS OH MY GOD.

    The frankness about sex. "White wine, cuddling, and crazy amounts of... History Channel documentaries" and all that.

    this show is so refreshing in a lot of ways - this being one of them. no bullshitting around, i like that. & i agree with all your bullet points there, especially Leslie's hair (beautiful!) and Amy's improv (AMAZING).

    Part of me wonders if this blocking is purposeful. In a way it feels appropriate for the current state of their relationship that we're only getting obscured kisses. Their relationship isn't fully out in the open, and neither are their kisses. It also keeps the audience wanting more, which is probably a smart move on their part

    i never thought about it that way, but you might be right. it makes sense. BUT GODDAMN IT I WANNA SEE THEM MAKE OUT. PROPERLY. /PERV

    let me die forever over the fact that kissing each other is a force of habit. LOVE IT SO MUCH.

    We already saw in "Road Trip" that they have very different musical philosophies, so I'm interested in seeing how this develops.

    me too. i love them together, but we know it can't be wonderful married couple all the time.

    I don't ship Chris/Ann and I don't really want to see them back together (though I'd love for Chris to go in for a kiss and have Ann reject him), but I do like seeing the affect they have on each other.

    yeah, i really wouldn't like to see them get back together either - i didn't really like them when they were tbh. i wouldn't like seeing Ann go back to the guy that hurt her, but like you said, i like seeing her a little off-balance.

    Unlike a lot of fans I don't want him to be a series regular in season four, as I think he works best in smaller doses, but I do love seeing him on my screen.

    agreed. i like being surprised and happy to see him when he shows up!

    LESLIE KNOPE IS GOING TO RUN FOR OFFICE. LADY HERO! EVERYTHING SHE'S DREAMED OF! I just... want this for her so badly. I'm not sure how the show would pull it off without major alterations to the fundamental structure of the show, but I'm sure they have something up their sleeves.

    LESLIE KNOPE FOR EVERYTHING EVER. everything you just said, really. i love her a ridiculous amount (really it's ridiculous just how much i love her) and i really want her to have everything she's ever wanted. i want her to have the career and the guy and live happily ever after. the writers love her as much as we do, so i shouldn't be worried about that. but it's the journey to get there that i'm thinking about. but like you, i think it's more a nervous-excited. i can't wait to see where they take it. i'd hate to see her fail, but it's possible. and i'd hate to see her have to end things with Ben - even if it's for a short while, but again, that's possible too. oh show, giving me feelings and such. i'm so invested in this show and the characters and the relationships and ahhhh my life, it was nice knowing you i guess.

    WHERE'S SEPTEMBER GODDAMN IT.

    (rambling back at you again \o/)

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:22 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Research. Yes... research. Mostly, I've seen animated gifs from Party Down and Adam Scott is so good at the kissing. DON'T WASTE THIS VALUABLE SKILL SET!

    LOL life. What is that? What are other shows besides Parks? THINGS THAT ARE DIFFICULT FOR ME TO FATHOM.

    Date: 2011-05-26 12:40 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] blueeyelinerx.livejournal.com
    Everything about this is a delight. I agree with it all. THEIR FACES!! I look forward to these every week after the ep :) Thanks for all your insight, hard work, awesome analysis, and general squee -- accio September INDEED!

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:19 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Thanks so much for reading and commenting :D.

    Date: 2011-05-26 02:32 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] rose-griffes.livejournal.com
    What a fun post. Season 3 of P&R has been a delight.

    Yay, their faces indeed!

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:18 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Thanks so much!

    Date: 2011-05-26 02:57 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] petriefalls.livejournal.com
    This is awesome. It is like living it all over again. Today I was rewatching Greg Pikitis and guess what Tom calls Ann....cupcake. END GAME!

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:18 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Thanks!

    SO ENDGAME. MAKE IT HAPPEN SHOW.

    Date: 2011-05-26 03:21 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] allthingsholy.livejournal.com
    Firstly: YES. Mouths on mouths. It needs to happen. But I'm with you that it's smart, plot-wise, in that it leaves us still wanting more (AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE) while satisfying the story's needs.

    Secondly: Ron Swanson. When he tells Ben and Leslie, "Chris will fire you, and I won't be able to stop him," I love it. I love that he'd want to stop him. I love that he's on their side, really, and he's only trying to look out for their interests by telling them the giant ways they're going to fuck up. He cares about them, so much. It's beautiful.

    Thirdly: Leslie's "nope." I was talking on Tumblr the other day about the things that "nope" could mean, and I take it two ways: 1) Leslie's lying, she's going to cover up her relationship and still see Ben, she's going to try to work it out, etc., & 2) she kind of forgot. We see the camera pan up to Ben but Leslie never looks away, and I think she's so used to living a relatively squeaky clean life that it's habit to say, "Nope, nothing here, totally good, totally awesome." There's that little look of confusing/recollection on her face right before she looks at Ben, like, "Oh. OH!" and I think that's where she kind of remembers. And I'm okay with her being blinded by her potential run for just a moment, and then having to catch back up to herself and remember that she's got more going on right now.

    I DON'T KNOW. THIS SHOW JUST MAKES ME FEEL THINGS. And yes, to the "Freddy Spaghetti" parallel and yes to the Mean!Ben/Hearts!Ben meeting and yes to Ron's swivelling and Tom's development and more Jean-Ralphio and yes to Tammy I and just. Yes. YES.

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:17 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    UGH RON YOU BIG BEAUTIFUL MAN.

    I think, at the very least, Leslie's "nope" did not mean that her relationship with Ben is over and that it's no longer a problem. It was completely a knee-jerk reaction. I agree that she was kind of just blind-sided by the offer to really think about what she was saying.

    Date: 2011-05-26 04:37 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] bitterbird.livejournal.com
    I love your reviews so much (and started following you on tumblr because of how awesome your mind is)

    I love every single thing about this post.
    I agree I am not worried about Ben/Leslie. Like you said this is not a cynical show, and they worked hard on their slow burn for this relationship, I don't see them throwing that all away now. and one of my favorite things about this show is their continuity -so many shows are terrible at it, and you can really tell the Park's writers care and give a damn about their world because they always bring things back etc

    excellent post as always!

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:15 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Aww, thank you so much! I just have a lot of feelings.

    Parks-Continuity OTP! And it's not only their consistent character and storyline development - it's little details like throwbacks to lines or props in the background. It's amazing.
    (deleted comment)

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:13 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    At least there will always be discussion at [livejournal.com profile] leslie_ben! Thank you so much for your kind words; your comments are always some of my favourites at [livejournal.com profile] leslie_ben, as you're always so insightful and articulate. I'm always happy to see you pop up in these posts o' mine!

    How you manage to round up and assess almost every major opinion and reaction that I've seen floating around, I'll never know. But I love it.

    BECAUSE I'M A NUTTER. But I'm glad my craziness is appreciated :P.

    I respect the directors/writers so much for their choices in terms of camera angles, because they're so thoughtful, but GODDAMNIT SCHUR GIVE ME MOUTHS ON MOUTHS NEXT SEASON PLEASE. I hopefully more direct mouth-on mouth action will coincide with their relationship also being more out in the open.

    Date: 2011-05-26 04:54 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] ballroom_pink.livejournal.com
    "my blazer popped open."

    A callback to Go Big or Go Home?

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:10 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Ta-da (http://zombie-boogie.tumblr.com/post/5871092236/leslie-thank-you-chris-im-wearing-a-tuxedo)! There were a ton of throwbacks at the end of the season to the beginning of the season. I love it.

    Date: 2011-05-26 06:00 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] space-dementia6.livejournal.com
    these episodes were utterly perfect. they had sadness and joy and laughter and sadness and everything. they had me needing to know who tammy number two is. they had lil sebastien and associated sadness and april and andy being one of the greatest things in the history of the world.

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:09 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    There really was more angst than I'm generally used to with P&R, but it was so well done and makes me excited-anxious for next season. COME BACK TO ME SHOW.

    Date: 2011-05-27 02:16 am (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] lunamystik.livejournal.com
    Yes, I'm sad that season 3 is no more - but ecstatic about many things about it - but I'm actually looking forward to all the creativity and speculations that we'll see until September. Thanks again for sharing your picspams with us... I'll look forward to reading them (no pressure!) in season 4.

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:08 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    You're very welcome, and thanks so much for commenting! Haha, if Parks continues to bring me so much effusive joy you can bet I'll keep babbling on about it.

    Date: 2011-05-27 09:51 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] goddamgaloshes.livejournal.com
    I love your... recaps? But they're so much more than recaps! I hope you keep them up for next season as well. I second your cry for outtakes from that one Ron/Ben/Leslie scene. I just want to see Amy crack up Adam for, like, twenty minutes straight.

    Oh, I think the random guy is Dana Gould, in case anyone is wondering. I am crossing my fingers that he will continue to pop up and coffee pot-smashing psychopath.

    Date: 2011-05-27 09:52 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] goddamgaloshes.livejournal.com
    *pop up as the coffee pot-smashing psychopath.

    It's been a long day.

    Date: 2011-06-03 11:08 pm (UTC)
    From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
    Thank you so much! I'm glad to know that people have been enjoying them.

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