zombie_boogie: (parks | leslie + ben → how do you feel)
[personal profile] zombie_boogie

I was going to write about "Smallest Park" in my regular end-of-the-week TV recap last week, but a combination of my having not written about the show since "Pawnee Rangers" (damn you pneumonia!) and my having too many feelings that required proper pictorial illustration and far too much text led me to create a more substantial review/picspam. I know it's been five days since the episode aired and everyone has already written their reviews but whatever whatever I do what I want. THIS IS LONG AND RIDICULOUS AND I MAKE NO APOLOGIES.


This episode has been compared a lot to "Road Trip" for obvious reasons, but I think "Smallest Park" was a much stronger episode because the secondary plots were more emotionally resonant. Let's start with Tom and Jerry!



"I think that Comic Sans always screams fun, right?"

I was admittedly disappointed when Entertainment 720 went under, because I liked the idea of Tom having forward progress in his story (even if the company was ridiculous and unsustainable). Like Tom, I was worried that his return to city government would be a step backward for him. I am still somewhat concerned, but the last two episodes have left me hopeful that Tom will still be able to have a forward trajectory even though he's at his old position. This episode reminded me a bit of "Flu Season" in that we got to see that Tom actually can be competent at his job. Tom is a good networker, and he is creative, but he needs to reign himself in. He's like those brilliant contestants on Project Runway that Tim Gunn is always encouraging to self-edit. Like, Tom needs to realize that he doesn't need the rhinetones and the ruffles and the fringe. He needs to streamline his thought processes more often like he did with his presentation to Chris.

I also liked that this episode reminded us that even though Jerry is the butt monkey at the office, he's still very happy in his personal life. But damnit, Jerry, I think "weekends are for dreaming" might be the most depressing statement I've ever heard uttered on this program. Maybe ever. And ugh Jerry Comic Sans? Of course. I bet you also think Papyrus is "exotic" and "festive" or something.

Details That I Loved: The promotional poster for the rangers reality show had the picture of Tom with the tiny mug. Jerry's ID badge says "Gerry".




"My first day of college my father dropped me off at the steel mill. He didn't think I should go to college, but I hitched a ride, enrolled, and learned a lot. Hope Andy does too."

The Andy/April/Ron plot was fairly stellar, and it really would not have worked out as well without all three people involved. They needed both Ron and April as the angel and the devil on Andy's shoulders to give the narrative its kick. How much did I love that all three fell in love with women's studies? SO MUCH. Though I would totally study women's lasers. A guy joining a women's studies course is a well-worn trope in fiction, and it was refreshing to see this show not go the typical route of having him join to meet women, or having the class be treated as a joke. It's also interesting to me that in Andy's rambling spiel at the end he almost sort of hit on some actual feminist rhetoric. Most of what he had to say was ludicrous, but when he was talking about legalizing prostitution he was almost weirdly progressive. The rights of sex workers is a major issue with third-wave feminists, so Andy kind of stumbled his way into a legitimate talking point! Though his speech was so disjointed it was hard to tell.

I want to take a minute to return to Ron Swanson, because in really wonderful, subtle ways this episode reminded me that Ron Swanson is not a cookie cutter he-man character. A comment on the A.V. Club review for the episode said that it seemed out of character for Ron to be so supportive of Andy seeking an education, and for Ron to be interested in women's studies. I'm not sure what show they've been watching. I think Ron, as someone who prizes individual liberty, would absolutely value self-improvement through education (whether he would actually value institutionalized education is another thing, but I do think he'd support betterment through higher learning). And if "Woman of the Year" taught us anything it's that Ron Swanson is an awesome feminist (oh my god what is happening), and the show has demonstrated repeatedly that Ron Swanson appreciates a strong, self-possessed woman. Many reviewers have talked about the danger of Ron Swanson becoming a parody of himself, but I think episodes like this demonstrate how multi-faceted he is.

I liked this storyline a lot, but if I have one quibble it's that I really, really want April to have a storyline separate from Andy. I love them together, I think it's great that Andy is maybe going somewhere, and I've had more April/Andy-shaped feelings lately than I ever have before, but I'd really like for April to have some kind of narrative of her own.

Details That I Loved: "Crash course". Chris Pratt's stupid face at all times. The banner above the community college reading "Achieving Standards Every Day". Andy fucking nuzzling Ron (Ron and Andy hugs remain the best thing). Ron-Women's Studies Professor OTP.


And now we come to the Leslie/Ben part of our program. BE PREPAAAAAAARED.


I have really nothing substantial to say about this scene except that I should have named this image dumbfacesthatIdonotevenlike.png. Who gave you permission to ruin my life? Also as a side note, it's been awhile since we've seen Ben in plaid. Whither art thou plaid? It seems like during the break-up he has been sticking with more neutral shirts. Maybe now that he and Leslie have reunited he can bust out his checks again (though he can keep the Boom Sadness hair).



Ben: After this project finishes, I’m going to focus on other departments and cut down my time with Parks and Rec.
Leslie: What?
Ben: Well, look, I mean, we tried hanging out together, we tried working together, and it just… bums me out.
Leslie: No, no, no, see, we’re just working out the kinks. You don’t need to decrease your time with me. In fact, you need to increase your time with me. You need to spend more time with me. That make sense? I think it does.
Ben: Leslie, no, listen to me. After the smallest park wraps up, I’m going to ask Chris to take over all Parks and Rec business, okay?
Leslie: Okay.
Ben: All right.
Leslie: Well, if you’ll excuse me, I need to ascertain the whereabouts of some oversized ceremonial scissors.
Ben: I— Those are my pens and pencils!


Since I haven't written about the show in awhile I have all of these pent-up feelings about how the Leslie/Ben pairing has progressed so far in season four, and lucky you dear reader I am going to foist some of them upon you now! I honestly feel like their arc has been just as well-written as it was in season three, if less happy-making as a fan. I think it's hard when you're in the middle of an arc to see the forest for the trees; characters do things that frustrate you at the time, and things you expected or wanted to happen may not occur. But looking back on the first handful of episodes of the season, I think the writers executed this arc the way that it needed to unfold. There may be scenes that I wish were in there, and I may have been frustrated with these characters' behaviour at times, but I can't truly be mad at the show since all of Leslie and Ben's actions stemmed from an authentic, in-character place. It's an admirable achievement that they managed to make both Leslie and Ben sympathetic (and still comical!) in turns despite some frankly awful behaviour on both sides. I get Ben pulling away (how can he not? It just hurts too much) and Leslie pushing to stay in his life (how can she not? It just hurts too much). I get why Leslie has approached this post-break-up era with an almost manic enthusiasm and deliberately oblivious state of denial, because that is what Leslie does. I get why Ben is surly and withdrawn, because that is what Ben does. I get why Leslie is trying to stay friends, because what is more important to Leslie than friendship? And I get why Ben would be hurt by that, because even though I don't believe that Leslie would actually be comfortable with "just friends" mode in the long run, it might seem that way from his perspective.

All of that rambling leads us to this scene, which a lot of people were somewhat understandably freaking out about when it was first released as a preview clip. This scene stung, it stung hard, but again: in-character. I know people were getting annoyed with the back-and-forth between them between "End of the World" and "Smallest Park", and I probably would have too had it lasted several more episodes, but once more I think it makes sense for the characters. Leslie is always going to be relentless and enthusiastic, and Ben, well, even though he wants to pull away to protect his own heart, he can't help but be pulled back in to Leslie's orbit. And of course Leslie would be petty and steal his office supplies. That's just how she rolls.

I also wanted to point out that I'm glad they were awful at times. Their break-up was about as amicable as a break-up could be, but I like that in the aftermath we got to see them as flawed and oh-so-painfully human. More importantly, I'm glad that they got to see each other at their worst. It was rather clever of the writers to have them get to know each other better while they are broken up. It means that now that they are back together it's with a deeper understanding of who they are as people. They aren't in the bubble anymore, they know it, and they're OK with that.




“As a mature, reasonable adult I understand that this will be the last project Ben and I will be working on together. So, please join us for the grand opening of Pawnee’s smallest park on November 12th, 2070.”

This is really just it's own Detail That I Loved talking point, because Leslie has a picture from the Model U.N. on her desk! And I continue to draw hearts and stars around the props department.




"You see, Leslie here is a team of one, and that might be a very good team, but she kind of steamrolls the rest of her team — me — to do whatever she wants, regardless of how the rest of her team — me — feels. So, I don’t think we should work together anymore."

BEN CUTTING THE RIBBON WAS SO BRUTAL. In my head canon he thoroughly apologized for that, because even though I can understand his reaction to Leslie's steam rolling that was way harsh dude. What I really want to talk about, though, is Leslie because I've been reading some professional and fan reviews that have criticized her behaviour as being out-of-character and too over-the-top. First off, I am going to direct you to this stunning essay on Leslie Knope's characterization by [livejournal.com profile] calikalie. Just go read it right now because it's brilliant. Basically, Leslie has a history of behaving irrationally and competitively in both romantic and non-romantic situations, and has concocted many ridiculous plans in the past. It's the flip side to the passion and enthusiasm that are her most positive and lauded qualities. And it's not an aspect of her personality that magically appeared when she broke up with Ben, so I've never read her behaviour these past three episodes as "woman gets all irrational because of a man".

Also can I just take a moment to talk about how Chris is the worst? Because Chris is the fucking worst. For someone who prides himself on being compassionate (remember him selflessly comforting that random woman on the fourth floor in "The Bubble"?), he is stunningly insensitive in this scene. He may be unaware of Leslie and Ben's romantic history, but he knows they're friends and a great professional team so it's disheartening to see him be so flippant about the breakdown of their relationship.

Details That I Loved: This actually goes back to the public forum scene, but I love the fact that not only does the show bring back the same Pawnee citizens over and over again, but that Leslie knows them by name.




"You’re a steamroller! You are a massive, enormous, runaway steamroller with no brakes, and a cement brick on the gas pedal! You made me watch all eight Harry Potter movies. I don’t even like Harry Potter!"

I'm so thrilled that Leslie and Ann had scenes together this week. I didn't want Ann to specifically tell Leslie what to do, because I think it's important that Leslie took those steps on her own, but I'm pleased they at least had a chance to talk about what's going on. I am even more pleased that their second discussion was not just about Leslie and Ben, but about their own relationship. Not only that, but their central conflict was something that's been an issue in their relationship forever (and was even the underlying issue between them in "The Fight"). It was great to see that addressed. So many shows add and drop relationship dynamics willy-nilly, but the relationships on Parks always feel organic.



Ann: Listen, I know she can be strong-willed and difficult. She once made me eat an entire cheesecake at a potluck so she didn’t look bad. But I really think she’s ready to listen.
Ben: You ate an entire cheesecake? Why didn’t you just throw it away?
Ann: Because with everything she’s done for me, I would eat ten cheesecakes for her. Also, P.S., it was delicious and amazing, like everything she does. Will you please just talk to her? For my sake? I don’t have unlimited texting, and when she can’t talk to you, she texts me.


I also love that we got a scene between Ben and Ann, especially since it was so reminiscent of their fantastic scene in "The Fight". [livejournal.com profile] rikyl brought up a good point that it's not entirely clear what Ann's motivations are in this scene. Is she trying to facilitate a reunion? Or is she just trying to smooth things over because she saw her friend was in distress (and she wants said friend to stop jamming up her phone)? I'm not quite sure. Regardless, it was a really nice moment and a great parallel to Ben trying to repair Leslie and Ann's friendship in "The Fight".

Details I Loved: Ben's face when he sees all of the text messages (though seriously Ann, you should probably get a different plan). Ann's revelation that Leslie bakes (I mean, we all know she loves sweets but I kind of assumed she was not very domestic? I like this detail!).



Leslie: There is another option. We could just say screw it, and do this thing for real.
Ben: What?
Leslie: I miss you like crazy. I think about you all the time. I want to be with you. So let’s just say screw it!
Ben: No, we would have to tell Chris—
Leslie: Yeah.
Ben: It could turn into a scandal—
Leslie: Yeah.
Ben: It could hurt your campaign—
Leslie: Yes.
Ben: I mean, how would you imagine we do this?
Leslie: I don’t know. But I… I know how I feel, and I want to be with you. But I’m done steamrolling people. This is how I feel. How do you feel?


OKAY. OKAY OKAY OKAY. Let's see if I can talk about this scene as if I were a calm, rational human being who has completely normal reactions to things. Let us take a trip to Imaginationland and pretend that's the case. I will get to the specific mechanics of this scene below (because oh my god this scene you guys), but I think I need to first deal with the fact that this is a thing. A thing that happened. That they are doing this. Of course selfishly I'm glad they're back together, but I'm also glad from a storytelling stand point. I think it's a smart move to get them back together now fairly early in the season so the angst isn't dragged out all year and they can focus on other storylines. I'm also glad that this reunion isn't perfect. The scene was perfect, but things aren't neatly wrapped up in a bow and things are going to be messy. There is still room to develop this relationship in interesting ways. There will be consequences. Oh boy, there will be consequences. I totally get why a lot of people are nervous about them getting back together in term's of Leslie's career and her campaign, but I'm feeling good about where things are headed. Mostly I just have the utmost confidence in this team of writers. They know their characters and they love their characters, and I think if any show is going to have Leslie have it all it's this one. And from a purely logistical point of view, they still have half a season left to fill with plot so I highly doubt Leslie's campaign is in any real jeopardy. If I'm wrong I will burn Utica to the ground, but I don't think I'm wrong.

Of course that assuages my fears on a meta-textual level, but there still remains the slight niggling issue of Leslie's motivations in-text. Because Leslie doesn't know she's in the very capable hands of Mike Schur and company, and she's willing to take the risk anyway. My take on it is that a lot of the language Leslie used stemmed from the impulse of the moment. Her feelings are absolutely genuine and she really is committed to this, but I don't believe for one second that she meant that she is just going to drop her career and her campaign for Ben. Leslie isn't giving up her dreams to be with Ben; I think she has just expanded what "her dreams" encompasses, and it's not demeaning or a sign of weakness to want personal happiness and her career ambitions. I'll just quote [livejournal.com profile] calikalie because I think she hit the nail on the head:

I find the idea that it’s somehow more of a fulfilling life without romantic entanglements just as insulting as the idea that life isn’t worth living without a significant other. Both are inherently problematic. Why should Leslie be looked down upon for wanting to go after what she wants? Shouldn’t this kind of agency be something we actively want in a female character? Leslie has full autonomy in her life. There’s no one pulling her strings.

She's Leslie Fucking Knope, and damnit if she wants the guy and the job and the political office and all the waffles she can eat then she is going to go for it. GET IT GIRL. And this show is just as invested in her success as we are that I think she's going to get it.

BUT BACK TO KISSY-FACES AND KEYSMASHING. I love that it was Leslie to make the move, not just because it was nice to see Leslie be open and vulnerable about her feelings, but because it really needed to be her choice. Ben has made the first move in a lot of aspects of their relationship, and there were times when it seemed he might be ahead of her in terms of the depths of his feelings (I mean I always knew she had feelings, but Leslie is so passionate about everything that sometimes it's hard to get a read on her. I think this season has been more about her coming to terms with what those feelings mean than whether or not she has them). I have absolutely no doubt now that they are on the same page and are ready to face whatever may come together. There I go getting all sappy.

Details I Loved: Haha. Haha. Hahahahahahahaha. Let's just say I'm glad they don't have play counts on my video player. Like, good lord every frame of this scene is like a symphony of A+ face parts! Anyway. Coats! The way both of them look so exhausted in the beginning. The look of terrified hope in Ben's eyes when Leslie says there is another option. The way Leslie's voice cracks. The way Ben says "what" in total disbelief (and you can even see him shaking his head while Leslie is giving her speech, see I told you I've watched this too many times). The progression from "yeah" to "yes" as a kind of stamp of confidence and finality. Leslie's scared but hopeful little smile. The way Ben makes a beeline straight for her mouth. Her quick gasp of relief as he strides (not walks, strides) towards her. MOUTHS ON MOUTHS (AND THE FANDOM REJOICED. It's awesome the way they've blocked their kisses, actually, because while they were dating ~in secret~ their faces were obscured, but now that they're going to be out in the open the shot of their kiss was more open as well). Hands in hair! Thumbs on cheekbones! Ben's little squished nose against her cheek. The lovely, almost cinematic, final wide shot of them in the tiny park. The fact that I swear to god Leslie's foot popped like in the goddamn Princess Diaries.



© [livejournal.com profile] hauntes

AND MY BODY WILL LIE IN THE CHAMBER FOREVER. COLLAPSING IN ON MYSELF LIKE A DYING STAR.
THIS IS HOW I FEEL, HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Date: 2011-11-22 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blond-bear.livejournal.com
That last Ben/Leslie scene still leaves me pretty incoherent so I'm happy that others are able to articulate my joy in a much more cohesive manner. That GIF! The stride, the nose smush...ugh. Just everything. Their face part acting was off the charts. Time to re-watch!

Date: 2011-11-22 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I totally did not re-watch that scene an obscene amount of times while writing this recap. Nope. Did not.

Date: 2011-11-22 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snoozeen.livejournal.com
This review is A++++++

kinda like their faces

Date: 2011-11-24 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thanks! Though I think their faces probably deserve an extra couple of pluses :P.

Date: 2011-11-22 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sonni89.livejournal.com
GOOD LORD YOUR 'DETAILS I LOVED' ON THE LAST SCENE FIRST MADE ME LAUGH REALLY HARD AND THEN MADE ME WEEPY. THESE TWO. HOW ARE THEY A THING THAT EXISTS???

I have absolutely nothing to add to your PERFECT recap of this episode though, I agree with everything you said.

Oh, I totally didn't notice that Jerry's ID said 'Gerry'. Or the Model UN photo on Leslie's desk. Both are PERFECT. :D

Date: 2011-11-24 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
THEY ARE A GIFT TO ME.

I think "Gerry" has shown up a couple of times before. Oh show and your attention to detail ♥.

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From: [identity profile] princess-george.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-11-26 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2011-11-23 12:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] johnmayergirl23.livejournal.com
FLAWLESS POST IS FLAWLESS

Date: 2011-11-24 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thank you m'dear!

Date: 2011-11-23 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shornt.livejournal.com
Death upon me. I've run out of ways to talk about this episode but you used a lot of good words and I support it the end by Caity

Date: 2011-11-24 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
It's been a week and I'm still not over it and I don't think I will ever be over it the end by Meg.

Date: 2011-11-23 01:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fickery.livejournal.com
I adore your picspams and reviews, and there is not a single word or sentiment I disagree with here, and this made me very happy, so thank you. :)

Date: 2011-11-24 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for reading and commenting :).

Date: 2011-11-23 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princess-george.livejournal.com
I'm thrilled to pieces that you got back into the picspam business! Hooray!

I love how you've captured all sorts of little nuances.

I'm with you, too. It's gonna get messy. Fascinating messy, but hoo boy. Great tv kind of messy.

One thing I notice when I look at picspams of that last scene is how, as you noted, they both look so tired at the beginning. Stressed and lined and just, tired. But when they're kissing, their faces look so relaxed. Lots of emotion but not angst by then. Again, great faceparts.

Date: 2011-11-24 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thank you! I don't know if I'll do one every week (it will depend on if I'm working), but I couldn't resist blabbing about this episode in a more substantial way.

I'm not even dreading the fallout next week, because I'm confident they'll do right by us and these characters.

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From: [identity profile] princess-george.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-11-26 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-11-23 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quick-ly.livejournal.com
You've already read my feelings, so you know that I agree with you on 95% of this, but can we just talk about how I love what you said about Leslie expanding her dreams to be career + Ben. Even though I'd been thinking that for a while, I hadn't really thought of it in those words (which is a great way to explain it to people who don't understand, btw), so thank you for that :)

Date: 2011-11-24 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to phrase that, because while I do get people's worries about a woman sacrificing her career for a man, I don't think that's what is happening here. I think it's Leslie trying to fit Ben into her life and being OK with the fact that it's going to mean a lot of hard work.
Edited Date: 2011-11-24 11:14 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-11-23 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spunkyar.livejournal.com
This is wonderful! I love your insight!! Also the pictures are beautiful...of course! :)

Date: 2011-11-24 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for reading and commenting :).

Date: 2011-11-23 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fromahippie.livejournal.com
Great post. This is an episode that exists and still gets me emotional just by thinking about it. SOOO i'd rather read this post to put my thoughts in order but you wrote exactly what i was thinking. (gosh how can you be so coherent in this recap. ~teach me your ways.)

Date: 2011-11-24 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thanks! My formula: spend five days thinking about the episode (including spewing a lot of feelings in Tumblr tags).

Date: 2011-11-23 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lunamystik.livejournal.com
I feel what you feel. And now excuse me while I continue to watch that GIF over and over and over...

Date: 2011-11-24 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
IT'S LIKE STARING INTO THE SUN.

Date: 2011-11-23 04:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] la-petite-singe.livejournal.com
AND MY BODY WILL LIE IN THE CHAMBER FOREVER. COLLAPSING IN ON MYSELF LIKE A DYING STAR.

*DED* I barely even know this show & I know that this post is AWESOME and adorable. ♥

Date: 2011-11-23 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Haha you don't know how much I appreciate your random cheerleading of my fangirling for this show that you don't watch (but should).

Date: 2011-11-23 04:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com
You know, in some ways Ben cutting the ribbon in that very harsh way is reminiscent of Mean Ben, and while it is harsh? It's still very in character. I've felt very confident up until this point about both their characterizations in light of the break-up, so I'm just going to hope for the best right now.

Um, I just Ann and Leslie. That is all.

Date: 2011-11-23 04:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] parks-andashley.livejournal.com
MEAN BEN! I was thinking this that ENTIRE scene!

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Date: 2011-11-23 04:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] parks-andashley.livejournal.com
Great, amazing, wonderful review.

Can I just say that we are brain twins on the kiss? I've watched it so many damn times that I've picked out every detail and why it was so epically perfect. (Ben's nose on her cheek literally made my heart burst.)

Also agreed on Andy's precious face.
"Biggest bummer of my life."
"...how to drive trucks without crashing."

All in all, this entire review was great.

Date: 2011-11-24 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! :)

I am such a physicality stan so I always like to look at how scenes are staged and such. And this show is SO good with the little details.

Date: 2011-11-23 04:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isalsayourface.livejournal.com
This is everything that I feel, but could not possibly express in words as eloquently as you. Seriously! These two...Mike Schur should just make a half-hour show of Ben and Leslie cuddling and making out with their amazing faceparts and it would be an NBC hit. (It could be like an hour of power and air after P&R, I'm just saying...people would watch this!)

PS - So glad you're picspaming again! Love it!

Date: 2011-11-24 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
... and then they should have a spin-off on HBO. For reasons.

Thanks :).

Date: 2011-11-23 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marshmallow.livejournal.com
What I like about Tom is that he does rein himself in too. He sometimes does need to get yelled at/prodded/etc., but when he pulls off these major triumphs, he's doing it himself. (Also, is it wrong that I want ALL THE RETRO PARKS AND REC MERCH NOW? WHY DOES THE NBC STORE NOT SUPPORT ME IN THESE ENDEAVORS? Ahem.)

But ugh. JERRY IS THE WORST. I always thought, poor Jerry… always getting a bum rap. But COMIC SANS?? Jerry made Comic Sans show up ALL OVER MY DASH. I will never forgive him.

And yes to Chris being the worst.. he wasn't always the worst! He's about the only character who has gotten to be more of a caricature on the whole show.. remember when he was on that date with Anne and he explained that he was so cheery all the time because he was supposed to die when he was a baby and didn't so every day after that was a gift to be enjoyed? That guy was awesome. Where did he go? And who thought this manic robot that looked like him would be an adequate substitution?

And you know what detail I love? ANNE CONTINUING TO WEAR THAT JACKET THAT I HAVE THAT SHE'S BEEN WEARING SINCE S1! *adds more hearts and stars and rainbows to the prop department*

But more importantly, YES TO ALL OF YOUR WORDS ABOUT THE TERRIBLE STUPID FACES.

Date: 2011-11-24 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Oh absolutely! Tom is very much capable of pulling off these kinds of professional achievements. He just needs to be his own Tim Gunn more often.

I've never liked Rob Lowe, but there's been a few times when they were doing good things with Chris as a character - in "Go Big and Go Home", as you mentioned, and in the season finale last year when he had another health scare. He's also had some good comedic moments (my favourite was the talking head with him holding up all of those public health signs slandering Jan Cooper). He's just becoming more and more cartoonish and unlikable though (his storyline with Jerry's daughter being the worst example). I seriously wonder what the writers are trying to achieve with his character. The hopeful part of me wants them to be preparing for his eventual exit from the show.
Edited Date: 2011-11-24 09:45 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2011-11-23 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ozmissage.livejournal.com
OMG, dude, your review made me as squeeful as the episode.

Leslie isn't giving up her dreams to be with Ben; I think she has just expanded what "her dreams" encompasses, and it's not demeaning or a sign of weakness to want personal happiness and her career ambitions.

THIS, A MILLION TIMES THIS.

Date: 2011-11-24 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
:D :D :D

I do get people being worried, because let's face it women giving up their careers for a man is a common occurrence in fiction and real life. I just feel like I have no reasons to be worried when it comes with this show and these characters. There's nothing wrong with Leslie trying to fit Ben into her life.

Date: 2011-11-23 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oltha_heri.livejournal.com
He's like those brilliant contestants on Project Runway that Tim Gunn is always encouraging to self-edit. Like, Tom needs to realize that he doesn't need the rhinetones and the ruffles and the fringe
I love these two sentences so much.

On the public forum names thing, I love so much that this is an actual universe, where everyone is just a little bit crazy.

And people thought Leslie were OOC? That is weird. I thought it was totally in character, and totally in character for the whole post break up arc. I'm also very happy they didn't drag it out for longer.

And April and Ron and Andy have some of my favorite interactions I'm so happy they had this whole perfect story line. I love Ron because he does walk that line between caraiacture and just an awesome hilarious person.

And that kiss was so perfect and THEIR FACES, THEIR FACES, THEIR FACES.

Side note, did you get e-mail? I just want to make sure because my internet connection has been spotty the past few days and I'm hoping it didn't get eaten.
Edited Date: 2011-11-23 11:01 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-11-23 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
First off, I did get your e-mail! Sorry I didn't reply to let you know. And thanks for the reminder, I will try and get on reading it ASAP.

I feel like Pawnee is a little bit like Springfield on The Simpsons, in that it has such a rich universe with tons of re-occuring characters that pop up every once in awhile to delight me. I love that they re-use the same people as the citizens of the town.

I haven't seen too much criticism of Leslie being OOC in fandom, but there have been a couple of reviews from professional bloggers that have lamented her going "nuts" over the break-up. I mean, the whole "women are irrational about men" stereotype annoys me to no end, but that's not what is happening with Leslie.

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] oltha_heri.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-11-23 11:23 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-11-24 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joirerson.livejournal.com
*squees madly at the last gif*

Yes. To everything you just said. Yes. I just love this show and its writing and its characters SO MUCH.

Date: 2011-11-24 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
IT'S LIKE STARING INTO THE SUN.

Thank you for reading and commenting :).

Date: 2011-11-26 02:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princess-george.livejournal.com
I am watching Jerry's Painting and I feel the need to share with you that the tie that Ben's wearing in the scene with Ann and the kiss scene is the same tie he was wearing when Leslie made him bump his head on the filing cabinet at the beginning of this episode. Can someone please analyze the significance of that? Thanks very much.

Date: 2011-11-29 01:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
There really needs to be an essay on Ben's wardrobe choices in relation to his relationship with Leslie (like, I've definitely noticed the Boom, Sadness hair and the lack of obnoxious plaid since the breakup).

Date: 2011-11-26 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calikalie.livejournal.com
I cannot believe that I missed this post the first time it came around, but oh man. I am drowning in your amazingly accurate words. You're making me glad that I never got around to doing a comprehensive picspam/write-up of this episode myself, because anything I churned out would have paled in comparison to this post, to be honest. It's been over a week and I've still got hearts in my eyes. I'm really looking forward to seeing what else the writing has in store, because I think it could lead to a lot of interesting developments. I love that this show isn't afraid to take risks and keep things moving for progress.

Date: 2011-11-29 01:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! But seriously, your Leslie Knope post on your blog was a thing of beauty and it really inspired me when writing this post. I am absolutely thrilled with how this arc is progressing, and I am so interested to see where it's going to go because I think the Parks writers are so good at exploring things in an atypical and satisfactory fashion.

Date: 2011-11-28 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] americnxidiot.livejournal.com
Way late, but oh my god, this review/picspam. I want to build a tiny park with it and then make out with it in said tiny park. I will never get over how amazing that last scene is.
Edited Date: 2011-11-28 12:07 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-11-29 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
This post accepts your feelings! Or something. I need the next episode in my eyeballs like yesterday.

Date: 2011-11-29 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] craponaspatula.livejournal.com
This post is helping a lot with my episode withdrawl symptoms.

Date: 2011-11-29 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I personally am coping by watching the promo fifty million times. Approximately.
Edited Date: 2011-11-29 01:26 am (UTC)

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