zombie_boogie: (parks | leslie + ben → on the record)
[personal profile] zombie_boogie

RON: So it learns information about me? Seems like an invasion of privacy
APRIL: Dude, if you think that's bad go to Google Earth and type in your address.


Do I really need to explain why this cold open was great? I did not think so. The Ron/April relationship continues to be magical. I particularly love April's face in the top right cap and Ron's when April was trying to explain cookies (he probably had a small aneurysm over the idea that they would attach the name of a delicious baked good to something so vile). Also Ron thought the best solution was to throw his computer in the garbage.

Sometimes I think about this ship's narrative progression and I want to openly weep. Look how far we've come, kids! TWO BIRDS HOLDING HANDS. SO MUCH BETTER THAN ONE. I love the contrast between Leslie barely condescending to touch Ben in "The Master Plan" to the two of them holding onto each other because they're taking a leap together. MY ENTIRE HEART.

"Well look, I'll be outside all day right on the other side of that wall, so if you miss me you just look... at this wrinkled, hideous monster and you'll know I'm sitting there rooting for you."

I know there are a lot of people who find established couples boring, but ugh they are my favourite. These two are so cute it's stupid. I just love their easy chemistry in this scene (and in the deleted scene in Leslie's office before they see Chris). I mean, build-up and angst are all fine and good, but I just cherish these sort of comfortable and natural interactions. I think it's going to take me awhile to absorb the fact that they are a thing that is happening, and I'm not at all worried that they'll get stale. They're both great comedic characters and still have a lot of potential in terms of character arcs so there's plenty of juice left. AND HE HAD A TOY MADE FOR HER AT THE TOY STORE. Even though he doesn't get it. Just because he knows she loves it. Good lord. I also love the way he smiles when she says getting a slap on the wrist is like getting a kick to the groin; instead of rolling his eyes at her hyperbolic statement he smiles because he knows that for her it's true.

Re-watching the episode, I think it's also pretty obvious that Ben knows he's going to lose his job. I think he wanted to let Leslie's trial play out on the chance that she wouldn't be strongly reprimanded, but from the beginning he probably knew that as the supervisor in the situation it was very likely that he would have to resign. And even though he knows this, he's still focused on supporting her. And when Leslie wins the election and becomes queen of city council she'll be able to look at that ugly painting and know Ben is rooting for her.

"In 1849, Sarah Nelson Quindal exposed her elbow outdoors, which was a Class A felony. Although she felt the law unjust, she acknowledged that she had broken it and she nobly accepted her punishment: to be set adrift on Lake Michigan like a human popsicle. Look how calm she looks. That's how I feel. Totally zen."

Things I will never tire of: the offensive murals in City Hall. This one is a beauty. I can see why they put it in that chamber. It's simply majestic. Just look at the broad, sweeping brushstrokes on the waves.

"I broke one rule and I will accept a slap on the wrist, but when you sit back and let your reputation be destroyed you go down in history as a frozen whore. I'm fighting!"

At some point when I was sorting screencaps for this recap I decided to do less recapping and more picspamming and random flailing about Leslie Knope and her face, because words cannot express how much I love this woman. Words. Cannot. Express. Sometimes I have a hard time dealing with the fact that Leslie Knope exists. Also I'd like to know what's in her power jam playlist. Pop divas? Inspirational speeches from notable political figures? A MASH-UP OF BOTH?

"In world on the brink of financial meltdown. In a town unlike any other. An adorable man with a cute face and the future president of the United States (what?) Went from being friends to being so much more. Ann! Ben and I hooked up last night! Ahhh! Ann I used how to use iMovie! Call me later bye."

Where do I even start with how amazing this was? The fact that she lovingly cut out every little poufy hair on Ben's head and then clearly got impatient when she got to her own picture? The hearts! THE EXPLOSION. The fact that she took the time to make this thing in the first place. I have so many questions. Where did she get Ben's NBC promo picture? Did April teach her how to Photoshop and use iMovie? Did Leslie create this while Ben was sleeping? I DON'T KNOW I JUST LOVE THIS SO MUCH IT'S GROSS. THEY'RE GROSS.

This also sheds some light on the timing of Leslie's feelings. It's interesting how in season three the timing of Ben's feelings were a touch more obvious than Leslie's (I remember there being a lot of speculation over the summer about the progression of Leslie's feelings for Ben). I kind of like how this season there have been several scenes that shed new light on the progression of Leslie's feelings throughout their relationship, whether it's firmly confirming that yeah, Leslie's been missing and thinking about Ben during their break up, or yeah, Leslie's feelings for Ben were as strong as his feelings for her right before "Road Trip".

"And by the way, we got the gramps. Grants. God, ugh that was going to be such an awesome moment."

You thought I was kidding about randomly picspamming her awesome face. I WAS NOT. I just love her so much you guys.

There were a lot of awesome parks department moments I could have picspammed. Andy bringing Leslie three large cups of whipped cream. Ann texting her every 30 seconds. April and Andy as character witnesses (BEAVERS DID IT!). Tom liking Leslie more because she had a sex scandal and Andy always liking her. Ron being willing to quite possibly murder someone for her. But really, all I need to do is post this screencap. This fucking shot, you guys. This fucking shot. It's making me emotional. Because these people love Leslie and this show loves Leslie and everyone wants her to succeed and I caaaaaaan't. It's just a really beautiful image seeing Leslie being cared for and literally sheltered by her friends. I cannot contain these feels.

LESLIE: This mural is called Bad Pawnee/Good Pawnee. All the terrible things that have happened in this town's history are on one side. And on the other side are all the good things that have happened. I'm on the bad side.
RON: No you're not.
LESLIE: Yes I am Ron. I'm guilty I did something bad. I'm a bad person.
RON: It's not that simple. You know what makes a good person good? When a good person does something bad they own up to it. They try to learn something from it and they move on.

This conversation with Ron illustrates two sides to Leslie that I've been noticing a lot. She may be a steamroller and often oblivious, but when she realizes she's done something wrong or hurt someone she doesn't try to deflect. She owns her behaviour. She also seems to own it to an extreme; I find it almost sad how quickly Leslie is willing to take the blame for things and assume the worst about herself (see also "The Fight" and "Smallest Park"). I respect that about her, but I also wish she wouldn't burden herself like that because sad Leslie makes me sad. Anyway, I'm glad she always has Yoda Ron to offer his sage advice. And the mural in this scene is so great. I love that it incorporates elements from other murals that we've seen before (my favourite is still Reverend Bradley punching Anna Beth Stevenson in the gut).

"Cause your actions wounded me to my core. Which is not easy, because the bulk of my workouts are focused on core strengthening."

I never thought I'd produce a picspam with this much Chris, and I probably never will again. But I wanted to talk about Chris in this episode, because I'm having a tricky time wrapping my head around his behaviour. I wish I could just ignore Chris and not think about this fucking dude, but if he's going to insist on taking up so much narrative space I'm going to insist on attempting to sort him out. I don't dislike Chris because he was a giant cockblocking robot built in a secret fucking government lab. I don't like Chris because I don't understand Chris, and he just doesn't seem to fit. Now admittedly sometimes I don't think Chris fits because Rob Lowe doesn't fit the cast - he doesn't do press for the show, he doesn't show up at events with his co-stars, etc. But Chris also doesn't fit on a show built on earnestness. This show is about a group of characters who can't help but let their true selves shine through regardless of how tough their outer walls are, but I've never felt like the show has truly peeled back the veneer on Chris. He seems more interested in keeping up appearances than actually taking a stand (the best example of this for me is in "The Bubble", when he has to keep up the perception that he hasn't given up on his stupid office re-tooling while compromising with Ron. And of course all the good cop/bad cop stuff he pulled back when he first arrived with Ben). Now, the fact that Chris is about flash rather than substance, in complete opposition to almost everyone else in the cast, helps make him a good foil and even antagonist. But I don't think the show really wants him to be a complete villain. So they introduce some sympathetic moments, which end up making Chris a mess of contradictions. He's shown being perceptive (like with April in "Indianapolis" and Leslie in "Born and Raised"), and also completely oblivious (everything to do with Jerry's daughter and his relationship with Ann). He portrays himself as a people person who loves telling everyone that he loves them, but then he does things like completely ignore the obvious pain of his friends upon the collapse of their close working partnership. What I'm left with is a character who seems entirely insincere, and I'm not sure that was the writers' intent. It doesn't help that Chris has been more cartoonish than human this season, and that Rob Lowe always comes across as a smug tool.

Then we have this episode, in which a lot of people seemed to find Chris more likable. One thing people seemed to take issue with how hard he went after Leslie. I think his zeal during the trial had a lot to do with Chris feeling personally betrayed. If you look at him throughout the proceedings he's going off the rails (the amount of crap on his table seems to grow exponetially). Again, here's a guy who thinks of himself as perceptive and a people person, who cherishes the appearance of order, and two of his his most respected colleagues went behind his back and broke a very important rule. It's kind of shitty that he channeled some of his personal hurt into his behaviour during the trial, but it's at least consistent with what we've seen of him before. It's also important to note that Chris wasn't wrong during the trial. He was just doing his job, and I think he had that maintenance guy lined up as a witness from the beginning, which would account for his frustration at Leslie's insistence she and Ben didn't do anything wrong. What I actually take issue with is Chris at the end of the episode, which is the more "likable" Chris. I really want to believe that he cares about Ben and Leslie (especially Ben, because god do I want to know more about those twelve years on the road together). But. I have trouble buying Chris as genuine. I want this to be the real Chris. I want the real Chris to be the guy with the blood disorder as a baby who fears his own mortality. The guy who really does care. But that guy only deigns to show up some of the time.

I also hated his worthy line. It's gross, and not the cute gross like Ben and Leslie's faces smushed together. I just don't like relationships framed in terms of worthiness or one partner "deserving" the other.

"Because I love Leslie. I want to be with her and I don't want to hide the way about I feel about her anymore. So yeah it was worth it because I'm in love with Leslie Knope."

So I'm going to go against the grain and say that I didn't think Ben's resignation was a grand romantic gesture. It was refreshing to see a man sacrifice his career for the sake of a relationship, because let's be real statistics are statistics, but this narrative choice worked more because it suited the characters than because of progressive gender politics or romantic ideals. Leslie made her big move last week by being willing to put everything on the line, which is what allowed Ben to make his big move this week. He knows how much Leslie's career means to her, and it certainly means more to her than Ben's does to him (more on that in a bit). Together "Smallest Park" and "The Trial of Leslie Knope" demonstrated that these are two people who aren't just in love, they're committed. It also just makes more sense for Ben to resign because of his position as supervisor.

I'm very interested to see where Ben's career goes from here. I'm spoiled for the next couple of episodes, so I do know what he ends up doing in the immediate future, but I think there is a lot of untapped potential for future career-oriented storylines. I never saw Ben as someone who was in love with his job as assistant city mananger. I think what he loved was the stability and the sense of home it provided, and the opportunity to work on things that mattered. His job at City Hall gave him a sense of being grounded and making a difference, which were things he probably hadn't felt since his teen mayor days. But that job was just a job, which I think made it easier for him to resign since he wouldn't be giving up the things he truly cared about. Ben's narrative arc has been so wonderfully constructed so far, and I'm excited to see where it goes next.

BUT ANYWAY FACE PARTS. SO MANY BEAUTIFUL FACE PARTS. What always gets me about this show is that this a comedy, and yet these two have phenomenal dramatic chops. HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE ALL OF THE AWARDS?

"Let the record state that I, Leslie Knope, love Ben Wyatt. I love him with all of my heart."

Let the record show that I loved the way the writers decided to execute the "I love yous". Having their declarations be read via transcript was perfectly nerdy, and also undercut some of the sweetness that is inherent in first "I love yous" on television shows. I also love that they included "all of my heart" in Leslie's statement. That's a big deal coming from someone who's heart is so full, and it really speaks to the depth of her feelings. And then there is their terrible faces. You didn't even need to hear them say the words. They are literally just standing there staring at each other silently for a couple of minutes and yet those looks are so full of feeling. I have never seen two people so mutually smitten. I don't know if it's just me being a loon, but the staging of the scene - with two people staring at each other lovingly while someone else reads out loud - reminded me of... something. Something matrimonial. Shipper goggles. Shut up. And to top it all off her hat is adorable and it looks like they are standing in a snow globe. BEST. The last two episodes have really been a gift in terms of the staging for these ~romantic moments~.

[livejournal.com profile] hauntes)

And oh god the tag. THE TAG! Remember last week when Jerry's I.D. badge said his name was Garry? REMEMBER THAT. Combined with the appearances of Ethel and the maintenance guy this episode certainly had impressive continuity.

Date: 2011-12-06 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cityhallcupcake.livejournal.com
I also love that they included "all of my heart" in Leslie's statement. That's a big deal coming from someone who's heart is so full, and it really speaks to the depth of her feelings.

I can't cope! This is too much!

Date: 2011-12-06 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Who gave this sitcom permission to weasel its way into my heart and give me all of these feelings?

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From: [identity profile] cityhallcupcake.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-06 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-12-06 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] americnxidiot.livejournal.com
"Pop divas? Inspirational speeches from notable political figures? A MASH-UP OF BOTH?"

lolol yes. Oh god, now I'm imagining Leslie going for a run and listening to Reagan's Berlin Wall speech over Boom Boom Pow. Also I love seeing how much other people loved Leslie this episode, because oh my god, I loved her so much. Like, even more than I usually love Leslie. She was so wonderful.

Date: 2011-12-06 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
It's still fairly early in the season, but I could see this episode being Amy's Emmy submission. She was equally hilarious and dramatically strong.

Date: 2011-12-06 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drphungus.livejournal.com
OMG, snowglobe. Leslie once recommended that Ben should go see Pawnee's snowglobe museum. I love this show so hard.

GREAAAT recap, btw, just loved reading through your thoughts and looking at the pretty pictures!

Date: 2011-12-06 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! Ha, I didn't even think of the snow globe thing. I think we need a scene of them visiting the museum and getting kicked out.

Date: 2011-12-06 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sullen-aquarian.livejournal.com
I want Ann's boots in the scene with the entire department. I hadn't noticed how awesome they are before.

Love this writeup. I think my favorite cap is when Leslie breaks away from Ben to thank Ethel. There's something very sweet about it.

Date: 2011-12-06 10:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I really love Ann's wardrobe now that she's working at city hall! Maybe it's because the whole skirts-tights-sweaters combo is totally my go-to fall/winter outfit, heh.

Thank you! God, there was just too many caps to choose from.

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From: [identity profile] princess-george.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-07 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-12-06 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quick-ly.livejournal.com
ALL YOUR FEELINGS ARE MY FEELINGS! This episode kind of killed me, to be honest. I really like what you said about Chris (I plan to elaborate on him a bit in my review), since it really bugs me that everyone suddenly likes him.

Date: 2011-12-06 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
When viewed out of context I think Chris was actually really well-written in this episode and made sense as a character. If this was the first time I ever saw him I would totally believe that he really cared about Ben and Leslie at the end there. It's just that when you look at his appearances as a whole it's hard for me to take his actions this episode at face value, because he's never really been shown to be a sincere person. I wish the writers were more consistent in terms of writing him as a character with actual feelings, because those moments seem to come and go.

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From: [identity profile] sullen-aquarian.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-06 11:01 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2011-12-06 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jncar.livejournal.com
Wonderful picspam/recap. All the wonderful faces and feelings!

I really appreciated what you said about Chris. I also find him to be a perplexing and frustrating character. I love what you said: I don't like Chris because I don't understand Chris, and he just doesn't seem to fit. Because I feel the same way.

I'm trying to write some Chris POV fic, so I've been thinking about him a lot lately, and this episode really helped crystallize a few things for me. I really think that Chris exhibits a lot of traits of Codependency. I even looked up This (http://www.coda.org/tools4recovery/patterns-new.htm) codependency checklist from Codependents Anonymous, and Chris fits a large number of them, especially from the "Denial Patterns," "Low Self-Esteem Patterns," and "Control Patterns" sections of the list. And I think his various romantic relationships, first with Ann and now with Millicent show a great deal of codependency, too.

But I think that Ben has been at the center of Chris's codependency for a long time. I think that Chris perceives himself to be Ben's caretaker, and thinks of himself as responsible for Ben's well-being, when in reality Chris has always needed Ben way more than Ben needs Chris. And this has never come through more clearly than in that shot of Chris weeping in Ben's arms while Ben just looks uncomfortable and a little bewildered.

I think that's part of why he was hard on Leslie--because he was protecting Ben, and deeply feared losing Ben as his emotional crutch.

I really hope that Chris struggles in his job and personal life now that he doesn't have Ben as a crutch anymore. That could make for a legitimately interesting character arc for Chris.

Anyway, enough Chris ramblings. Love the picspam! Thanks!
Edited Date: 2011-12-06 09:45 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-06 10:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Yes, yes, yes. I find Ben and Chris' relationship really fascinating, and I'd like it if the show would explore that dynamic more (I thought I read some interview with either Adam or Lowe about this season looking into their weird "almost marriage" dynamic more. Make it happen!). To be honest I'm more interested in their relationship because of how it relates to Ben's character, but it is interesting to think about how needy Chris seems to be. I really want there to be a scene in an upcoming episode where Chris turns to look for Ben to say no to something, but he isn't there.

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From: [identity profile] jncar.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-06 10:34 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-06 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-12-06 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snoozeen.livejournal.com
Excellent recap/spam!

Date: 2011-12-06 10:02 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-06 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rikyl.livejournal.com
I'm sitting here smiling like an idiot--your reviews are like experiencing the Parks magic all over again.

That was the appropriate amount of flailing about the iMovie. Oh man. I can't get over how much I loved that little movie. Also completely with you on Ben showing up to support her, how great that scene was. It spoke such volumes about who he is and what their relationship is like. And all day long with her looking at that painting, it was so obvious what he meant to her and how much she wanted to have him with her, I could really feel how much she loved him. I assumed she did, but it's so palpable now. Love them together. At this point I cannot imagine growing tired of seeing them as a couple.

I agree with all of what you said about Chris (don't think I wrote about him at all--just didn't feel like thinking about him). I could understand where he was coming from, but it didn't exactly redeem him as a character in my mind.

You're right, there was something weirdly matrimonial about that last scene, between the commitment they've shown to each other and having someone else read something about their love while they gaze into each others' eyes. Seriously, how long until the proposal?

Date: 2011-12-06 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I just love the fact that Leslie took the time to make that video! It's such a great snapshot of her character - her unbridled enthusiasm in particular. And yes, what I loved about the romantic gestures in this episode wasn't that they were generically romantic, but that they were so them. The writers have put so many thoughtful details into this relationship from the beginning. At this point I cannot imagine growing tired of seeing them as a couple. I'm already dreading the "they're so boring now that they're together" comments. Blerg. I don't have those kind of worries, because like I said I think there is still a lot of narrative space left to explore together and separately (by contrast, I still find Jim and Pam really adorable - well I would if I still watched the show - but the issue with them is that they stopped giving either character any forward progress).

I don't know where that massive paragraph about Chris came from. I guess I've just been building up resentment towards him for a very long time lol. CHRIS IF YOU INSIST ON BEING HERE I WANT TO KNOW YOU. At least in relation to Ben, because seriously twelve years. Otherwise you can feel free to leave.

Seriously, how long until the proposal?

Leslie gives him a Knope-Wyatt 2012 button in the finale! C'mon, get Jossed! Though seriously, when a proposal comes down the pipe I'm so excited to see how the writers tackle it because so far they've exceeded my expectations in terms of major romantic milestones. They always manage to do something that fits the characters so perfectly and is so narratively satisfying.

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From: [identity profile] princess-george.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-07 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] annakovsky.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-08 01:21 am (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2011-12-06 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] littlehutt.livejournal.com
Meg, I love your recaps; they're so pretty to look at AND insightful. The way you talk about Chris is very interesting, I think you've pinpointed what feels off with his character. I want to like him, I find his hyper side funny (but I totally get how it can quickly become tiresome for some viewers), but his contradictions are killing his characterization. The writers just don't know what to do with him, or at least they can't seem to make up their minds between "manic cartoon" and antagonist. It's all so... ambivalent. Like, the quote you're using for the title of your entry may have been the one that made me laugh the most in that episode, and when we see Chris crying on Ben's lap I went "awwww", but I also thought "if only it could be a genuine gesture..." I just don't buy the friendship between Chris and Ben (or at least the fact that Chris is so attached to Ben) this scene hinted at. I'd love to, but with everything we saw since they first appeared on the show, it's just not possible.

I want to print and hang this shot you picked of everyone helping Leslie. She gives so much to others, it's so heartwarming to see her getting some love back as well :)
Edited Date: 2011-12-06 10:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-06 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I just don't buy the friendship between Chris and Ben (or at least the fact that Chris is so attached to Ben) this scene hinted at.

Another user pointed out that Chris' attachment to Ben makes sense if you think of him as being co-dependent. That would make sense considering how he seems to need Ben to play the "bad guy" when they are delivering news together. It will be interesting to see how he copes without Ben there to say "no" for him.

it's so heartwarming to see her getting some love back as well

One of the reasons I ship these people so hard is because I love them so much individually that I want them both to be happy.
Edited Date: 2011-12-06 11:02 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-06 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sonni89.livejournal.com
I also love that they included "all of my heart" in Leslie's statement. That's a big deal coming from someone who's heart is so full, and it really speaks to the depth of her feelings.
OH GODDDD MEG!!!! I LOVED YOUR ENTIRE RECAP BUT THIS KILLED MEEEE. So beautifully put- I didn't think of it that way but you're completely right and now I can't think of anything else and oh my god they are the greatest!!!

I really like what you said about Chris. I've been wondering if my intense dislike of Chris stems from my intense dislike of Rob Lowe, but you just listed a bunch of reasons that I nodded at because that's exactly what's been bugging me about him, but I've never been able to put it into words.

Date: 2011-12-07 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I just keeping thinking about how enthusiastic Leslie is about everything, and how she loves everyone so much, that it was sometimes hard to tell the depth of her feelings for Ben. So hearing her say that meant a lot. Eeeeee.

Haha, well some of my intense dislike for Chris does stem from my dislike of Rob Lowe, not gonna lie. I might be able to ignore the inconsistent characterization if he was played by a different actor.

Date: 2011-12-06 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hauntes.livejournal.com
The continuity and the the whole "world" they've created for the show is amazing. I mean, The Pawnee Book and the fact that there are clear references between the two. Leslie's desk is another perfect example because it's full of call backs to previous episodes. Amazing show is amazing!

Date: 2011-12-07 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I want to kiss the entire P&R team on the mouth. And it will be excellent. There is such care put into every aspect of the writing and the production design.

Date: 2011-12-07 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fatefuls.livejournal.com
Established couples are my FAVORITE. When so many romantic storylines wallow in the will-they-won't-they pit, couples who actually have a chance to navigate a committed relationship onscreen get all my interest. Those storyline's have mileage, yo.

I really cannot look at their faces in that last scene. AND THE MATRIMONY COMPARISON ugggg. Stupid beautiful people and their stupid beautiful faces.

Date: 2011-12-07 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
My only issue with established couples is when the characters cease to have forward momentum. Like, I still find Jim and Pam cute (and I loved them in season four after they got together more than I loved them previously during the angst phase), but the characters have stopped progressing story-wise so they don't interest me. I don't have that fear with Leslie and Ben, since they both have stuff going on individually and they are quirky enough as a pair to still be fun. I just love adorable happy couples.

Date: 2011-12-07 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] softly-me.livejournal.com
I have nothing of substance to add, but I wanted you to know that I REALLY REALLY LOVE THESE RECAPS YOU DO. They make me flail all over again.

Date: 2011-12-07 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
YAY I'M GLAD. Thank you :D.

Date: 2011-12-07 05:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jehnt.livejournal.com
"I have so many questions. Where did she get Ben's NBC promo picture?"


Okay also is it just me or does Amy Poehler just get prettier and prettier as time goes on?

Date: 2011-12-07 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I think the most egregious example of the promo photo phenomenon was that episode of Doctor Who where Eleven sees flashes of all his previous companions and they used the BBC promo photos of Rose, Martha, Donna, and Amy. LULZ.

I thought Amy was particularly beautiful in this episode. ESPECIALLY HER HAIR.

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From: [identity profile] pretentiouskyle.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-12 03:42 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-12-07 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princess-george.livejournal.com
I just love this whole post, thanks for putting it up there. The Chris analysis, the Ben's career expectations (which I fully share), the Leslie love, the specificity of the romantic moments, all that stuff.

Date: 2011-12-07 07:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-07 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fairandbright.livejournal.com
When that scene with Leslie and Ben happened at the end, my mom immediately goes, "So they can get married now, right?" UM, YES. I want to see an adorable wedding because you know it'd be amazing if it involves Leslie Knope.

Date: 2011-12-08 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] annakovsky.livejournal.com
I really like your comments on Chris -- I think you articulated a lot of what I really dislike about him. Ugh. Haha, though his behavior in this episode was crazed enough to make me think that he and Ben have totally banged in the past, because, um, CHRIS. GOOD LORD.

Date: 2011-12-08 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I like that basically every Chris/Ben prompt I've ever seen involves Chris being infatuated with Ben and jealous of his relationship with Leslie.

Date: 2011-12-08 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blueeyelinerx.livejournal.com
YESSSS I am so glad these are back :) Wonderful job as always!!

Date: 2011-12-08 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Yay, I'm glad you're enjoying them. Thanks :).

Date: 2011-12-08 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eratko.livejournal.com
perfect post is perfect! Amazing edits <3

Date: 2011-12-08 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thanks so much :).

Date: 2011-12-08 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krisnreine.livejournal.com
In a lot of ways I think Ben has always been Chris' human credential. If Ben can like him and make it work, maybe he's not so bad after all. Because Ben, for all his hard-ass, bad cop roles in their relationship, is still more honest. Ben is the one who explains Chris, or tempers him. He's ballast to keep Chris from flying off into orbit. However since he started seeing Leslie, there's been a rift there. We no longer see Chris and Ben as the Dynamic Duo - Leslie took that spot. And with it, she took our ability to see Chris through Ben. On his own, without Ben to be his sword and shield, he's kind of a dick.

I don't think he means to be a dick. I don't even think he wants to be. But there's no Ben there to say "this is why..." in a logical way that makes Chris make sense. He's lost his buffer.

I wondered in this episode why Ben's trial would have been first. I would have thought the initial damage-control of the city would have been to avoid sexual harrassment claims and that Ben used HIS influence over Leslie to get her to do what he wanted to advance her career. Instead, they chose to target Leslie first, as the possible seductress and mastermind of the whole affair, using BEN to further her career. Interesting choice, and one that I wonder Chris had a part in. Because Chris understand Ben, or thinks he does. But he cannot and does not understand Leslie. She's like this big ball of energy and enthusiasm (like him) but unafraid to fail and be foolish. She bends rules and steps over them and she is exactly what Chris THINKS he is. In touch with people, honest, righteous.

And if you don't understand it, you often fear it. And fear how it's not right, or doesn't belong. I also wonder if Chris wasn't trying, in his own way, to protect Ben. Knowing that it's Ben's job that is much more on the line than Leslie's. Knowing that the supervisor falls on the sword. Knowing that he's going to lose that credential if he loses Ben, so sacrifice Leslie.

And you know, he hasn't really had to bee too much of the bad guy until Leslie and Ben hooked up. He always disappeared to make Ben give the bad news. Maybe that's why they paired them up. We thought it was because Ben could be the hard-ass. What if it's because Ben was actually the nicer, less harsh of the two? Hmmmm.

I don't know. Too many thoughts. Too many feelings.


Date: 2011-12-13 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
I totally agree! When they are first introduced they set it up so that Chris is supposed to be the positive one who makes Ben more palatable, but ultimately Ben is really the nicer, more genuine person who keeps Chris grounded.

Interesting observation that Leslie is who Chris thinks he is, which probably also factored in to his feelings of betrayal. As for the ordering of the trials, I think it was just because the writers needed to show Leslie's trial first, but if it were a real-world scenario I could see a bit of sexism coming into play in terms of blaming the woman.

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From: [identity profile] esotaria.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-13 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-13 04:41 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [identity profile] esotaria.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-12-13 01:56 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2011-12-11 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/brokenrecord__/
This picspam is so lovely! I of course agree with everything you said, and I especially like what you said about Ben's narrative arc. I'm not spoiled for where it's going, but it has been so perfectly constructed so far, and I'm definitely excited to see where it goes next!

But Chris also doesn't fit on a show built on earnestness. This show is about a group of characters who can't help but let their true selves shine through regardless of how tough their outer walls are, but I've never felt like the show has truly peeled back the veneer on Chris.

That is not something I had ever really thought of before, but you are SO RIGHT. I couldn't really put my finger on why he didn't fit (other than, of course, feeling like Rob Lowe doesn't fit), but I 100% agree with that. And I definitely did have difficulty liking Chris in this ep, and I do think that's largely due to what you said about not buying him as genuine. (And, plus, the worthy line was gross.)

Date: 2011-12-13 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
Thank you bb!

I'd really like to believe Chris is genuine. Hopefully now that he isn't an obstacle to Ben/Leslie anymore he'll be more tolerable (but if they keep up the stuff with Millicent I'll have to gag).

Date: 2011-12-12 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pretentiouskyle.livejournal.com
I dislike Chris but I don't get the Rob Lowe hate. Is it the Emmy nominations thing? Or his weird fake tan? Honestly I didn't know that much about him before.

Date: 2011-12-13 02:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombie_boogie.livejournal.com
It's really a culmination of things I've seen with him in interviews and appearances. His comments on the Emmy nominations, his comments during this comedy round table last year, the fact that he never shows up to do any promotional events for the show or in support of his colleagues, the fact that he has left every ensemble show he's ever been in (The West Wing, Brothers and Sisters), because he needs to be the star. He always comes across as smug and self-involved.


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