May. 16th, 2011 04:40 pm
zombie_boogie: (TV » Parks & Rec » Smooch)
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  • I'm not sure I even know how to coherently talk about these episodes without turning into a pile of goo, but I shall soldier on! This is why there are pretty pictures because I fail at words (or at least, my words feel inadequate in the face of the mess of face-clawing feelings I become when I think about this show and these episodes). SHOW, IF I LOVED YOU LESS I COULD TALK ABOUT YOU MORE (I'm still going to talk about you a lot). Warning: I say love too much.

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

    To start off, how adorable was this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Favourite quote of the entire night, hands down:


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

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

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

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

  • OK then this happened:

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