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I thought “New Slogan” was a definite improvement over its preceding episode. Some of the funniest jokes still came from smaller moments, and the overall story lines had their issues, which isn’t ideal. But this is a sitcom, not a gritty political drama, so I’m not going to get bogged down with nit-picking here. This is a fun show, so let’s jump right in! First and foremost: DUKE SILVER WAS BACK. If you’re not a fan of Duke Silver, you might not have cared about this story line all that much, but I love him. Andy is scouting bands for the Unity Concert and finds himself at a club full of middle aged women waiting to see a guy they describe as “sex on a stick.” And who should come out but this handsome devil?!
I love the way Duke Silver starts his sets, and this week’s intro was epic:
A smooth and silky evening to you all. On nights like this, when the cold winds blow and the air is awash in the swirling eddies of our dreams… come with me and find safe haven in a warm bathtub full of my jazz.
Even fine-but-simple Andy knows that something is up, and although his first guess is that Ron has a twin brother, when Ron confesses that he has a secret music career, Andy is insistent that he plays the Unity Concert. Ron values his privacy so much that he would rather give up music forever than have everyone know that he’s Duke Silver, so he throws his saxophone and fedora in the dumpster.
But Andy loves music so much that he can’t let someone so talented give up, so digs Ron’s saxophone out of the dumpster and tells Ron that he must continue. In order to make them even in terms of secrets, Andy decides that it’s only fair that Ron know all of Andy’s secrets, and they’re as amazing as we would expect:
Andy Dwyer, ladies and gentleman.
I was a bit confused by Tom’s story line with Donna and April. Donna has a side business as a realtor, so she was helping Tom look for locations for his new restaurant, “Tom’s Bistro.” When April realizes that if this business takes off, Tom will be around the Parks department much less, she finds negative things to say about each location. It turns out that Donna was going to miss him too, so she was showing him bad locations on purpose. When they see how dejected Tom is, they admit that it was a crappy thing to do, and finally show him a decent place for his business.
Intentionally showing Tom bad locations and trying to persuade him that there are no good options for him seems like a bit of an overreaction, no? I get that April and Donna are going to miss him, but sabotaging his new business is going too far. Then again, I’m not all that interested in “Tom’s Bistro” either. I’ve never cared about any of his businesses all that much, but this is the third time that this character has been down this road and I’m just not into it anymore.
I was glad to see that Leslie is actively considering that National Parks job, but when she finds out that it will be less hands on and more thinking about the big picture and delegating, she pulls a Leslie and flips out in a completely inappropriate way. This time, when Ben tells Leslie that the new City of Pawnee website (complete with Peebo the Panda!) will allow people to vote for the new town slogan, Leslie freaks out that the website is going to do all the work so she decides to have a press junket so she can be in on the process.
One of the interviews she has is with the local radio show “Crazy Ira and the Douche” and they soon take over the vote by having their listeners write in “Welcome to Douche Nation.” So Leslie goes on their show and tries to bro it up with them in order to get the slogan thing back on track, but of course that backfires and the new popular slogan becomes “Home of the Stick Up Leslie Knope’s Butt.” Ben suggests that a good way for Leslie to test how good she’ll be at delegating and giving up control for her potential new job (and I’m so happy that Leslie is finally talking these big life decision things over with her husband instead of Ron all the time) will be to let Larry lead the Town Hall meeting about the slogan. And Leslie actually does pretty well, despite almost being derailed by some horrifying grammatical mistakes.
I’m with her here, because I hate when people confuse “your” and “you’re” and “then” and “than.” HATE IT. Ben points out that since Leslie was able to show restraint here, her fears of not being good at this National Parks job are crazy, because she’s Leslie Knope so of course she’s going to be amazing. So we’ll see where this thing goes for the rest of the season.
“Galentine’s Day” on the other hand, I thought was great. Leslie is trying to plan out the topics for her next phone conversation with Ann (and I’m so glad that they’re still talking about Ann even though she’s not on the show anymore) and the topics of conversation are amazing, including “Snuggie Debacle,” Abs or Core,” “Weird New Smell,” “Cat Shoes,” “Olympics Withdrawal,” “Ben’s Goatee Dream,” and “Possible Suitors for Katie Holmes.” (It looks like for that last topic Leslie pinned up pictures of Chris Pine and Chris Evans.) Ben tells Leslie that she can talk to him about some of this stuff too.
She’s completely right. Please Ben, who are you kidding?
Unfortunately Ann leaves Leslie a voice mail saying that something came up and they’ll have to talk later, so Leslie turns to Donna and April. Who needs work when there’s fun girlfriend conversations to be had?!
Leslie decides to throw together an impromptu Galentine’s Day in order to find a new best friend who still lives in Pawnee. Her choices consist of April and Donna, Ethel Beavers (crotchety but probably wise), Shauna Malwae-Tweep (who makes terrible life decisions) and Evelyn (Fake Ann). When everyone finds out that Leslie has been ranking them for the entire Galentine’s Day brunch, everyone except Shauna gets mad and leaves. It’s clear that Shauna and Leslie have nothing in common, so it’s not going all that well, but then Leslie gets the news that Ann’s had her baby boy! So of course she rushes off to see her, and we’re treated to a surprise Rashida Jones appearance. And we’re introduced to little Oliver Perkins-Traeger.
Aww, I miss Leslie and Ann. I was glad that Ann told Leslie that ranking people as possible friends was a terrible move, and that Leslie apologized to April and Donna for it. They forgive her of course, and I hope they have some good friendship stuff in the future, because I love all of them together.
Ben and Tom have a meeting with a very important tent guy to firm up the details on renting all the tents for the Unity Concert. Ben asks Larry to come, since he’s been doing all the paperwork. This tent guy is serious about tents; he’s even rented four to Rene Russo! (Any shout out to Thor and Loki’s mama is a win in my book.)
But the contracts have a ton of ridiculous stipulations so Ben and Tom vow to go elsewhere, only to find out that Mr. Tent Guy has a monopoly on all of the tent rental places in the area. There’s a moment when Ben thinks he’s found a place that might be good. But…
Oh, Ben. But then Larry finds out that their tenting nemesis has committed all kids of violations (Larry saves the day!), so Ben and Tom go to him and essentially blackmail him into giving them a good price on the tents. Did anyone else find it weird that Ben, the new City Manager, was taking part in blackmail? Isn’t that illegal? It seems a little shady to me. But my favorite part of this story was at the end, when Ben stood up in front of everyone and said that he liked Larry a lot and considered him a good friend. It’s always bothered me on the show how much they bully him. It goes past some teasing, they’re actively and overly mean to him a lot, and I’ve always felt bad about it. So good for you Ben, standing up for what’s right.
Ron and Andy’s story in this episode was adorable. Let’s take their gif-tastic journey together. Ron wants to go do some park surveying on his own to get some peace and quiet. Although he loves being a father, it’s getting to him a little bit.
But Andy tags along, and it becomes clear that Ron isn’t going to be able to take a break from being a father figure, even for a day.
Andy falls off the monkey bars and breaks his tooth, so Ron has to take him to the dentist. Andy has a great time with the puzzles in the magazines in the waiting room.
But Andy gets bored and wants to leave the dentist before he’s even been seen.
So they leave, but Ron insists that they go back when it’s clear that Andy is in pain. Andy agrees, but he wants to eat a ton of peanut brittle first.
I usually get tired of the “this character is really dumb” schtick in TV shows, but Andy’s stupidity is so good natured and innocent that I still think it’s hilarious. It becomes clear to Ron that being a father is a 24/7 job, and as tiring as it may be, it’s his life now. All in all, it was sweetness galore in this episode.
How do you think this season is progressing? There have been a few off episodes, but I still love it. And good news, even though it was semi-announced a while ago, a few days ago it became official: “Parks and Rec” has been renewed for a 7th season!