Monday, March 5, 2012

What I’m Watching: Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation: Season 4, Episode 17 “Campaign Shake-Up” (B+)

It’s always good for both Ben and Leslie to have a nemesis, mainly to see how they stand up against them. Any chance to be on television with Perd Hapley is an automatic recipe for disaster, and this was certainly the case here. I was delighted to see Kathryn Hahn, recently seen on the impressively short-lived and terrible “Free Agents,” return to NBC for this fun role, outright telling Ben and Leslie that she’s just doing this for the money and to win, even though she really likes Leslie. I like how this show keeps it in the extended family, casting Hahn, who starred as Paul Rudd’s ex-girlfriend in last year’s summer comedy “Our Idiot Brother.” Bobby Newport being out of the country romancing random women is a scandal fit for Pawnee, which has enough of a history with questionably moral politicians thanks to Councilman Dexhart alone. The ramp vs. lift debate was hilarious, and I enjoyed seeing Carl Reiner as the president of Pawnee’s elderly population. Replacing Leslie was something that was bound to happen eventually, and I like how Ann seemed the obvious choice to rally the troops but it ended up being April who was right for the job. Only in a town like Pawnee would the entire populace put their entire mouths over water fountain spouts, and Andy was just the Pawneean to display this tendency. The water balloon fight, properly identified by Chris, was among the episode’s more entertaining sequences, particularly due to Tom’s reaction to the whole thing.

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