Sunday, February 22, 2015

What I’m Watching: Parks and Recreation (Penultimate Episodes)

Parks and Recreation: Season 7, Episodes 10 and 11 “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show” and “Two Funerals” (B-/A-)

There’s a certain appeal to doing an episode of a show in a special format, but it also means losing that episode almost entirely in terms of plot development and real character interaction. A half-hour tribute episode for Johnny Karate probably wasn’t necessary, and though it did contain some laughs, it was a bit too childish to feel truly relevant this close to the end of the show. Not having Tom appear given how close he and Andy are was also strange, and that wasn’t explained at all other than an apparent trip to New York that he returned from in the following episode. Leslie hosting felt a whole lot like SNL without the truly funny parts, but at least it’s endearing to see most of the cast taking on their usual roles in an exaggerated way. The second episode was considerably more satisfying, creatively featuring a handful of cameos so that we can see all of our favorite characters again. Having Bill Murray’s mayor die was a perfect impetus for interviewing new mayoral candidates, and I love that the Douche was pretty much the strongest applicant (seeing Bobby Newport again was a treat too). Dr. Saperstein being considered was fantastic because it meant we got to see Mona-Lisa again, and then Jean-Ralphio appeared to help Tom with his proposal. Appointing Gerry (never sure how we should really spell his name) to be the mayor was a fitting thing, and having him sail off in a balloon before being able to give his speech still permitted him some royal treatment. Tom’s simple proposal for Lucy was impossibly sweet, and hopefully that means we’ll get a wedding in the hourlong series finale. My favorite cameo came from Sam Elliott, currently starring in “Justified,” who appeared as Eagleton Ron at just the right moment when Ron was in the middle of a crisis, which was solved by a hilarious and unexpected matchmaking on Donna’s part. It’s so sad that we’re already at the end, and I’m sure I’ll go back to watch episodes of this show countless times after it has come to a close.

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