Friday, March 18, 2011

Parks and Recreation-"Harvest Festival"

Leslie and Ben watch Li'l Sebastian on "Parks and Recreation"
Credit: NBC

My review of last night's awesome sauce episode of Parks and Recreation is after the jump.

Last night's episode was a very important episode for the show. Not only was it a culmination of everything in the first six episodes, it was the first episode filmed as season 3. When Amy Poehler became pregnant, the show stayed in production and made six episodes to have the show ready for fall (during which the show did not air) on the coattails of season 2. With those six having aired, this is the first one that was produced as a part of the third season of the show. The show had to prove that the beginning of this season wasn't riding on the coattails of the previous season, it had to prove that the first six episodes weren't a fluke and it proved that very well.

The episode was a culmination of everything involving the Harvest Festival and they could not have done a better job with the craziness of it. The episode was hysterical because it took found the comedy in the craziness of it. It used the festival to showcase the town and people of Pawnee. A part of the Harvest Festival was placed on an old battleground. (*) Apparently the festival was cursed by the ancestors of the tribe that lost the battle, as Ken Hotate said. This lead to some very funny stuff with that character. The ceremonies with him saying random things (with the subtitles) were very funny. That was a hysterical use of subtitle as comedy.

(*) The atrocity map gag was very, very funny. Parks and Rec likes to mention Pawnee's history with the Indians often, to usually funny results.

The news of the curse getting spilled led to a hysterical use of the media of Pawnee. Their overreaction to the curse was very, very funny. We got a badly animated sequence with Perd that showed the curse being put on Leslie was very funny and was a good gag. The media really did get out of control. It's not the first time a show did a plot like this, but it still worked. They used the media to show the absurdity of Pawnee and it showed that very well. The news conference scene was great because it verged on absurdity at times.

The episode also featured Joan Callermezzo prominently. The scene with her looking for the scandal at the beginning was very funny. She really did try everything didn't she, until she jumped on the idea of a curse. Mo Collins is very funny in the role and she nailed everything she was given. Also, she had one of the best uses of the bleep in awhile, with her reaction to Li'l Sebastian and she nailed the grudgingly impressed reaction to them getting Tilda Bird.

The Li'l Sebastian plotline was very, very funny. Seeing everyone's childish glee at him being brought into the office was absolutely hysterical. Ron's reaction of a girlish squee was probably the best of them all. Apparently you can add a minihorse to the things that Ron will become a fangirl about. Sebastian getting lot was also a funny plotpoint for Tom and Jerry. (**) Even though I feel bad for Jerry with everyone bashing him, I still enjoyed Tom trying to set the blame on Jerry. At the same time, I enjoyed Jerry standing up for himself for the first time. It also set up one of the best sequences the show has done, the scene on the ferris wheel. (***) I also loved everything Adam Scott did with the horse. Ben just didn't get it, and it made for a very funny plotpoint and a very funny tag.

(**) I (along with Alan Sepinwall) just realized that just as I wrote that. Nice hidden reference, even if it wasn't intended.

(***) This was another scene where Ron Swanson kicked ass, solving everyone's problems (just like his job required) and being very funny. Him threatening to turn the ferris wheel around was great.

The Andy and April subplot was a very well done version of a stitcomy plotline. The "I love you" plotline is very cliche but when it's done right it works, and it worked in this episode. Andy would say "that's awesome sauce" instead of I love you, that's just how his mind works. Their part of the ferris wheel was great. Having Ron resolve the convict ended up being a very funny idea.

The show started what (Spoiler) is going to be a new arc for Ann (End Spoiler). It gave Rashida Jones a chance to do something different and it gave her a chance to be very funny, even if she is sleeping with Pawnee's version of the situation. I also liked how Donna fit into the plotline, with probably her best plotpoint of the season. Having her not care about what Ann's thinking about and having her tell Ann to use the guy was a very good and a very funny use of her character.

Some other thoughts:

  • A lot of people have said that Pawnee is the live action version of Springfield, and I'm inclined to agree with them. That's a good comparison.
  • Can't Leslie and Ben just get together already? They work really well together and they are thisclose. The little congratulatory handshakes are great.
  • Hehe, Jerry is still stuck in the maze.
  • "There are two things I know about white people: they love Matchbox-20 and they are terrified of curses" (The extended version used Rachel Ray, I believe).
The Harvest Festival was awesome sauce for Leslie, the Parks Department, and the show. This was a very funny and a fantastic episode.

What did everyone else think?

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