Friday, May 20, 2011

Season Finale: Parks and Recreation-"The Bubble" and "Lil'Sebastian"

Ron Swanson lights an eternal torch on "Parks and Rec"
Credit: NBC

My thoughts on last night's of Parks and Rec finale are after the jump.

That was a brilliant end to a brilliant season. Even though the first half of the finale wasn't the strongest episode the show has ever done, the second half was more then enough to make up for it. "The Bubble" had some very fun moments, but was not as strong as some past episodes because of the fourth floor plotline. "Lil'Sebastian" has a very strong chance of making my top ten episode list at the end of the year. It was a brilliant episode that brought the entire town together in a hysterical way. These were two episodes that complimented each other well, but did very different things well.

If there was one plotline that was at the center of the two episodes, it's Leslie and Ben. These two have become the show's new power couple, and that has led to some very funny moments. "The Bubble" was a good feature for them with the couple trying to stay a complete secret and enjoying the quiet phase. I knew it wouldn't last and they couldn't have come up with a better way to bring the relationship out of the Bubble, with Marlene Knope. The interactions between Leslie, Ben, and Marlene were my favorite aspects of the episode. It was a lot of fun seeing Leslie react to her mother's reaction towards Ben. It was also a big step for their relationship, with them acting (to a point) like a real couple. I found this to be a big step for the show to take because it proved that the couple could work long term.

If "The Bubble" proved that the couple could work long term and still be funny, "Lil'Sebastian" set up a very good short term arc for the couple. They've been keeping themselves secret, but slowly people are starting to find out about them being a couple. This led to some very funny moments in the episode, like Ron and the janitor finding out. Those scenes were perfect because of the individual reactions. Ron's reaction of a need to protect them was something that I wouldn't have expected from him, yet it was fitting. Ron would want to protect Leslie from losing her job. In addition, the scenes involving the janitor were fun to watch. Also, I'm really surprised that they chose to keep the relationship a secret through the end of the finale. What I hope is that this blows up in a very explosive way, with both Chris and the politicians finding out in the beginning of season four. There's a lot of potential for this plotline in the fourth season, even without the basic chemistry between Amy Poehler and Adam Scott being factored into the conversation.

This episode was a mixed bag for Tom in terms of plotlines, but not in terms of character material. This job has never quite been a perfect fit for him because of his entrepreneurial spirit, the writers were bound to take the character beyond the bounds of the Pawnee parks department. After "The Bubble" where Tom is shuffled to the fourth floor, (*) it was natural that he would want to move on to other work. And everyone around him realizes this as well, especially Ron. He respects Tom, as shown by the moment at the end of "Lil'Sebastian" where Ron respectfully lets Tom go and create his dream. Now, that's a dream that will fail at some point. The tag clearly setup that Tom and Jean-Ralphio don't know what they're doing, but the downfall should be fantastic.

(*) This was the only plotline in both episodes that didn't quite work for me. There was something about the humor that was too uncomfortable to be funny.

Another thing that "Lil'Sebastian" did really well is that it brought this entire crazy town with every plotline together into one brilliant scene with the funeral. In that scene, we had Andy singing a song and the crowd immediately pulling candles out. Of course Andy would take the idea of making a song 5000 times better then Candle in the Wind literally. And it's actually not a terrible song either. It worked in the moment. We also had Tom and Jean-Ralphio bringing in their video company and the Leslie and Ben plotline causing problems. It was a great way to help bring the episode, and the season to a head.

Some other thoughts:

  • I loved the Chris material in the episodes. It was literally hysterical. (See what I did there?) Him trying to change the office and him "dying" were very funny. Rob Lowe is fantastic as this character
  • Speaking of office changes, Ron Swanson+Swivel Chair=Comic Gold
  • Tammy II is scared shitless of Tammy I, I wonder what type of character Tammy I is. 
  • Leslie Knope's run for mayor should make an awesome overall arc for next season. 
  • Ron's reaction to Lil'Sebastian's death is one of the funniest things Nick Offerman has ever done on the show, hands down.
That one hour finale was a great way to end this show's creatively triumphant second season. I hope it can keep this up next year (although, by the setup they did in this episode, it certainly looks possible). 

What did everyone else think?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Some ground rules for you to follow when commenting here:
1. This is probably the most important rule: be nice. I will not tolerate any rudeness towards other commenters or myself.
2. Be relevant, comments will be deleted if they are not relevant to the discussion.
3. No spoilers, I and many other people don't want to know what your mother's, sister's, best friend's, brother said about what's going to happen on Chuck. There are many places for discussing what's going to happen on the show in the future, this isn't one of them.
4. Please hit preview to preview your comment before pressing post comment to be sure that it will be logged.

Thank you, keep reading, and enjoy the conversation!