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‘Parks and Recreation’ Review: “New Slogan”

Parks and Recreation "New Slogan"
NBC

The concert for Pawnee/Eagleton unity continues to build steam as Leslie tries to find a new slogan for Pawnee while Tom looks for a place to open his restaurant in tonight’s episode of ‘Parks and Recreation.’ Read on for all you need to know about tonight’s episode of ‘Parks and Rec,’ “New Slogan!”

Tom is on the hunt to build his restaurant, and gets Donna and April to help. In lieu of pay, he gives them gifts (which includes a Larry voodoo doll for April). It turns out that April doesn’t want Tom to leave so she sabotages a little, but then when your options are failed restaurants like “Jurassic Fork” (and its sister restaurant “Schindler’s Lunch”), it’s hard to pick one. It turns out that both Donna and April were working against Tom, so they eventually lead him to the right place.

Leslie gets obsessed with getting a new slogan for the town (mostly to avoid thinking about the possible new job), and to publicize the slogan, Leslie gets on television with Perd Hapley (always great for a couple lines), Joan Callamezzo and Crazy Ira and the Douche. Unfortunately the Douche had their listeners write in the slogan “Welcome To Douche Nation,” which leads to Leslie confronting him on his radio show, and then goes after the people who voted for bad slogans, both of which (predictably) backfire. She eventually learns that she needs to delegate power, and puts Larry in charge of getting the new slogan, which — surprise, surprise — works out well.

Andy is looking for acts for the big show when he sees Ron Swanson’s alter-ego Duke Silver playing a gig. Andy thinks he’s “saxaphone-player-for-the-California-Raisins good,” so he books Duke, which leads Ron to throw away his secret life. Andy feels bad, and gets Ron back to playing, though not at the big show. Yeah, that plot line is as thin as it reads.

Tonight’s ‘Park’ broke easily into its A, B and C stories, with Leslie getting the most attention and Ron/Andy almost an afterthought. That’s unfortunate as it’s always fun to see Duke Silver — a joke from the first season that’s turned into a great running gag. Nick Offerman and Chris Pratt made the most of those moments, just as Amy Poehler and Adam Scott got the best mileage out of their weird sexual fantasies. From cameraman to dictator in this episode, the show has suggested that these two role play a lot, but it’s always pretty funny and just a touch sexy. Television and movies often treat married couples like children do in that they don’t really want know about their sex lives, so it’s fun to see them keeping it frisky.

That said, as Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe have left the show, we’re seeing (much as we have with ‘Community‘) the show pivoting for the future in response to that dramatic change. A future that may have Leslie and Ben in another town, and Tommy with his own business to tend to. Shows and seasons often hit a reset button that brings ensembles back together in a slightly different but similar way, but here there is an inevitable sense that Leslie’s time in the Pawnee Parks department has to come to an end for the good of her sanity. That change is coming. This episode laid the groundwork for that, which means it was more of a salad than desert. Still, we can’t wait to see what happens with the gang, and how they change when they can’t maintain status quo.

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