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‘Parks and Recreation’ Review: “Sex Education”

NBC

Pawnee gets sexy this week on ‘Parks and Recreation‘ when Leslie and co. try to teach the community’s elderly about safe sex practices — that is, until uber-conservative Marsha Langman throws a wrench in Leslie’s efforts.

There isn’t a single plotline on this week’s episode that isn’t gold, starting with Leslie’s attempts to educate the city’s seniors on safe sex practices. It seems there’s a Chlamydia outbreak (which brings a whole new meaning to old people and the clapper, for real), and Leslie and her team set out to illustrate condom usage and answer sex questions from old people. Donna is about to demonstrate the trick to getting a condom on a pineapple when she’s cut short by Marcia Langman, appearing with her husband, Marshall Langman, an obviously flamboyant gay man pretending to be straight and using Marcia as his beard. Honestly, I just want to see how the hell Donna was going to get a condom on that pineapple.

Leslie goes on a crusade to overturn the law, which says that Pawnee educators and employees are only allowed to teach abstinence-only methods. This season we’ve seen Leslie as a city council member and how she has to conform to a stronger form of government. As Parks manager, Leslie was able to maneuver her way around just about anything, and while putting her in the position of council member seemed like it could be problematic, it’s given Leslie a whole new set of obstacles that are providing both comedy and character progression. This is Leslie in her element — fighting for what’s best for the people and the town she loves. But really, who isn’t totally into this Marshall Langman guy and his nerdy anti-sex keyboard raps? This plot also gives Perd Hapley a chance to spring his latest catchphrase on us, calling his fans “Perd-verts.”

Over in D.C., Ben and April are putting up with an Ohio congressman who turns on the charm when he’s interacting with the media, but in person he acts like a robot, staring serenely at his computer screen and not even blinking. Their arc is a bit thin this week, but it gives them a chance to continue their ‘Odd Couple’ bonding. I love seeing April and Ben hanging together as co-workers and friends, and without Leslie around, it’s April that’s getting Ben to loosen up and have some fun. Thankfully, the writers see no need to take the generic path and have these two hook-up for added, unnecessary drama. Ben and April have such a cute friendship, and it’s refreshing to see a show embrace that men and women can be friends without the need for complication, a la Tom and Ann’s redundant on again/off again of last season.

Speaking of Tom, he gets into a car accident this week thanks to using Twitter while driving, allowing for some hilarious Twitter-centric jokes, hashtags and all. A little bit of Aziz Anzari’s real-life persona bleeds over into Tom’s life this week — Anzari is a noted social media aficionado, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote a lot of his own lines for this week’s episode. When the local judge bans Tom from using anything with a digital screen, Ron stages an intervention and takes Tom to his remote cabin to detox him from social media, leading Tom to hilarious list off all the websites he uses and how he uses them every day. There’s also some great gags involving Tom’s makeshift technology — a Pinterest board made out of a bulletin board and pictures and an iPhone drawn on paper. But it’s not all shallow for Tom this week, as he admits to Ron that he’s been so glued to the internet because things in his personal life aren’t going very well, lest we forget the implosion of Entertainment 720 and his lack of a love life recently. Maybe we can expect a drop-in from Jean-Ralphio soon?

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