‘Parks and Recreation’ Review: “One in 8,000″
With the revelation that Leslie Knope is pregnant, tonight's 'Parks and Recreation' is still building to the big concert, but is also beginning to build toward its seventh and likely final season.
Tonight's episode felt a little thin. Maybe because next week's one hour finale is going to resolve so much of what's going on this season, it felt like there wasn't all that much going on, but the show found ways of matching different people up, which tonight meant Donna and Ron having some time together. The biggest shocker was the total absence of Tom Haveford, whose name was never mentioned. Perhaps Aziz Ansari was shooting a movie.
The big reveal is that Leslie and Ben are not just having a baby, but that they're going to have triplets, which creates a great deal of stress in Ben (which Dr. Sapperstein tells them to avoid) as the two hold an auction to help pay for the concert. Leslie reveals that she's not worried at all because she loves Ben and she thinks it will all work out. Going by the end of the episode, it seems like it will. This was a sweet storyline, but ultimately it felt slight, which may be why the episode felt so lesser. Calm Leslie is less fun, and if that's the main storyline, it's going to weigh down the whole.
More fun are Donna and Ron, who were paired together to work on costumes for Ron's daughter's pageant, and at the school Donna is afraid of Keegan-Michael Key's Joe because, as she says, he's her Tammy. But Joe is actually a nice guy and Ron likes him, so he ends up patching up their relationship. If the episode has a saving grace it's that it leans on both Nick Offerman and Chris Pratt to deliver some great comedic moments, and though it's easy to abuse Offerman's deadpan turning into emotion, the smile he gets after bonding with Joe is perfect. Ron is becoming a parent and he's starting to wear it well, though we've seen this throughout the season. This episode underlined that.
The final storyline of the night revolves around Andy, who's trying desperately to keep the secret about Leslie's pregnancy, and when April finds out about that he's keeping a secret, she can't help but pry. The two (and Larry) end up going to bunch of Johnny Karate shows, and Andy lies to April for as long as he can, first sending her off the trail by suggesting that Larry is dying. Pratt gets to go big here, and his run about what the secret might be is excellent. This is resolved in a sweet way, and April is given understandable reasons for wanting to know, so the bow put on top of it (she's happy he didn't tell her) is a little egregious.
With a possible move for Leslie and Ben out of Pawnee (and with Chris Pratt on the verge of huge movie stardom), 'Parks' is likely to be heading into its final year, and tonight's episode sets the stage for some big changes ahead (at least for Ben and Leslie). It also proves that show is pleasant even when nothing much happens, though it's hard to work up much enthusiasm about this episode. This felt like the autopilot version of the show.