Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Parks and Recreation” recap (4.14) — Galentine’s Day

Rashida Jones was a good get for Parks and Recreation. As Karen Filippelli on The Office, she managed to be a foil for the will they/won’t they couple of the day — Pam and Jim, obviously — without being a bad guy. In fact, if PB&J hadn’t been the soul-iest soul mates to ever have souls, it would have been hard not to root for Karen. You can’t teach that kind of on-screen likability, and so when Greg Daniels decided to create an Office spin-off that wasn’t really a spin-off, he was smart to snag Rashida Jones as Amy Poehler‘s BFF. Unfortunately, Ann has gotten lost in the shuffle over the past season and a half. It’s not Jones’ fault. For one thing, until the very end of season three, there just wasn’t an organic reason for her to be hanging around City Hall all the time. And for another thing, no one could have guessed how the other supporting cast members were going to inhabit these characters. Everyone else is so quirked out they make lovely Ann Perkins seem sort of vanilla.

Ann’s saving grace has been Leslie’s love for her, a running joke that has brought her back into the fold and provided lots of awwws for folks like you and me. “Operation Ann” is the first Perkins-centric episode I can think of since season one, and it was a good one.

AFTERELLEN BAIT

I have never understood the way people bitch and moan about Valentine’s Day. At best, you get to have dinner with someone you like and order from a special Valentine’s Day menu that, more often than not, includes things wrapped in bacon. At worst, every kind of chocolate imaginable is 60 percent off on February 15th. What’s not to love? So if Ann had been sad-sacking it around Pawnee crying into her soup about Single Awareness Day or whatever bitter thing, I would have been perfectly annoyed. But the way she really was happy for her friends in love, but couldn’t say it without sounding ironic or sarcastic? Amazing. Equally amazing? Galentines Day, an all-girls love fest at which Ann sat at Leslie’s right hand.

FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS

For all my Valentine’s Day pragmatism, I really do love love. So I swooned watching Ben and Leslie celebrate their first V-Day together at L’il Sebatian’s memorial (which, by the way, was jam-packed with mourners/admirers). And my heart did a little thump-thump for the Tom-and-Ann-on-a-date reveal too. (I can totally see it!) And, of course, my heart swelled like the Grinch’s when April meddled in Ann’s business to hook her up with the one guy who made her smile all night. But nothing — NOTHING — made me happier than Ron Swanson confessing his love for riddles. The way he clasped his little hands in front of him and grinned? Riddle Ron Swanson may be the new Drunk Ron Swanson. Either way, someone give Nick Offerman a damn Emmy.

LUDGATE-ISMS

Two weeks in a row April has had her own story, giving Aubrey Plaza a chance to shine from every angle. I love seeing April’s softer side, even though she doesn’t like Valentine’s Day, or brunch, or outside, or smilingg. 

POEHLER PUPPET PALS 

Continuing along the “Ann, you beautiful tropical fish” line of compliments, this week Leslie gave us: “Ann, you beautiful spinster!” and “Ann, you tricky bastard!” I wish I had a Leslie Knope action figure that came up with new “Ann, you …” phrases every single day.

What did you think of “Operation Ann”?

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