I’ve watched the “Get On Your Feet” ice skating rink montage about six thousand times in the last week, and I’ll admit to being a little worried that Parks and Recreation wouldn’t know how to follow it up. Silly me! “Campaign Ad” features the best of Leslie Knope trying to cope with the harsh reality of the world. This week, realness takes the form of Paul Rudd as Bobby Newport, Leslie’s City Council opponent and heir to the Sweetums fortune. He’s loaded, he’s affable, and he is an idiot. Ben wants to highlight his entitled stupidity shtick in an attack ad, but Leslie has been planning this campaign since childhood and she envisioned running on the issues. Leslie, Ann, and Tom make a positive commercial. Ben, Jerry, and Tom make a negative commercial. (Tom bets on all the horses.) But in the end, they create an ad that features a ten-year-old Leslie pretending to campaign for City Council juxtaposed with footage of Newport’s moronic “grown-up” campaign commercial. (Rudd was perfectly cast as Leslie’s nemesis.)
The B-story this week saw Andy and April realizing they had a magic medical card, also known as insurance. So they made appointments with dozens of doctors to have their feet microwaved and and their brain helmets scrutinized and their blood taken away for science. And the C-story featured Chris trying to “hang on with” Ron in an attempt to size him up for the position of City Manager. At one point, the always non-social Ron even wonders if Chris roofied him to get him to go to lunch.
I love the idea that while most little girls were dreaming of Prince Charming and making home videos of their weddings, Leslie Knope was playing imaginary election. She studied the issues, she developed a campaign strategy, and then she borrowed the video camera to record her own campaign commercial. She’s a hero every girl can believe in!
FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS
Last week I compared Leslie to Michael Scott, which I always think is an apt thing to do on account of how The Office and Parks are built on the same concept and conceived by the same folks. This week I want to talk it again a little bit. See, because the thing about Michael Scott is that the audience always felt either super annoyed or super sorry for him because he was so out of touch with reality. Leslie is kind of out of touch with reality too. Not in an “Oh, honey” kind of way, but in the way where she’s so good inside that she projects that goodness onto the whole world and expects everything to be reasonable and fair. What Parks has done beautifully is surround her with friends and co-workers and a boyfriend who nurture that optimism, but also force her to look at the cold truths in the world. Ben is such a great counterpoint for her optimism. They might be the most perfectly matched TV couple ever.
I missed Champion this week, but watching April boss Andy around at the hospital was a good times. From “Hey, Ann, are you still a nurse, or did you get fired because you slept with all the doctors?” To “Are you the kind of doctor who gets hooked on his own drugs? I bet you are.” To the part where she told Andy she’d divorce him if he got glasses. I love Andy and April together — Pratt and Plaza are hilarious together — but I’m also jonesing for April to get her own storyline. I know that’s a lot to ask with such a talented ensemble cast, but where’s Janet Snakehole, you know?
POEHLER PUPPET PALS
TV.com has compiled a list of all of Leslie’s “pro” stances from her first attempt at an adul campaign commercial. My favorites are: “One police officer for every 5 citizens”; “One park ranger for every 10,000 raccoons.”; and “Free cake when it’s your birthday.”
What did you think of “Campaign Ad”?