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Parks and Recreation - Episode 3.01 - Go Big or Go Home - Review

The nightmare is over SpoilerTV, Parks and Recreation is finally back on the air. After being sidelined for Outsourced, our favorite government employees from Pawnee Indiana have made a triumphant return to both TV and their jobs, as we find out in the premiere episode “Go Big or Go Home”. My name is Karina, and I plan on reviewing the third season of Parks and Rec for you here on SpoilerTV. Note that I said ‘review’ and not ‘recap’. I’m not a big fan of recaps, and this show isn’t especially long at a 22min. runtime, and is also readily available online to view. Also I apologize that I’m currently a few episodes behind, I hope to be caught up before the next episode airs on Thursday!

So what was everyone up to during the Pawnee Government shut down hiatus? Ron Fucking Swanson was doing what all manly men do, chop wood. It looks like Tom’s friend and the most amazing bit character ever Jean-Ralphio helped him get a job at Lady Footlocker, where he does nothing but hit on the ladies all day, oh and buy ladies shoes for himself with his discount. Donna is telemarketing bulk orders of rubber nipples. No joke there, that’s funny enough as it is. And our lovable loser Jerry is living in a nightmarish hellscape of outdoor landscape oil painting.

After everyone is gathered back in City Hall we set up the conflict; despite the return of the employees there is still not enough money in the budget to do anything but maintenance and basketball. We later learn that there is some money available, but that Ben thinks giving it to the Parks department would be a waste. In comes Leslie with a plan to have Ann seduce Chris Traeger, played amazingly by Rob Lowe.

As much as I loved the performance of Rob Lowe last season, and the character in general, I was very worried about where they were going to take the character of Chris this season. Because was that, just a character. Like Superman on cocaine. Mixed with an unending supply of positivity and happiness. Hilarious, yes, but not very three-dimensional or believable for that matter. Well this episode was a game changer for Chris Treager, elevating him to not only an appealing character but an almost believable one. When Ann asked him why he is so positive all the time, he explains that he was born with a blood disorder and had three weeks to live, yet he’s still here and enjoying every week that he gets. I swear I teared up when I heard that, and for me at least it explains so much of the zany exuberance of the character. The likeability factory kept on rising when he is hit on at The Bulge, gently turns the man down, and then buys the men a round of drinks. And then the sadness when he finds out the date was a setup by Leslie. I’m completely sold at this point, and I hope Rob Lowe decides to stick around as long as he can, and the writers can make room for him.

Ben Wyatt on the other hand has yet to win me over. As the straight man opposite to Leslie, Adam Scott is given a more limited role than the other cast members, and the character has a backstory that’s been talked about but not much else. I’m hoping he’ll be more developed later in the season, as it’s clear they are trying to set him up as a love interest for Leslie.

The B-Story in this episode involves the growing conflict between Tom and Ron, thanks to the fact that Ron is now dating Wendy. Centering on the coaching of the youth basketball league, this sub plot isn’t as strong as the main plot but still delivers some of the funniest moments in the episode. I give to you the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. The amazing awesomeness that is this chart cannot be contained. I sent it to all my friends, printed it out and put it on my wall at work, and made it my Facebook profile picture. I suggest you do the same. My favorite is “Crying: Acceptable only at funerals and the Grand Canyon”. Post your favorite in the comments below!

Back to the game. Ron Fucking Swanson is coaching his kids to be mini-effing-Swansons, while our lovable puppy Andy is just playing around and having fun with the kids. And of course Tom is the Ref because he has his uniform from Lady Foot Locker. Tom sees Wendy with Ron and uses his position to foul Ron’s team in punishment, causing Ron and his team to storm off. The whole time I was feeling bad for Lucy, just sitting there, watching her boyfriend freak out over his ex-wife. I guess she’s used to putting up with a lot from Tom in general, what a trooper. Not sure how much longer the Wendi debacle will last, and we know that Megan Mullally will be back as Tammy II later in the season.

Our favorite sardonic assistant April returns from vacation in Venezuela, bringing with her a new boyfriend and a semi-upbeat attitude. And no it’s not Jhonny the intern, but a new man named Eduardo. He has clearly made an impact on her, as April was smiling several times throughout the episode! Not enthusiastically of course, but take what you can get. Andy is crushed, and Leslie tells him to “Go big or go home” in his quest to pursue April. And of course a distraught Leslie then takes her own advice, which leads us to…

The Harvest Festival! I am very excited about this; it seems like a great plot device to bring the gang together and to hopefully save the Parks department. Other more well-known reviewers have watched advanced screener copies, and have said that the planning for the Festival ends up being a great way to see other departments and businesses around Pawnee. I can’t wait to see more of the sewage department, and to find out how they end up with all the interns that look like hookers. And hopefully we’ll get to see more of those bastards at the Library.

This episode was a great start to the season, and promises much more fun and laughter ahead. The second season of Parks and Recreation was brilliant, and it looks like the third is going to be even better. I don’t think I’m overstating at all when I say that it is the funniest show on TV right now, so enjoy! I’ll see you again in couple of days for my review of the second episode, please let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions or ideas. Any constructive criticism is appreciated, really!

Bonus Super Fun Link: Parks and Recreation Intro – Jabba the Hut

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