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Parks and Recreation - Episode 4.11 - The Comeback Kid - Review

After a short break for the holidays Parks and Recreation has returned to grace us with its hilarious presence in NBCs Thursday night lineup, and thank Zorp! In ‘The Comeback Kid’ we pick up right where we left off as Leslie tries to reinvigorate her campaign with a new crew, who is really the old crew, and Ben continues down the season-long road to PatheticVille, population 1. I’ll return to the story in a minute, but before we get into the episode I want to remark on the timeliness of this seasons over-arching storyline, which amazingly is not about Ben’s crumbling descent into Claymation Hell.

Now that we are officially in 2012 we are in the full brunt of election season, with primaries the last few weeks, political ads blasting the airwaves, and every news anchor on cable TV seems to be unable to talk about anything else. And while I am sick of hearing of the latest exploits from the GOP field, I am absolutely thrilled to follow Leslie’s campaign. There is so much room for satire in this storyline, and even though you, like me, might be sick of hearing about politics, most people will never be sick of jokes about politics. And while The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are funny, they are making fun of our actual political climate which can in turn be depressing. This is not the case with Pawnee, which as much as I would like to believe is a real town, it is not real. And while the political and campaign jokes would be funny anytime of the year, the fact that they coincide with an actual and important political election add an extra dimension to the jokes, and for me at least makes them twice as hilarious. Even though we only have a half a season left, it looks like Knope 2012 is gearing up along with the real-life presidential elections, which makes me think that this is going to be the best season or Parks yet.

Running a campaign isn’t easy which is why there’s a special class of people called campaign managers, and they are aggressive, knowledgeable, manipulative evil geniuses. Ann is not one of them. Despite this Leslie chooses Ann to run her campaign, and naturally the first event crashes and burns in a disaster that puts the Hindenburg to shame. As they shuffled out on to the ice I felt so bad that I couldn’t even laugh. As the gang tried to shove Leslie up on to the ‘stage’ I had to cover my face in shared shame. And to make matters worse Leslie’s old campaign advisors just had to sit in the audience to watch the disaster unfold. But like the trooper that she is Leslie Knope fought on, and it looked like she might have actually pulled it off thanks to Pistol Pete, that is until he slipped and fell while trying to dunk. But looking at the big picture this giant disaster was really just a plot device to give Ben a new purpose in his life.

Poor Ben has had a tough season. In the beginning he was depressed because he had lost Leslie, but was still forced to work with her and see her every day. Now he’s depressed because he resigned in disgrace after publicly getting back together with Leslie. But don’t worry, Chris Traeger to the rescue! Despite the vitamins and herb shakes, really the only thing that Ben needs is a new purpose in life, and hopefully one that intersects with Leslie and the gang. This reason arises with Leslie’s need for a competent campaign manager. Despite the fact that Ben’s relationship with Leslie makes the appointment a little sketchy he agrees anyway. Now let’s keep in mind that the last time Ben ran a campaign was when he was eighteen years old, and well I’m going to guess that things have changed a little. I have no doubts that he will be more successful than Ann, but let’s not forget the curse that he brought to the Harvest Festival last year. All in all this was another amazing episode, a good set-up for the rest of the season, and a great start for the year.

I do these reviews because Parks and Recreation is hands down my favorite comedy show of all time, and because I genuinely love writing about it. I already tell all of my family and friends to watch it, and then I discuss episodes with them, so these posts seem like a natural extension of that. I was considering not writing any more reviews in the New Year, mostly because I wasn’t getting very many comments on my reviews from last year, but I’ve decided that comments or no comments I’m going to keep posting reviews through the end of the season. Parks is a fantastic show, and anyone that I can help convince makes these reviews well worth my time. See you all next week!

Random Thoughts:
  • Why is Leslie’s mom not helping out in any of this? Surely the political savvy of a Tellinson award winner would be a welcome addition to the campaign.
  • I’m a little worried about Leslie’s former campaign managers looking around for a new candidate. It sounds like Leslie might have a rival!
  • And its official, Champion is my new favorite character on Parks. Hopefully he’ll stick around for a while, every show needs an animal mascot, and now that Lil’ Sebastian is gone Champion is perfect to fill the void.
  • Did Someone Say Calzone? Sadly this is not a real book, I checked, but Ben’s new obsession with calzone’s was hilarious. And the idea for a calzone restaurant? Classic. Ben shall now be called Ben Calzone Wyatt.
  • And the Pawnee High team mascot used to be called the Drunken Savages, naturally.
  • Where can I buy those red carpet insoles? Shame Tom has no business savvy, because that is a pretty cool idea. Pointless and useless of course, but pretty cool.
  • Who doesn’t break dance when they’re happy? Although I usually just jump up and down while clapping and giggling like I’m five.
  • Oh Ron and your philosophical differences. I’m not sure at this point if he’s a libertarian or an all out anarchist.
  • The Low Cal Calzone Zone? This is so horrifying that it’s hilarious.
  • Ann playing the role of the shrink to Pistol Pete was a great twist, she should have been a therapist instead of a nurse.
  • I can’t wait to see the rest of “Requiem for a Tuesday”. Somebody get that man an Oscar!
  • Poor Jerry, even when he does something right it ends up being wrong.
  • Everytime that music start up again I couldn’t stop laughing. “Get on your feet” combined with shots of the cast sliding around and falling on the ice was just too much for me. It felt like an eternity until she made it up the stage.
  • What is wrong with Pistol Pete Ann? Sheesh. She goes from no standards to way too high standards. He’s a living legend! Just ignore the crying.

Favorite Quotes:
  • “Ann you beautiful tropical fish!”
  • “I tried to make ramen in the coffee pot and I broke everything.”
  • “Ok, I have to ask this and I’m sorry, but how many legs did that dog have when you found him?”
  • “I was joking. You should soak that in bleach and burn it.”
  • “I don’t want to paint with a broad brush here, but every contractor in the world is a miserable and incompetent thief.”
  • “See, there’s more things to do on the internet that look at naked guys Ann!”
  • “Be a man and sit on that girls lap!”
  • “I will happily endorse you. As Peter Disillio, regional distributor for Derwin Ham Loaves.”
  • “Ok. Well we have a philosophical difference on what constitutes a law.”
  • “Hiiiiii. I just wanted you to know that we’re about to be arrested.”
  • “I do not, I repeat, I do not want you to tempt him with sexual favors. Although I am a little offended that you would not do that for me.”
  • “What I’m talking about is a portable, delicious meal that is its own container. It’s a whole new spin on Italian fast casual dining.”
  • “That girl tried to get that gimp dog to bite me!”
  • “Sometime life dunks you.”
  • “Windows are the eyes to the house.”
  • “Right now he’s curled up in the backseat of my car, talking about his father.”
  • “I’ve been looking at our utter and complete lack of experience as a positive thing, but I’m actually starting to think that it might be a problem."

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