parks and recreation recapping: soda tax

Previously on Parks and Recreation: Ms. Knope Goes to Washington 

I often struggle between finding shows that perfectly walk the thin line between being realistic, but also funny. Usually Parks and Rec is a show that manages to do flips and spins across this line (which seems to look a lot like a balance beam in my mind). With several three-dimensional characters that push the plot along, its rare that that we run into entire episodes that focus on the plot as the driving force behind the episode. AKA, this episode wasn’t as funny as I would have liked, but I guess what happened was crucial to the plotline.

The plot can be summarized as follows: Ben is unhappy with his lazy interns in D.C., and Leslie is unsure how she should vote on her soda tax. If she votes for it to pass, it can potentially cost several Pawneeians their jobs. But she put this tax into place because Pawnee is the fourth fattest city in America–“soon to be number three. We’re coming for you, San Antonio!”. Andy trains to be a policeman, with the help of Tom and Chris, who seems to be going through a midlife crisis.

Leslie sometimes has to choose between what she believes in or what is best for the town. Usually these two things are one in the same, but this was not one of those times. Relying on Ron’s expert advice, as always, she chooses to do what she believes in. Ben’s lazy interns were the most fun sections to watch. All the interns have very influential political family members, and once Ben realizes it, he begins sucking up to them, which leads to interesting slang that only Ben–or a 45-year-old man– would think is “hip.”

The most depressing– and, honestly, unnecessary– section of the episode was Andy’s. Andy played the part of an oblivious by loving goofball great, as usual. And Tom was great too, although he had a smaller role than usual. However, Chris began spiraling down this sad, sad road of “Poor me, my name is Chris and I’m single and will die all alone.” This sad descent into “this show is not a comedy anymore” began last season after Jerry’s daughter Meredith broke up with him. I think that without this section of the plot, it would have been a hilariously great episode.

  • I said it last week, and I’ll say it again. Rob Lowe has been given a seriously crap role. Not only are they not using Lowe’s comedic prowess, they’ve turned him into one of the most unlikeable, unsympathetic characters on TV right now. Probably an over-exaggeration, but for the sake of poor Rob Lowe, let’s stick with it.
  • More Aziz! And Jerry. And Donna! Come to think of it, they should be doing another “Treat Yo Self” episode soon… I hope.
  • I feel like all of the guys’ names on this show were stock names that just never got changed. Sometimes I get them confused because they’re so typically… short, American guy names. Jerry. Ron. Tom. Chris. Ben. Andy. What about some more fun names, like Colin? Or a new favorite, Oliver? (Homage to Olivia Dunham? I think not. Just an odd coincidence, I guess! :)

Quotes: 

Andy:” So, I’ve got a list of everything that I’m supposed to be able to do to get into the police academy, and number one is, “Be able to run 2 miles in under 25 minutes.” That’s a typo, right? I mean, that’s humanly impossible.”

***

Leslie:  Ms. Pinewood, recently, many of the local restaurants have changed their “small-size” option to a whopping 64-ounces. That’s correct, and it’s great for the consumer. More bang for the buck. Are we putting bargains on trial here? How could any sane person call that “small”?

Miss Pinewood:  Well, if the customer truly wants a smaller size, there is an option.

Leslie: Oh, do you mean the “li’l swallow”? Does anybody buy that? Some girls buy them for their dollhouses, but they’re not very popular. I mean, for only a nickel more, you get 64 ounces. Well, uh, Paunch Burger just recently came out with a new 128-ounce option. Most people call it a gallon, but they call it the “regular.” Then, there is a horrifying 512-ounce version that the call “child size.” How is this a “child-sized soda”?

Miss Pinewood: Well, it’s roughly the size of a two-year-old child, if the child were liquefied. It’s a real bargain at $1.59.

***

Leslie: Let’s talk about water zero. The name implies that there are zero calories, like most water, but in fact, it has 300 calories per serving. Isn’t that misleading?

Miss Pinewood: The zero on the label refers to the amount of water in it, which is zero. If you want zero-calorie water, try diet water zero lite. It has only 60 calories.

***

Pawnee citizen: I want the tax. My husband started drinking those giant sodas, and he’s gained 100 pounds in three months. Consequently, we haven’t had sex in ten years.

***

Ben: Let’s go. Guess what’s in these boxes, everybody? What? Pizza. That’s right. Everybody chill out. Take a pizza break on me. Ellis, what’s up, my male? You grab a slice of ‘za, brah.

***

Ben: I asked you to come work here because I thought you’d enjoy it and I think you’re smart, but you have to have some semblance of professionalism, and I need you to give, like, even a 15% effort.

April:  12%.

Ben: 15. For God’s sake, I’m asking for 15% effort. It’s not supposed to be a negotiation.

***

Ellis:  Hey, what’s your problem?

April: My problem is you, Smellis. Ben told you to finish the website, and if you don’t do it, I swear to God, I’m gonna murder you in your sleep. I know where you live. 14th street, right? I’m gonna get a melon baller and scoop your eyes out and eat them, and your congressman uncle is gonna have to buy you a dog to drag your eyeless face around.

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3 Comments on “parks and recreation recapping: soda tax”

  1. nicolewritenow says:

    Great recap!

    I tried to ignore how sad Chris has become by instead appreciating this show’s continuity: the Bumbleflex shirt Chris has on is a throwback to the same shirt he wore last season. Still, sad Chris is a less funny Chris and subsequently, it brought down what could have been great bits between him, Andy and Tom.

    • Emily Morita says:

      I agree completely. I just feel so bad for Rob Lowe. We all know he’s got the comedic chops to help the show’s comedy, and instead he just brings down the hilariousness that is Andy and Tom.


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