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Parks and Recreation Recap/Review: "Gin it Up!"

Emma Doherty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

One of the reasons why Parks and Recreation is such a great show is because of the writing and amazing character development over the series. In the beginning of the series, Leslie (Amy Poehler) especially was drastically different. She was perceived as ditzy and unintelligent by her friends and coworkers. But the show’s executive producer realized that after the first season (which was only six episodes long), that is not what the show was going for at all. They changed the way the other characters perceived her by showing that she was in fact very intelligent and just cared about her job and friends more extremely than most. Since the first season, Leslie has only gotten better and better, being one of the only characters on TV that is a breath of fresh air by being relentlessly uplifting and positive. But lately this is not the case. This episode along with the last showcased Leslie’s flaws, focusing on the fact that she is very intense about her job which is no surprise to any of the viewers.

This episode was a rare occasion where Donna Meagle (Retta) was showcased as a character in an A plot which was interesting to see. She’s a fun character but her goofy traits were not highlighted in this episode. There’s yet another roadblock for Leslie’s recall problem. All of the councilman are against Leslie and want her out of office, so they’re looking for any little thing that will help take her down. It doesn’t help when Donna accidentally sends a profane tweet from the Parks twitter account causing big media uproar in Pawnee calling it the “Twitter Watergate.” Leslie defends the department saying it was probably hacked, and when she finds out it was Donna she tries to do everything she can to cover her friend’s back. The council soon finds out that Donna was in fact the person behind the tweet and that sexual things were not the only tweets she was sending.

They reveal that Donna has been tweeting negative things about Leslie for months complaining about her boss and her job This was a strange storyline because everyone knows that being overly dedicated to the job is Leslie’s thing. Focusing on Leslie’s flaws is funny at times but not when its all that is happening for her.

Tatiana Maslany, Aubrey Plaza and Aziz Anzari in the Parks and Recreation episode "Gin It Up." Photo via screencrush.com.
Tatiana Maslany, Aubrey Plaza and Aziz Ansari in the Parks and Recreation episode “Gin It Up!” Photo via screencrush.com.

However, this was another great episode for guest stars on the show. This week Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany stopped by the show. Tatiana is a huge fan of the show which could possibly mean a recurring character. She played Nadia Statsky, a hospital worker from Doctors without Borders who is looking to get a mobile hospital in one of the parks. While stopping by the parks department to try to get a permit, she catches Tom’s (Aziz Ansari) eye and he immediately puts on a ridiculous act to try to impress her. Part of that act is a pretty believable British accent that he thinks will make him sound cooler.

When she comes back to the department to return the papers, Tom tells her she filled out the wrong forms to try to extend his time with her as much as possible. He drops the act saying the accent was the result of a cold but still does not have the courage to tell her he likes her. Nadia eventually becomes fed up with Tom’s erratic behavior and is also confused by how strange April is and leaves the department.

With Andy’s (Chris Pratt) absence from the show there is a bigger showcase on April (Aubrey Plaza) which so far has been extremely entertaining. The writers are taking time to explore her weirdness while still making her loveable. She ends up helping Tom win over Nadia by revealing Tom’s true feelings for her. Nadia says that she will take Tom’s erratic behavior as endearing, and to his utter shock, asks him out. This will be an interesting addition to the show, securing her for a few more spots while last weeks show kept the promise for at least one more appearance from the hilarious Billy Eichner.

Retta and Amy Poehler in the Parks and Recreation episode "Gin It Up." Photo via www.hollywood.com.
Retta and Amy Poehler in the Parks and Recreation episode “Gin It Up!” Photo via www.hollywood.com.

Chris helps Leslie when she is hurting about Donna by revealing that she had also been tweeting a lot of great things about Leslie. She says that she is strong and passionate about her work using the perfect hashtag “#bossbitch”. Donna later apologizes to Leslie assuring her that she in no way hates her overbearing boss, she just uses twitter as a way to blow off steam. Leslie is her usual self saying that “One person’s annoying is another person’s inspiring and heroic,” and tells Donna that she will continue to be this way in the future. The two patch up their short lived feud and Leslie stands up for herself, Donna, and the department by telling the council that they won’t be bombarded by this ridiculous excuse for media attention.

This episode contained a rare character pairing of Ben (Adam Scott) and Ron  (Nick Offerman), which is always entertaining to see. In the beginning of the episode Ben approaches Ron asking him to be the witness to his and Leslie’s will. Being the severe libertarianism that he is, Ron responds saying that wills are stupid and pointless. He whips out yet another epic and short Ron Swanson document that states “Upon my death all of my belongings shall be transferred to the man or animal that killed me.”

Ben eventually gets Ron to realize that a will is necessary because his money will be given to the government if he doesn’t get one. He decides to leave each of his kids 5% of his fortune because he doesn’t want to spoil them and to Ben’s utter shock, this is still a huge amount of money. Once again it is revealed that he has a huge fortune, but we still don’t know why. Hopefully the writers will explore this in the future!

Tatiana Maslany and Aubrey Plaza in the Parks and Recreation episode "Gin It Up." Photo via www.tvfanatic.com.
Tatiana Maslany and Aubrey Plaza in the Parks and Recreation episode “Gin It Up!” Photo via www.tvfanatic.com.

This was overall a sweet episode, but it didn’t really take the characters anywhere. The only advancement in any of their story lines is a promising love interest for Tom. Leslie did not progress at all in her fight against the recall, and the Eagleton-Pawnee merger was not explored further.

Perhaps the biggest flaw to this episode is that Ann (Rashida Jones) was not in it. After ending last weeks episode with Leslie and Ann sitting down to talk about her future departure, she was not even mentioned! What makes it worse is that Rashida’s time in Pawnee is ending after the first thirteen episodes of the season and for her to not be in one of those few episodes is disappointing.

Despite this, the episode was overall very entertaining and Tatiana’s return is surely something to look forward to! This may be a long ways away though because the show will not return until November 14th with an hour time slot premiering two back to back episodes.

Make sure to tune into Parks and Recreation next month at 8/7c on NBC.

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