Emma Doherty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Parks returned after almost a month long forced break during the Winter Olympics. The episode is titled “Anniversaries” and its been one year since Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie (Amy Poehler) got married. Naturally, if you title an episode after that you would expect a lot about those two characters, right? Wrong.
The episode started off strong with an adorable scene in the Knope-Wyatt household, and hearing about their anniversary plans gives extremely high expectations for the rest of the episode. This would lead everyone to believe there would be a plot filled with scenes of Leslie and Ben together and enjoying married life but of course everyone should know better than to think that would actually be the case.
It seems that no matter what it is, things always get in the way for Leslie. This time it was proving that the Pawnee/Eagleton merger was a positive thing. She transitions into full Knope-crazy and goes over the top to try to convince everyone that things will work out. Of course doing things like this are what make Leslie so unique, but this seems like a very familiar story plot. This episode may remind many of “Jerry’s Retirement” from season 5 where Leslie and Ben are supposed to take a day off together, but Leslie ends up spending the day helping Jerry (Jim O’Heir). I’m all for character development, but it seemed quite repetitive to have such a similar occurrence happen in this season. Regardless, there should be no complaints about Ben and Jerry bonding.
Ben and Jerry are incredible as friends and it is great to see that relationship explored. The dancing scene was perfect, along with their shared love of the movie Enchanted. The show could benefit from more Ben and Jerry bonding in the future. Perhaps he will become Ben’s new Chris. Speaking of Chris (Rob Lowe), this was the first episode since we lost him and Ann (Rashida Jones) to Michigan, and it wasn’t acknowledged at all. You can’t tell me that Leslie is already over losing her beautiful tropical fish! Fans were expecting tears, or a memorial outside her house, or even letters and housewarming gifts she was planning on sending. It was like nothing had changed. It’s not a surprise that things don’t seem different, because the writers have been phasing them out all season. Hopefully we will get some guest appearances by Rashida and Rob in the future, but for now they are just a happy memory.
Although the main focus was on Ben and Leslie’s two storylines, the B plots were fairly entertaining. Ron’s (Nick Offerman) criticism for most things came out in this episode and his hatred for technology proved to be as hilarious as always. Sending personal hand written critiques to people and businesses is perhaps his most brilliant idea yet. The best line of the night may have been “Dear frozen yogurt: you are the celery of desert, be ice cream or be nothing. Zero stars.”
The other story occurring was between April (Aubrey Plaza) and Donna (Retta). Apparently the two work at the Pawnee animal adoption center now… Was I the only one confused by this? We know that April is in charge of animal control so naturally she would help out there, but since when does working at City Hall mean that you work at an adoption center? Besides this, their story was interesting and it was nice to see just how well Donna knows April. These parts of the episode were good but they did not hold a candle (or sword) to the ending.
With all the possible gifts that Leslie would give Ben, no one could have imagined what was coming. Leslie miraculously obtained a replica of the famed Iron Throne from the HBO show Game of Thrones. This fantasy drama series is often mentioned on Parks and a fair amount of the cast has admitted to being obsessed with it. This went above and beyond my expectations for the “best gift ever,” and being a Thrones fan myself, this made up for what the episode lacked.
Overall Episode Grade: C-
Make sure to watch Parks and Recreation next week on NBC at 8:30/7:30c