Laura Tormos ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Welcome to the year 2017—unfortunately, so far, hover cars don’t seem to be a thing, but some weird, futuristic, cool-looking holographic tablet thanks to new company Grizzyl are. So is, apparently, Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ron (Nick Offerman) being at odds over Newport-owned land; April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy (Chris Pratt) both having careers and finally transitioning into the nightmarishly boring world of adulthood and responsibilities; and Tom (Aziz Ansari), Donna (Retta), and Ron all having moved on to their own successful enterprises.
We all knew it was coming—that with the time jump we all saw at the tail-end of the last season—but we may not have exactly expected the entire show’s dynamic to be different, which it sort-of is. Almost every character has moved on from anything Parks related—save for Andy, April, and newly minted “Barry” (Jim O’Heir). Tom is an arrogant mogul running and owner of wildly popular restaurant Tom’s Bistro. Donna’s running a realty company (and getting married). Perhaps most upsetting, however, is Ron and Leslie’s fall out—which seems to be due to a mysterious event which Leslie refers to as “Morning Star”.
This season’s plot seems to revolve around Leslie attaining a giant piece of land owned by the Newports, which she plans to turn into a national park for a grand total of zero dollars, when Gryzzl’s prepared to bid 90 million dollars. Ron, Tom, and Donna have sided with Gryzzl—which intends to build a new campus—because it benefits them financially, turning their back on Leslie when she groups the old Parks team together as a call to action.
And for all those who worry about the comedy factor—as most people do once a long show reaches its final years, “2017” was hilarious, and shook up the Parks world in a great way—despite Ron and Leslie’s fall out. They will most likely not be at odds for the entire season, if “Ron and Jammy” is anything to go by. Which, in fact, probably would not have been fully possible if they hadn’t been at odds. Or, at least, it wouldn’t have had the same effect.
Overall Episode Grade: A
“Ron and Jammy”
The back to back episode premiere, a format which will continue on for the rest of the (now sadly much shorter) season, did not lose any of its momentum in “Ron and Jammy.” In this episode, Leslie once again endeavors to sway the vote of Jeremy Jamm (Jon Glaser) in her favour. Jamm doesn’t look the same as usual though: he’s sporting a mustache and polo shirts, his hair is styled in a peculiar-yet-familiar style—oh, and his new girlfriend is Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally).
It quickly becomes apparent to Leslie that Tammy’s attempts to transform Jamm into Ron have made him depressed, and the situation is dire. So dire, in fact, that Leslie calls for a temporary truce with Ron, knowing he’s the only man who could help train him in the art of “la résistance a la Tammy.”
The Pavlovian fear conditioning to Tammy’s perfume was particularly hilarious, and so was the rest of the scene. Complete with crotch-blinders, roleplaying Tammy scenarios—in which Leslie does some amazing Tammy impersonations—and lessons in Tammy-proofing one’s home, there’s never a dull moment between the three.
All the preparation, however, comes down to the final test: a confrontation with Tammy 2 at none other than the Pawnee Library, in what is another great scene. Tammy deploys all her wiles to keep Jamm in her clutches, even going so far as stripping down right there in the middle of the library, promising sex, and, more deviously, promising Leslie the vote she wants. Leslie, predictably, remains steadfast, because she would never throw someone under the bus to achieve her goals. She is nothing if not a friend first.
Ron, however, seems surprised that Leslie stuck to her moral compass, which begs the question: What happened in the Morning Star debacle? Did something come between her and her usual unrelenting loyalty? Have Ron and Leslie been so separated that he’s forgotten what she more truly stands for?
Thankfully, it seems as if the animosity between the two has been put on hold for now—it can’t be said for sure how long it will last. The Parks and Rec writers probably won’t make it that easy, though.
Elsewhere in Pawnee, in one of this episode’s subplots, April has run into somewhat of a professional crisis. After attending a ceremony honoring Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins), who has run off the deep end and gone somewhat demented (including having written nine memoirs—her ninth called A Game of Joans), Joan mentions that she has known since she was ten years old that she wanted to be on TV, and has been pursuing what she loves ever since then. April suddenly becomes unsure that her career in the Parks Service really coincides with her lifelong passions. The best part of this subplot, however, is the fact that she goes to Ben (Adam Scott) for help and guidance. April and Ben being BFFs is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Then there is Tom, who runs into a different life crisis: this one of the romantic kind. He laments his lack of being able to share his immense professional success with someone that matters to him when talking to Andy. Coincidentally, his ex-girlfriend Lucy (Natalie Morales) messages him on Gryzzlbook after hearing about his success, and Andy suggests they “get hammered,” which results in an $830 cab ride to Chicago to find her.
Long story short, Tom ends up offering Lucy a job managing his operations back in Pawnee, and despite having mentioned a boyfriend, she agrees, and the episode ends with them flirting over spreadsheets.
“Tom and Lucy are totally going to fall in love,” says Andy Dwyer just before the episode ends (and he eats spaghetti off the floor), and honestly? It’s looking like a pretty likely outcome.
Overall Episode Grade: A