<i>Parks and Recreation</I>:  This Is Not a Liam Neeson <I>Taken</I> Scenario

"Galentine's Day" (Part 2, technically) is the reason why I watch this show. I had a smile on my face throughout the entire episode and was pleased that they found a way to service every single character in one half hour, without sacrificing the funny. This one might end up in my top ten list of episodes, and not just because of Andy determining that he was "Goofus"… but that sure didn't hurt.

<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: All in All It’s Just Another Bee in the Wall

Has there ever been a more adorable sight on Parks and Recreation than that of Ron Swanson cooing at his adorable infant son John Middle Name Redacted Swanson? What's that, you say? Ron has a son? Yes, that ever-so-secretive Ron and his wife Diane had their baby and Ron, much to the horror of Leslie, told no one. Unfortunately, it wasn't all cute mini-Swansons: there were also mass bee stings and Leslie getting a black eye. That said, all those instances (as well as an oft-repeated Tom storyline that might actually work this time) lead to something positive in the end… which is probably the first and last time I'll ever say bee stings did anything good for anyone. Damn you, bees. Here are the highlights from last night's light, but effective episode "The Wall":

<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: Where to Watch the Cast During the Show’s Hiatus

Dammit, Jerry/Gerry/Garry/Larry! Don't ask us how it's his fault that NBC is putting Parks and Recreation more or less on hiatus until January 2014, but he is, we just know it. Sadly, that news is true: due to some infuriating schedule switcheroos, we won't get the new Halloween episode of Parks and Rec until November 14 so it can be preempted for episodes of The Voice and an SNL special. After back-to-back episodes on November 14 and 21, there will be a break and we won't see Leslie Knope and Co. again until January 9, 2014. While Adam Scott assured fans nothing fishy is going on, it was heartbreaking enough when we had to deal with the uncertain future of Parks and Rec, but now that we have it back, we can't actually have it? And, nice try, but none of this will get any of us to watch Sean Saves the World because, you know, we have eyes.

Parks and Recreation: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

by Rachel Stein May 3, 2013 11:10 am
<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

They got me, y'all. All season long, we were thrown little hints about possible Parks and Recreation pregnancies, and then in the season finale, the tension builds beautifully up until the moment I found out that I guessed the damn red herring. Aside from being incorrect and thus not getting the bragging rights, Ron Swanson being a father-to-be is more than I could have hoped for. I legitimately clapped at the end of the episode, and later had a brief nightmare about Tommy's Closet. It's probably a good thing that I'm getting a break from this show -- and, for the record, I'm pretty optimistic about a renewal.

Parks and Recreation: Swing Low

by Rachel Stein April 26, 2013 10:15 am
<I>Parks and Recreation</i>: Swing Low

I like mini golf as much as the next person with a soul and warm blood, but "Swing Vote" didn't work for me. The characters didn't do anything particularly interesting, the storylines were contrived, the conceit of the episode was in most cases, literally, "Well, I guess none of this really mattered," and it generally just felt like the writers went on vacation and left outlines to a bunch of substitutes about what each Pawnee friend is like and how plots usually go for a group. I wouldn't say that Parks and Recreation has run its course, nor do I think next week's Season 5 finale should also be the series finale, but episodes like this do make me wonder how much farther the show can take these characters without feeling like it's spinning its wheels each week. In any event, I hope that this is the last we see of Jenny Slate's Mona-Lisa, who is unfortunately the poster child of why "Swing Vote" wasn't very good.

<I>Parks and Recreation:</i> Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week? (Part 2)

The first scene of "Jerry's Retirement" has the triumphant return of Ben's Letters to Cleo shirt, so you knew it was going to be fun. I didn't love it as much as "Article Two," but the premise of Jerry retiring was hilarious, and it only further confirms my theory that in the season finale, we'll learn that Leslie, April and Ann are all pregnant... you know, assuming there's a bit of a time-jump or something. Until then, let's do this:

Parks and Recreation: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

by Rachel Stein April 19, 2013 11:26 am
<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

"Article Two" and "Jerry's Retirement" are easily two highlights of the fifth Parks and Recreation season -- though for the sake of transparency, they aired at a time when I really needed a laugh.

Parks and Recreation: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

by Rachel Stein April 12, 2013 11:30 am
<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

Parks and Recreation dipped into its usual hat of tricks, callbacks and beloved townspeople for "Animal Control" to produce a slightly formulaic episode... not that I'm complaining. Last night's episode cracked me up and made me happy while propelling some hard-earned character development, which is more than I can say about any other TV comedy currently airing right this moment, except for maybe New Girl. I'm not sure if you read my Modern Family reviews, but for a while (maybe an entire season or two, gulp) they became about me pointing out every single awful thing about that show followed by our commenters asking me to please stop being an awful grouch about a sitcom, to which I say: "If you just watched Parks & Rec and read my reviews of that, there'd be no issues here! You'd know I do have a sense of humor, Internet strangers!" But I digress. I'm just trying to say that "Animal Control" was good, dammit, and I'll start writing fangirl-y things about other shows once they put at least ten percent of the effort that this show puts in. Okay let's grade everyone yay!

Parks and Recreation: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

by Rachel Stein April 5, 2013 11:10 am
<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

"Partridge" was great. I mean, of course we were going to love doped-up Ben -- given how good flu-stricken Leslie and human disaster Ben have been in the past, it only makes sense. The pacing in this episodes was fantastic, all of the storylines were fun and my only real complaint is that Parks and Recreation is never frickin' on, and I desperately want to watch a new episode every week instead of a seemingly random installment every first Thursday of the month, or whatever this schedule is. More, I say, more! On the bright side, there are still four episodes left this season, all of which are consecutive -- there's even two in one night on April 18! -- so I can stop my complaining and get to talking about how much I laughed last night. Until then, I'm not above suing the parents of whoever made up this stupid schedule for spawning a human turdburger.

Parks and Recreation: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

by Rachel Stein March 15, 2013 10:14 am
<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: Who Made the Comedy Grade This Week?

I'll admit right now that I was already pretty biased going into "Bailout" -- Jason Schwartzman was my longtime high school crush (I wish I could tell you it was because of Rushmore or even Freaks and Geeks, but it actually spawned after Slackers) and I've been a fan of Jenny Slate's since before she was on Saturday Night Live. Also, hello: "Time After Time." I could totally understand an argument on why this installment could have felt repetitive or even like a filler episode (outside of Chris's dad-cision), but come on... we got two Sappersteins in one sitting. Let's get to grading.

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