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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Parks And Recreation: "Greg Pikitis"

Illustration for article titled Parks And Recreation: "Greg Pikitis"
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Leslie mentioned at the top of tonight's episode that her boyfriend was a cop. She was talking to Greg Pikitis, a punk teenager who apparently terrorizes the parks department every Halloween, and she showed up at his school to warn him that everything would end this year. So, clearly, she just wanted to shake the kid up, but I got really excited. After many weeks, Louis C.K. was going to be reprising his role as Dave the cop, and that meant Leslie would have a reason to act all kooky again. I've loved the episodes in his absence, but Leslie's really in top form when she's fumbling over herself to try and impress him.

And as I expected, this was a mighty fine episode for Amy Poehler. She takes the whole Pikitis thing really seriously, and tails him all night, recording every inane action into a voice recorder (and turning it over to Dave occasionally for comment). The two decide eventually to leave for Anne's party—sadly, Leslie wasn't able to fire that "warning shot just over his head" on the way out—and they enter the office to find it vandalized with toilet paper, shaving cream, and mustaches all over the pictures of powerful lady politicians. And on top of Leslie's desk sits a peach pit, presumed to be the calling card of the kid who was eating a peach when Leslie confronted him earlier. Whipped in a frenzy, she forces Dave to bring the kid in, and she proceeds to have him question the boy while she watches from what she thinks is a one-way mirror, but really is just the window to the conference room. Andy even gets a shot, now a proud employee of the parks department. He pretends to be an FBI agent, throws a coffee mug across the room, and later is made to cry by Pikitis. Leslie tries her hand, can't get him to admit anything, the kid's mom shows up, and that's it.

But what I'm loving about Parks & Rec lately is the way it takes mundane things to ridiculous extremes. Of course Leslie and Andy get drunk and decide to TP Pikitis' house; of course the mom hears them and Dave is called to bust things up; and of course it turns out Pikitis called a woman off Craigslist to pretend to be his mom, so he'd get out of trouble and have the whole town to vandalize. Of course. We get some nice character-type moments from Leslie, Dave, and Andy, with the whole thing capped off by this nonsense. A nice balance that worked out well for the show.

Speaking of balance, tonight's episode actually featured just about every supporting player for the first time in a while. The problem was, they were all at Anne's house for a Halloween party, and while I like Rashida Jones in the part, her character usually does best when she's got some wacky person to play off of. It didn't really happen much at the party, which is basically a tale of how Tom Haverford, the guy she didn't even want to invite in the first place, takes over for her boring turkey-wrap type party and kicks things in a sweet T-Pain costume. Ron Swanson goes from painfully awkward meeting with Dr. Harris (the curse of two friends who don't know each other showing up first at a party; happens to the best of us), and ends with the highest compliment he'll give: He sees another worthy pirate costume, and deems the party a success. April gets to dance and drink to her heart's delight, despite turning down a party where three Jonas Brothers might be making out with three Robert Pattisons. And Mark gets run through the gauntlet by Anne's coworkers, who strangely love Andy and keep hitting on Mark as a "test". And Jerry got caught in some spiderwebs. Poor Jerry.

On the one hand, "Greg Pikitis" demonstrated how an episode of P&R can work wonders—dial up the conditions that might drive a character insane, as they did to Leslie, and watch them squirm. On the other, it demonstrated that while the show has a strong ensemble, it often does best by letting individuals have the focus for an episode—and, let's be honest, Anne treated the whole thing pretty tamely. But I'm glad Dave got in a few lines, and Andy even got in another dive. Trademark that shit, man.

Stray observations:

  • "I can't wait to see how tiny your costume is." Tom Haverford, always a pro.
  • "Crappy Halloweiners, that's hilarious." Chris Pratt's deadpan is something this show needs more of.
  • "That looks like the kind of thing that would be on the wall of a serial killer." "In a weird way, I'm going to take that as a compliment."
  • "I will waterboard you."