Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Parks And Recreation: "The Stakeout"

Illustration for article titled Parks And Recreation: "The Stakeout"
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

That's more like it!

The best Parks & Recreation episode by a long shot, "The Stakeout" finds Amy Poehler finally easing into the defeated, desperate loon Leslie Knope has become, and once again proves that P&R's strong supporting cast should be used far more often. Plus, Louis CK makes an appearance, and Andy leaps into the pit. A solid half-hour of comedy, at long last.

Its strength came in the intersection of business and personal stress for Leslie. After discovering that somebody had planted weed in the new pit garden, Leslie decides to spend the entire night staking out the pit from a van parked on top. It's a bit of an extreme reaction to something the police could have probably handled, but Leslie's all about going the extra mile or seven hundred. Things take a turn for the personal immediately—Leslie sees this as an opportunity to bond with Tom over candy necklaces, an example of Leslie's somewhat stunted view of adult relationships—and continues into the rest of the night. Earlier, Leslie had told Ann it was okay to go out with Mark ("ovaries before brovaries"), but seeing him come to pick her up (she lives above the pit, after all) sends her into stalkerish hysterics. And it's not helped by Tom's hilarious air humping.

The duo later run into Andy, who's clearly way strung out—and comedy ensues. He claims to have thought the weed was the tops of carrots, shovels an entire candy necklace into his mouth, string included, and upon seeing the police busting Tom for breaking into the van (Leslie locked them out, and Ann/Mark reported the seeming break-in), Andy dives back into the pit. He's an outrageous guy, allowed finally to be as outrageous as he wants.

Then P&R did something smart: Continuing the trend of fleshing out the supporting players on the show, the higher-ups cast Louis CK as the cop who busts Tom and sends him to prison for the night. Like Leslie, the Louis CK character is a bit socially oblivious, but in a completely different way; Leslie gets ultra personal, and he thinks of everything in really dry terms. Leslie comes at him demanding Tom get set free ("Do I stutter?"), and he tries to reason Leslie down. It doesn't really work; she winds up staying the night and waiting for Tom so he can see a familiar face ("Jail changes a person"). But because Leslie doesn't want to tell him about the weed—for fear he'd peg it to her—he comes up with his own speculation as to what Leslie was doing out there: She's spying on Mark and Ann, and guess what? He thinks that's kinda cute, then proceeds to talk about his attraction to Leslie in the least sexy, most technical way possible. Aw. They'll be great together.

Also on the supporting front was the B-story of Ron Swanson, intent on dealing with a hernia by sitting at his desk, not moving, for the entire day. Like, literally not move, to the point where he asks April to bring him his lunch—pushing it across the desk a few inches so he can grapple for a burger and throw it at his face. ("Is this some weird power thing?" April asks.) He's forced to stay in his chair all night, and the shots of him sitting alone in the dark were, quite simply, the best parts of the episode. Could his apathetic deadpan possibly be the best part of this show? Hell yeah, he's Ron fuckin' Swanson.


Grade: A-

Stray observations:

  • On eating a brownie once that made her feel euphoric: "It didn't have pot in it. It was just an insanely good brownie."
  • "Shovel guitar! Shovel guitar!"