Friday, September 8, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 8: Favorite Season Three Episode

Season Three! Yayyyy! I love this season so much. It's the beginning of Leslie and Ben's relationship, Mark is gone, Ann is going through her dating-as-many-men-as-possible phase, April and Andy finally get together, the Harvest Festival happens ... I forgot exactly how much happens in this season and how much it had changed from its original The Office-like* format, especially with Leslie deciding to run for city council, Tom leaving his government job to become an entrepreneur, and Ann taking a position at city hall.
Via Getty Images
And while every episode is absolutely excellent, there is only one that will reign supreme: "The Fight."
It is from this episode where a great deal of my gif collection comes. Per example:
Via Bustle
Via Spoiler TV
Via Github
Via NBC Parks and Rec Tumblr
This is a fraction of the gifs I have from this episode, but they are probably my favorites. Plus, I didn't want to bog down the post with a billion and a half gifs to load.

But this post isn't about the gifs; it's about the episode, which starts brilliantly with Ron setting up the rest of the parks crew for a fight about a broken coffee machine (that he punched himself when it burned him) because it was "getting a bit chummy" in the office. You know, when I actually go back and do a critique of an episode, I'm always impressed that the opening always somehow has something to do with the rest of it. Which ... yeah, I know, should be something fairly obvious, but I've seen so many cold openings for sitcoms that have literally nothing to do with the rest of the show. Either that, or I'm easily impressed by things I love. Take your pick.

Anyway, quick recap: PR director job for the public health department has come up for grabs, and Leslie wants Ann to interview for the job. Ann isn't too sure about leaving her nursing career behind and, despite the sheer volume of information Leslie gave her to review prior to the interview, decides to go to Tom's thing at the Snakehole Lounge. The titular fight happens inside the bar, where both women - and the rest of the crowd, save Chris (who doesn't really seem to drink alcohol) and Donna (who is on a cleanse) - are drunk on Tom's Snake Juice. The next morning, Leslie and Ann feel awful about their fight, in addition to having the worst hangover in their lives, and make up at the interview for the director job.

What I love most about this episode is Ann and Leslie confronting each other: the fight is more or less them yelling into a mirror at the other. Leslie is definitely frustrated with her inability to date Ben because of Chris' rule against interdepartmental dating (a very stupid rule for the most part, although I do understand why it exists) and is jealous of Ann's freedom to date whomever she chooses, and Ann is aware, at least on some level, that her constant parade of new men isn't necessarily the healthiest thing to do, especially since she tends to pick up the habits of the guys she dates (something that is touched on several times over the series). God, I'm really glad she didn't continue to go out with the Douche** for a long period of time, or she'd start talking like him.

Ultimately, it also shows what a steamroller Leslie is. I know that this storyline was meant to bring Ann to city hall so she could be involved in future stories more believably, but it sets up the later episode, "Smallest Park," in which Leslie finally realizes that her very energetic, stubborn way of pushing people into things can have serious consequences on her relationships with them. Leslie is a very passionate person, which is one of the things that Ben and Ann love about her, but it can also bring about more conflict than Leslie intends. Hence, "The Fight."

Second, Tom's entrepreneurial attempt here is one of my favorites pre-Rent-A-Swag, partly because of his guerrilla marketing strategy (in which he gets Ron to say k-raaaaaaaazy). And also because people get oh so drunk off of what Ann thinks might just be liquid Demerol. Half of the funny shit that happens is because everybody is so wasted. Briefly going back to Leslie and Ann's argument, I laughed so hard when Ann says, "Good! It's not all my fault. I'm not the stupid jerk. I'm not the one who's being a stupid jerk right now." Anyway, I do feel bad for Tom, though, when he has to sell his shares in the Snakehole Lounge, but it does start him down the path to embracing who he is. I identify a lot with Tom, which I am going to get into on my supplemental post about him, and I think this is the episode that we really get to see what he is capable of: he is a business man, an ideas guy, and he feels so stifled by his role in the government. As someone who has worked for the government, do I get his lack of enthusiasm.

Third, April and Andy's role-playing game is absolutely amazing and is basically Couple Goals for me. Their relationship is probably one of my favorites because it should not work; they're basically children, and yet somehow, even with their blissfully nonchalant approach to life, they manage to keep their relationship strong and even supportive.

This is definitely one of the episodes I show people to get them into the show, mainly because of the above gif of Ron dancing, and is easily one of the strongest episodes the show ever did. All of the characters' stories connected in interesting ways - even Donna being on a cleanse - and it is legitimately hilarious, so of course that means I'm going to go watch it again. Because it's awesome.

Runners-Up: "Flu Season," "Harvest Festival" and "Andy and April's Fancy Party"


* I finally went back and watched a few episodes of The Office, and OMG, Parks and Rec was tooooootally going for that feel. I'm so glad it found its own voice.
** I had no idea that Amy Poehler and Nick Kroll dated for a while until I was doing a bit of research on this episode.
Good! It's not all my fault.
I'm not the stupid jerk.

I'm not the one who's being a stupid jerk right now.

Read more:
Good! It's not all my fault.
I'm not the stupid jerk.
I'm not the one who's being a stupid jerk right now.

Read more:
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