I apologize for the late post, but I’ve decided that I should make an effort to have a social life this semester which means that occasionally I leave my dorm. But don’t let my tardiness lead you to believe that I am any less than dedicated to this show. It is basically my only love interest.*
So, focus group. First off, Tom is a great moderator. He really has a great dynamic for the position. He’s super encouraging, much to Leslie’s chagrin. Behind the two way mirror, Leslie hears Tom coax out information fromt he group, such as they believe that she is aggressively short, kind of uptight, and not someone that could unwind enough to enjoy bowling. All of this is kind of true, but her taking it so personally makes her even more endearing to us watchers who, of course, get to enjoy the full range of Leslie’s emotions from week to week.
You know what else we get to enjoy most weeks? Pointed looks at the camera. They’re baaaaacccccckkkk. And you know who’s a pro at them? Adam Scott. Honorable mention goes to Aubrey Plaza. Combined, the two of them make me giddy. You know what else makes me giddy? The way Ben flirts with Leslie. Basically, what’s going on this week is that Leslie had some less than stellar reviews from a focus group and she wants to win the hearts of her public. To go about this, she tries to prove that she’s easy to hang out with, she’s approachable, a commoner. Basically, she wants to prove that she’s not an elitist.
The hardest lesson for Leslie is that not everyone she ever meets will like her. You’d have thunk she’d have gotten the message from all of those belligerent citizens in the town forums, but whatever. Letting it slide, I guess. So she seeks to prove to the one guy who hates her that she can be fun. In her mind, bowling is the best way to go about that. And if you have any question as to whether Leslie’s a good bowler, you should just ask Ron Effin’ Swanson, he’s a trustworthy source.
Anyway, half of the campaign team goes to the bowling meet-and-greet while the other half works on fundraising. We learn, among other things, that Ron takes bowling very seriously, Tom is a pussy, Ann is super fun when she’s a caustic bitch, and Adam Scott is fucking swoon-worthy.** The guy Leslie’s been trying to win over all night gets all up in her grill and won’t back off. He calls her a bitch. Lines are crossed. Ben punches the bastard. Guys, I’ve never loved been so hard as I did in this episode. He was the perfect balance of cute and flirty, with his floppy little vibe going on. You know what I mean? Sometimes he’s just floppy – in a good way, of course. And he’s also protective alpha-boyfriend who will punch your lights out to defend his woman. But the bestest (aside from the punch itself, obviously) is that Leslie stands by Ben’s actions. At a press conference no less! You go girl! Her ballsy stand-by-her-man stance earns her some street-cred amongst the focus group. Their guts like her, they’ll vote Knope.
In the other lane, Tom’s bowling ball is perfection – it’s basically a model of the Earth – but his bowling stance leaves a bit to be required. He does the Granny throw. You know the one, hunched over, feet more than shoulder-width apart, minimal force. A straight shot. And yet, he gets strikes. Ron does not abide by this Tom-foolery, yelling things such as, “People can see you, son! I’m asking you as a man to stop this immediately.”
Now, B-Plot time in which the rest of the group does cold-calls to try and fundraise some money. The most important thing about this plot is that ROB LOWE IS BACK ON MY TV IN A POLITICAL CAPACITY! As I didn’t watch Brothers & Sisters, this might not seem like a big deal. But to really get me, you’ll need to know that I was obsessed with the West Wing. Like, ever since the sixth grade, I have been obsessed with the West Wing. Rob Lowe plays no small part in that obsession. Case in point: he played a speechwriter – I want to be a speechwriter. But whatever, political Rob Lowe is my favorite Rob Lowe. With the exception of shirtless Rob Lowe. Obviously. Also on my list of favorite Rob Lowes? This one:
Anyway, the fundraising team is competing to win a pair of tickets to the Pawnee Monoplex. You know there’s only one screen in that theater. I imagine it being in someone’s basement. Also, in my mind, Kirk (from Gilmore Girls) is running the projection booth and the snack bar. Anyway, April doesn’t want the tickets but she doesn’t want Chris to win. In fact, she wants Chris to lose his peppiness. This is very much in character with April. Her wish comes true when Jerry dishes that Milli is planning on dumping Chris at the soonest possible opportunity. Don’t worry, Jerry gets blamed for this, too. Chris’ heartbreak is even more profound than you would have originally assumed because we learned that he was poised to ask her to move in. Poor guy.
Despite the fact that April found out that she’s a wizard, able to make her whims come to fruition, she makes a gesture to Chris, going so far as to ask him to accompany Andy and herself to the movies. It’s as adorable as you can imagine. She even includes an awkward hug. It’s so cute. Uncomfortable, sure, but really cute.
Notable & Quotable:
- April’s smash cut of phone calls. Let’s be honest, the show has kind of laid off the smash cuts this season which is really a shame. I love those along with the talking heads and pointed camera glances. I understand that overusing them can make them super annoying (sorry, Office!) but I think Parks & Rec is still working on finding its delicate balance. However the cut of April working her ass of to get those donations was wonderful.
- “I can’t tell you how many times a fun tug of war with a dog with a chew toy turned contentious.” Competitive? Leslie? Noooo.
- “Out of my way, suckaz!” – Tom
- “This bowling alley has my favorite restaurant in Pawnee.” – Ron
- “When I eat, it is the food that is scared.” – Ron
- “Are you a female bird?” – Ann, to Tom
- “I wished for his happiness to go away. I might be a wizard.” – April
- Nick Offerman AKA Ron Effin’ Swanson was in an episode of the West Wing once upon a time. See his baby face and minimal hair here: