Parks and Recreation “Ms. Knope Goes to Washington” Review

Parks and Recreation Season 5 Premiere Ms. Knope Goes To Washington'

Perhaps no comedy on television does a better job playing emotional beats while also delivering genuine laughs on a weekly basis than Parks and Recreation. Many comedies only focus on the laughs, but lack any sort of heart. Other comedies can deliver the heartfelt moments, but fail to deliver consistent laughs. Because Parks and Recreation is capable of both within any given episode, it has ascended to the top spot on the comedy list. Granted, most of America seems to have failed to notice, but the show continues to chug along in what seems like its final season (if you take a good read of the Bob Greenblatt TCA tea leaves). And just in case we had forgotten about its greatness, Parks and Rec returned with an episode that embodied the things that it does so well.

For starters, we got a fine twist in Leslie’s storyline as she traveled to Washington DC with the greatest travel companion ever, Andy. Between Andy’s misunderstanding of Washington monuments (and his hilarious interpretation of them for April) and his very public moments of intimacy with April, Andy’s performance provided levity to what turned out to be a rather emotional journey for Leslie. Missing her boyfriend and unable to get a meeting with a government bureaucrat about river cleanup in Pawnee, Leslie is faced with the difficulties of working the giant machine in Washington. She’s grown accustomed to winning because of her force of personality and will, that the emotional smackdown, and ensuing breakdown, leaves us feeling sorry for our heroine. That being said, after watching her becoming ascendant in the final few episodes of last season on the road to her City Council victory, it’s good to see that Leslie Knope is not Superwoman. We all reach our limits. It was pretty cool that Parks and Recreation acknowledged Leslie’s.

Andy and Leslie doing Washington was definitely the highlight of the show, but the office shenanigans back in Pawnee certainly didn’t lack for hilarity. Even though I thought Ron was played a little too big in this episode, it was a good episode to humanize the perpetually awesome Mr. Swanson. His attempts to run the Parks office should be ripe for good comedy, but it’s definitely worth pointing out that he’s slightly out of his depth on this one. Not everyone is as awesome as Ron Swanson, but he still has to work with the people in his office. His struggles to connect with his coworkers on Employee Appreciation Day even allowed Chris Traeger to have a nice moment towards the end of the episode. Whether he’s taking in Tom’s latest ideas revolving around glitter or preparing meat from the store as opposed to fresh from the kill, Ron will have to cope with a lot this season without Leslie always there to translate things into a nicer package.

We’re setting up for a very interesting season of transition in the Pawnee Parks Department. What did you think of the season premiere of Parks and Recreation?