Parks and Recreation “Soda Tax” Review

Parks and Recreation Season 5 Episode 2 "Soda Tax" (4)

One of the best things about Parks and Recreation is the large ensemble of great comedic talent. Everyone on the show is so talented, that it is pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle. Still, a lot of the characters have been able to latch on and develop a loyal following. When people think of Parks, they will inevitably think of Ron Swanson, Leslie Knope, Tom Haverford, and Andy Dwyer in some order. However, through two episodes, the show seems to pushing hard for us to recognize another one of their excellent performers: Aubrey Plaza.

Thanks to a semi-inexplicable turn as Ben’s assistant working on the congressional campaign, April has been able to spread her wings a little bit in this still young season. Out from the shadow of Pawnee where it was easy for her to get lost in the shuffle, April is now free to run amok over Ben and interns alike in Washington D.C. Who knew that Ben telling April to get more serious about her job would lead to threats of eyeball eating and slaps of one of the douchy legacy kids that populate Ben’s office? It’s amazing how often Parks will make me laugh hysterically at something that plays as the final credits roll. Outstanding moment.

While April was reminding Ellis that she “knew where he lived,” Leslie’s struggle with her new situation continued. And as usual, anytime we can get reminders of how morbidly obese most of the denizens of Pawnee are, or how insane the town hall meetings can be, the show is usually in its sweet spot (in this case literally). Whether they want taxes on women’s vaginas or are powering down a delicious Water-Zero (now with no water!), the Pawnee citizens never fail to disappoint.

Tonight, Leslie’s struggles were mitigated by a typical source: Ron Swanson. Anytime we get Swanson playing his role as Leslie’s Yoda, good things will usually follow. Tonight’s story about how he attempted to fire Leslie four times early in her run in the Parks Department served as a reminder of Leslie’s conviction and Ron’s strong distaste government efficiency in one swoop. It wasn’t quite as meaningful as some past moments they have shared, but it still effectively dealt with the issue and allowed Ron to show off his automatic door.

Parks and Recreation went to a lot of the same beats this week that have gotten them laughs in the past, but it didn’t make those moments any less funny or charming this time around. Sometimes, it’s okay to do similar things if you do them well. In that regard, Parks rarely fails to deliver.