Parks and Recreation Season 5 Review “Halloween Surprise”

Parks and Recreation brilliantly executed a classic comedy television trope this week. We watched our lead, Leslie Knope, struggle with a very rough personal week. After all, it’s not every week you can sell your best friend, give a sweet, but incompetent, man a fart heart attack, and question the relationship with your boyfriend. Given her struggles this year to navigate her new position, Leslie’s difficulties in this episode didn’t play like anything but another bad day. When you finally arrive at the moment that gave the episode its name, the rug dragging is beautifully abrupt. The moment itself may not have matched Leslie in the voting booth last year, but it got pretty damn close. It was well executed by all the parties involved.

While there was plenty of heart and romance to go around, the show didn’t fail to deliver its usual dose of hilarity. Whether it was Andy’s power of observation, Tom’s new on-the-fly business idea, or Donna’s insistence on live-tweeting all of the Death Canoes (Spoiler Alert: The canoe is the hero in the 5th movie), the side players felt like they got a lot more to do this week. Naturally, the star of the show was Ron. There are plenty of situations where you automatically expect Ron Swanson to be hilarious. Dealing with small children is definitely one of them. It’s so easy you may as well be dropping dynamite into a barrel full of fish. Still, Nick Offerman’s ability to mine humor out of every conceivable situation in Ron Swanson’s life is truly remarkable. I was only disappointed that he didn’t pull out the Pyramid of Greatness for Diane’s girls.

The big surprise at the end of the episode doesn’t really change a lot to the overall structure of the show. The main takeaway is how the scene makes you feel. Because the show is exceedingly well done, it’s impossible not to become attached to these characters if you watch regularly. As a result, plot doesn’t matter when it comes to Leslie and Ben getting engaged. I just want to see Leslie happy. It’s the element that so many shows lack or fail to do successfully. That’s never the case with Parks and Recreation. The people in Pawnee, Indiana only trade in perfectly executed classic television tropes.