Parks and Recreation Season 5 Review “Pawnee Commons”

There are a great many things that I appreciate about Parks and Recreation. For a 30-minute sitcom, it probably has one of the better realized worlds on television. They have a deep bench of characters that they can rely on (including one of the most iconic comedy characters of all-time), and the show plays the heartwarming beats better than the comedy beats (and it plays the comedy beats really, really well). Using my advanced metrics, I think it’s the best sitcom on television. However, while watching tonight’s episode, I realized why I enjoy watching Parks and Recreation to the degree that I do: It makes unbelievably happy.

The show is capable of “real” moments where deep character changes are made, but the show also knows how to kick back and have some fun. This week was all about the fun. No storyline embodied that more than April and Andy hanging out in City Hall on the weekend. Their Burt Macklin versus Judy Hitler (complete with German accent!) showdown was utterly ridiculous, yet incredibly amusing at every turn. Given that it was probably time for Burt Macklin to retire, I couldn’t think of a better send-off than the one he got from FBI Director Ludgate. Anyone watching this show for the first time probably found that bit ridiculous, but those familiar with the work of Mr. Macklin were treated to an incredibly fun jaunt around City Hall.

In addition to the return, and departure, of Burt Macklin, FBI, Leslie was insanely petulant in dealing with her nemeses from Eagleton. A lover of all things Pawnee, Leslie can’t hide her hatred of all things Eagleton, and it yielded some hilarious results. Leslie scoffing at the opulence of the people of Eagleton wasn’t the most inspired comedy, but Amy Poehler is incredibly funny when she’s being petulant. Also, getting the opportunity to spray shaving cream all over another human being has to be a rewarding experience. I’ve never done it, but it certainly looked like something fun and cathartic. We all have our prejudices against certain towns, groups, or sports teams, but very few of us doing it as funny as Leslie Knope.

All of this madness and we barely had time to discuss the return of DJ Roomba at Rent-A-Swag or Chris learning woodworking from Ron. It was a busy, but insanely fun 22 minutes. For a show that focuses so much on the more serious aspects of a sitcom (to great success), it’s good to see them let their hair downrelease the shaving cream on occasion.