Parks and Rec – “Soulmates”: You belong among the wildflowers

On some level, I think I look forward to this show each week more than any other.  If you asked me what my favorite show is, I’m not sure I’d say Parks and Rec, but every week when their cold open begins (like last week’s all-time great, with Ron pulling his own tooth out in the conference room) I can just feel myself get happy.  Since the beginning of the second season, few shows on tv have been as funny (I’m talking ache in your side funny) or have as fully a realized world of supporting characters and places as Parks and RecFor instance, Joe from Sewage turning up last night.  What a disgusting character (he looks like Robert Carlyle’s white-trash cousin), yet I loved seeing him because it spoke to that broader sense of Pawnee as fleshed out place.  Plus, he has a love-van (shudder).

So what did I love about last night’s episode… I loved the entire storyline with Ron and Chris and the burger battle.  Ron’s confusion about the existence of a turkey burger (“why would anyone do that to themselves?”) was definitely a continuation of last week’s horror at the veggie-loaf cake, but that made it no less hilarious.  I’m a big fan of any time the writers show Ron actually getting passionate about something (usually food or brunette women, never work), and here his determination to keep hamburgers on the City Hall menu played well against Chris’s manic cheerfulness.  The entire trip to the health food store (and then the foil of the trip to the Food n’ Stuff) was fantastic, particularly Ron observing hippies (damn, dirty hippies) in their natural environment.

Aziz Ansari always kills me as Tom Haverford, and the extended riff on words and phrases he uses (“pre-birds”, “food rakes”, “bean blankets”) was exactly what I would expect from his character.  As was the reveal in the tag at the end of the episode that he and Leslie were matched because he had numerous profiles on the dating site.  Of course Tom N. Haverford’s favorite movie is “books.”

As for Leslie and Ben, I think the writers are doing a great job of letting their mutual interest build without making anything seem forced or creating an artificial will-they-or-won’t-they situation (I’m looking at you, Castle).  Adam Scott is an actor that I would watch in any project (there is a special ring of hell being reserved for whoever decided to cancel Party Down), and I love the awkwardness he plays Ben with, like in the scene in the hallway when Leslie asks him out.  Their romance aside, I think there is a lot of funny yet to come in this storyline.

Finally, yes Leslie, turtles are condescending.

(photo credit, NBC)

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