Dec 7, 2012

Parts of Rec: "Ron and Diane"

Left to right: Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman
Welcome to Parts of Rec, a new column that will attempt to take the weekly brilliance of NBC show Parks and Recreation and cut it into the bare essentials. After all, time is precious and sometimes you cannot read pages and pages of reviews. While it will be impossible to bottle all of the highlights, I will do my best to cover the plot, as well as memorable moments and just what makes it great in general. Make sure to look for Parts of Rec every Friday following the episode.

Season 5, Episode 7
"Ron and Diane"

Left to right: Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Retta, Chris Pratt (back row)
"I can’t wear mittens because they’re unflattering to my hands."
-Tom (Aziz Ansari)

It is the holiday season, and what better time to throw a party? Jerry (Jim O'Heir) has invited the Parks and Recreation department to his family get together. However, Ann (Rashida Jones) doesn't want Tom (Aziz Ansari), April (Aubrey Plaza), Andy (Chris Pratt), and Donna (Retta) to come. Meanwhile, Leslie (Amy Poehler) takes on the job of Ron's (Nick Offerman) emotional guide and invites him to an Indiana Woodcutting Association event, which he is initially opposed to but goes anyways. At the party, Ann sticks to her guns and doesn't let the four people in for being mean to Jerry. However, Ben (Adam Scott) and Chris (Rob Lowe) are invited and get to witness the fun, including Jerry playing the piano and his daughters doing a very corny dance number. One named Gayle (Christie Brinkley) flirts with Ben and Chris, and this leads Chris to want to ask her out. At the woodcutting event, Ron runs into his ex-wife Tammy (Megan Mullallly), and awkward tension arises. He also finds Diane (Lucy Lawless), his latest girlfriend. Leslie promises to keep Tammy away from Ron and eventually kidnaps her in a car and drives her far away to let Ron and Diane escape. This is not before Ron receives an award for Achievement in Chairs. Back at the party, it is discovered that Gayle has a boyfriend and this bums out Chris. Also, Jerry finally answers the door and sees the four people standing outside. Concerned that he accidentally missed their RSVP, he invites them in. During this, they reveal that they saved up money based on donations and a fund that they collected a dollar for every time they were mean to him. They eventually lock him out of the house. Ron and Diane hit it off and things become sweet. They hang out at a jazz club called Cozy's, which leads to Ron revealing his skill for playing the saxophone, and a lot of surrounding women to threaten Diane with death. In the end, Leslie is happy to be Ron's emotional guide, though it has now tortured her with Tammy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

MVP: Ron (Nick Offerman)
I mean, how do you not give it to him for all that he has achieved in this episode? While Leslie should deserve bonus points for managing to upstage Tammy with ridiculous capers, Ron showed the most heart and effort in this episode. Most of all, we learned that he plays the saxophone. Also, by taking his relationship with Diane to a new level, it only adds to the season's growing amount of heartwarming, humanizing moments for the cast. It has long been expected that the two will get together, but now that we see their intimate chemistry, they cannot do it soon enough. At very least, their chemistry is more convincing than the recent wedding of Tina Fey and James Marsden on 30 Rock. Also, congrats on building a great chair, Ron. We're all rooting for you.

Left to right: Megan Mullally and Poehler
Best scene: It is hard not to just make this a Ron-centric love letter, but there is something very endearing about the chase between Leslie and Tammy for the entire episode. While each scene clicked with brilliant moments, I think it has to be the scene where they drive the car into the middle of nowhere and end of wrestling in a dumpster. So random, yet so much much. While I am sure that this show will explore Christmas more in the upcoming episodes, I figure with the Jerry's party subplot, there is a lot of great holiday cheer in this episode, and nothing like being with the ones you love. We must applaud Leslie for being the main exception to that idea this week. Also, kudos for Megan Mullally for bringing the insanity as usual.

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