PARKS & REC Winter Olympics Awards Ceremony - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PARKS & REC Winter Olympics Awards Ceremony

February 25, 2010 by  

I can’t stop watching the Olympics. This isn’t something I am proud of, or anything to brag about. The hours I have spent watching the quarterfinals of the skicross event could be used to better mankind. Or to shop for groceries. You know, the important things in life!

In the spirit of Canadian mittens, Norwegian curling pants, and the soaring rhetoric of Dick Button, I want to pay tribute to Parks & Recreation’s world class performers. Without the benefit of a more clever or original idea, I bestow these fictitious medals on the best of Pawnee, Season Two!

The Pawnee Medal Count


Amy Poehler (Comedic Dance, Multiple Partners): The most valuable characteristics of a true sitcom star are versatility and humility. This season, Amy Poehler has reached that elite level. Though Poehler is featured in almost every scene of P&R, her willingness to share the spotlight has elevated her supporting cast. Leslie Knope makes me laugh by taking a piggy back ride from Andy, failing to understand the meaning of a “Nooner,” and questioning the career plan of an exotic dancer. She is the heart and soul of Pawnee, as well as the person with the busiest daily calendar in Indiana!

Ron Swanson & Leslie Knope (Two-Man Workplace Luge): I enjoy 30 Rock. It’s a smart, funny, well-crafted show. With all due respect to Liz Lemon & Jack Donaghy, I think that Ron & Leslie are now the best workplace duo on television. Season Two has embraced the theme of teamwork, and this team has benefitted most from that direction. Nick Offerman has turned Ron Swanson into a sensation, and the creative team resisted the urge to turn Leslie’s boss into her nemesis. The result? A mature, thoughtful display of personal and professional respect. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we NEVER hear whispers about putting these two together romantically. They don’t need to be each other’s last phone call of the day, only the last person they each see at 5pm.

P&R’s Writing Staff (Artistic Achievement): In Season One, I was charmed by “Easter Egg” style recurring bits like the City Hall murals and Andy’s numerous band names. This year, Michael Schur and his team have outdone themselves, mixing hilarity with heart. Imaginative cold opens, such as Leslie’s home shopping adventures and Councilman Dexhart’s news conference, have brought the funny early and often. New stories involving the library department, Andy’s shoeshine stand, and Leslie’s love life have sustained my interest week to week.


Tom Haverford (Pimp Moguls): Now that I think about it, Tom’s recent batch of sparkly outfits in “Sweetums” probably made him a better candidate for men’s figure skating. I love the idea that Pawnee’s coolest, and most confident public servant is carrying a torch for his green card (now-ex) wife. Aziz Ansari’s performances have rung true all season, no matter if he was baring his soul at the Glitter Factory or inconveniencing his friends on moving day. Tom is selfish and flawed, but his behavior is ultimately forgivable. If Tom & Wendy are not meant to be, however, I would like to see him get a chance to hit the town with Duke Silver. A “Boys Night” episode would be an early contender for television immortality.

Andy Dwyer & April Ludgate (Slow Build Sitcom Romance): Chris Pratt always makes the most of his screen time, but I entered this season questioning how Andy could remain an integral piece of the P&R puzzle. All it took was a staff hunting trip to give Andy & April an opportunity to find their own way. Aubrey Plaza has been pitch-perfect as this flirtation has grown, allowing April to appear “girly,” for better and for worse. Limited to blank stares through the fourth wall in Season One, Pawnee’s most indifferent intern now wears the charm of infatuation on her fair-skinned cheeks. This is a young relationship, told through the prisms of mutual admiration, peer pressure, and random acts of kindness. It is sweet and kind and good, just like Sweetums!

Jerry (Peer Abuse Biathalon): Jerry’s Gold Medal chances are very promising, and his wait will end when he finally turns the tables on his colleagues at City Hall. We have learned a lot about Jerry this season, most of it unflattering. Somehow, it has remained funny without seeming cruel, and I credit actor Jim O’ Heir for allowing us to laugh at his expense. Jerry may be a pin cushion for his coworkers’ verbal spears, but O’ Heir’s facial expressions always add a layer of humor. Kudos to the creative team for adding this wrinkle to the narrative of Season Two.


Mark Brendanawicz & Ann Perkins (Ill-Conceived Love Story, Relay): Mark & Ann recently acknowledged what viewers have known all along. They are nice people who seem to be a perfect match…on paper. They lack an underlying tension or attraction, perfectly content but nowhere near in love. If these two are headed for a split, the writers will have to deal with a big dilemma. What will Ann’s purpose be at City Hall? With the Pit filled, and Andy preoccupied with April, how believable will it be to see Ann roaming the halls, other than to have lunch with Leslie? Absent the creation of a First Aid department, I cannot think of a plausible scenario.

Guest Stars (Half-Pipe, Half-Baked Ideas): This has been an area of inconsistency, given the remarkable talent that has visited Pawnee. Megan Mullally was amazing as the most significant of Ron’s ex-wives named Tammy, and the chemistry between Mullally and real-life husband Nick Offerman resulted in legitimate roll-on-the-floor laughing moments. Louis C.K. brought levity and kindness to Leslie’s frantic personal life as Officer Dave. On the other hand, I found Fred Armisen’s spin as a visiting dignitary to be off-putting, and Justin Theroux’s recent arc to be unconvincing. Even Will Arnett, Poehler’s offscreen spouse and a world class comic mind, was a bit too bizarre for my liking. Stunt casting will always be a staple of shows looking to build their audience, but I do hope that future visitors will have a closer connection to P&R’s Midwestern tone.

Who are your Gold Medal performers on P&R? Where does the show rank on your Thursday priority list? Which stories would you like to see more of? Less?

Can we all agree that Duke Silver is as cool as he seems? For the love of Pawnee, chime in with your thoughts about NBC’s best comedy!

Aside from writing about House and Parks & Recreation, Erik has become addicted to Top Chef, The Next Iron Chef, and most other shows with the word “Chef” in the title. Please forward any recipes for Chef Boyardee to his Twitter handle (@FreelanceErik).


3 Responses to “PARKS & REC Winter Olympics Awards Ceremony”

  1. Billiam on February 25th, 2010 10:18 pm

    The evolution of relationships has been interesting. We started with Ann and Andy, with the possibility of an Ann/Mark/Leslie triangle. But now it looks like we might have an April/Ann/Andy triangle. And no one is rooting for Mark and Leslie, either.
    Though I did like Justin Theroux’s arc better than you did.

    But anyway, this is a show with a wonderful supporting cast: Ron Swanson, April, Tom, and Andy (and a little Jerry).

  2. Erik on February 26th, 2010 7:59 pm

    Billiam: Thanks for starting the discussion! I agree that P&R has benefited from taking fresh approaches to sitcom romance. Season 1 appeared to be a setup to the Ann/Mark/Leslie storyline, and my recaps (among MANY other, more talented writers) warned about the consequences of such a traditional choice.

    By avoiding that pitfall, the show was blessed in two ways. First, it allowed Leslie Knope to become the clear leader of Season Two, rather than be dragged into a petty B-level story. Second, Chris Pratt became a more viable part of the ensemble by getting a day job and a new admirer. Where this leaves Rashida Jones remains unclear, though it would be fun to see Ann & Leslie spend some “girl time” lashing out at men. Is the bar still open?

  3. Erik on February 26th, 2010 8:05 pm

    Oops, I forgot to address the Justin issue. Though I may not have been a huge fan of the character individually, Justin did have more tangible impact on the P&R team than any previous guest star. Tom found a male role model to snap him out of his divorce funk, Ann was able to confront some authentic “friends with potential” feelings, and Leslie had the opportunity to choose herself over a guy (a sharp contrast from the defeatist stance of Leslie, circa Season 1).