Monday, May 10, 2010

Precise German shooting touch can't completely save Parks and Recreation

I love Ron Swanson almost as much as this puppy.

Detlef Schrempf was the marquee guest on this past week's Parks and Recreation, which seems totally appropriate for a town like Pawnee. This seemed like a one-off episode from the main plot, meaning, it had little to do with the continuity of the overall season, excluding the story with Mark and Ann. Basic premise of the episode: The recreation department is taking part in a 24-hour telethon, except that Leslie, in complete Leslie move, signs them up for the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. time slot. Also, Leslie being Leslie, she stayed up the night before the telethon, and plans to stay up the night of the telethon, for a total of 48 straight hours.

This gives the recreation department an excuse to show off some cheesy, funny skills that wouldn't really fit in any other episode. You know, like Ron showing off (in a sleep-inducing way) how to make a wicked chair, and Jerry demonstrating his skills at classical piano. Predictably, Leslie was a nut, and Detlef managed to get waylaid en route to the telethon because Tom insisted on bringing him buy the strip club that he is part-owner of.

(An aside about Detlef Schrempf – I know him almost entirely as the white dude in NBA Jam who bombs 3-point shots. Therefore, imagine my surprise when I looked him up on Wikipedia and found out he is essentially the German basketball version of Forrest Gump. For example, he somehow managed to make three all-star teams. This was despite a shaky start to his career, because of being initially drafted by the Mavericks, as it took him starting for the Pacers for people to realize he was a decent NBA player. He was the first German player to reach the NBA finals, followed by Dirk Nowitzki, and he shot an insane percentage from 3 one year – 51.4 percent in 1994-95.)

Outside of a few brief moments between Andy and April, the only emotional development in the episode occurs between Mark and Ann. He is unsure about proposing to her, and Leslie convinces him this is a good idea – and that he should do it during the telethon. However, in the meantime, Ann comes up to her and says she is thinking about breaking up with Mark. As a result, Leslie frantically tries to distract Mark from proposing on television, and as a last resort, drops her pants on live television.

This whole part of the episode was very meh and cliched – I felt like I was watching a bad NBC sitcom from the early 1990s. Like, this is something that would have happened in Wings or Empty Nest or Blossom. It definitely detracted from an otherwise excellent episode.

Grade: B+

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