The Wife:

This finale had its moments, but over all, I think it was rather silly and disappointing. Let me summarize the episode’s main crisis: Gossip Girl sends out a mean text during the Constance-St. Jude’s graduation ceremony calling Dan an insider, Serena irrelevant, Blair a weakling and Chuck a coward. For some reason, this hurts everyone’s feelings and Serena decides its time to declare war on Gossip Girl and find out who he/she really is. I enjoyed the mini Scooby gang scene in which the four plus Jenny try to surmise who GG might be while at their post-grad brunch at Chez Bass Der Woodsen, but their attempt at detective work in this moment was the only highlight of this plot. Serena gets a flash of brilliance and sends a tip to GG, as GG must be in the room with them. Jonathan’s phone lights up, but it turns out he’s only been hacking into GG’s server for months, overseeing the kinds of gossip she chooses to post and what she chooses to hang on to. (Like any good reporter, GG saves her juiciest information for the moment in which it will have the most impact.)

Love Blairs dress. Hate Serenas.

Love Blair's dress. Hate Serena's.

GG, knowing what Serena has been up to, sends out a blast filled with very juicy information about how Blair slept with Apple-cheeked Uncle Jack on New Year’s (a revelation that was totally anticlimactic; I had hoped they had done something far more scandalous than that), Vanessa slept with Chuck and a whole bunch of other crap that basically neatly sewed up all of the secrets the main cast had been keeping from each other. This makes everyone pretty angry, and disappoints little J, who had hoped to earn her place as Queen next year (and thus destroy the monarchy from the inside) by spilling that bit of gossip about Blair and Jack Bass. I realize the nature of the show is peppered with these gossip blasts from an anonymous, omniscient narrator-god type of figure, but to have so many secrets be released at once in a melee of shallowness seemed less like something Gossip Girl would do and more like something the writers needed to do to move the story into closure, as well as set up new dynamics for next season. It was a little deus ex machina (or deus ex text message?) for me, and that wasn’t the only instance of something tied up a little too neatly.

Post-party badness, Serena tries to trap Gossip Girl into meeting her, but is surprised to see everyone she knows show up instead of the mystery blogger. Once the entire assemblage arrives, they all receive a text from Gossip Girl basically saying that each and every one of them is Gossip Girl, because she’s nothing without the tipsters who send her posts. And to announce that she plans to follow them to college, but there they will all get to start with a clean slate, since she’s already blasted out all of their worst secrets. I’m not going to complain about not meeting Gossip Girl in the flesh, mostly because I don’t want to, as it would kind of ruin a major creative point of the show. But really, Gossip Girl? Did you honestly think that pointing out to these people that they are all Gossip Girl was somehow going to change them and make them earn that dear ol’ clean slate? Because it’s not. She’s not saving them at all from the labels she put on them at graduation. Dan is an insider. Serena is irrelevant. But Blair and Chuck, though . . . she might have changed them a little bit.

The Blair and Chuck bit of this episode really worked for me, actually – as did the resolution between Rufus and Lily. Serena tells Blair that Chuck had confessed his love for her, so Blair, on the advice of her mother, suggests that she take charge of her feelings and get Chuck to admit directly to her how he feels. And so she heads to Nate’s post-grad party, where the secret-spilling GG blast will take place, dressed to kill and slowly removes articles of clothing, asking Chuck if he likes them until she’s stripped down to her amazingly sexy shapewear and asking him the ultimate question, “And what do you think of me?” But even though Blair is bringing shapewear back (and really, it needs to be brought back; a good foundation garment does wonders), Chuck can’t admit he loves her and breaks her little heart when he finds out she slept with Apple-cheeked Uncle Jack. After a good cry, Blair resolves to give up on Chuck and stop chasing a guy who will never love her back, even though she remains slightly tortured by constant updates on his European whereabouts from Gossip Girl. That is, until she runs into him outside her apartment building one day, his arms full of gifts because he toured Europe to buy Blair her favorite things as an admission of love and an apology. Here, by the way, are my exact notes during this scene: “Awwwww! No, B! Accept him! Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaase???? Yay! He said it! Yay!” I think from that you can safely infer that Blair was about to turn him down, but then he finally admitted he loved her, with those chocolates from France and her favorite stockings from Germany. And I was made happy. Chuck + Blair 4evah.

Rufus and Lily, meanwhile, after some awkwardness about sitting together at graduation, suddenly realize they’re old because they have 18-year-old children about to go off to college. So Lily drops by the Brooklyn loft with some weed she found in Chuck’s room (at least I think it was weed . . .) and a six-pack. She and Rufus hang out and reminisce about the good ol’ days and, eventually, he realizes he still loves her, despite that whole thing with the investment scheme and mutual funds and whatever, and makes her a ring out of one of his old Lincoln Hawk flyers and proposes. It is, perhaps, a little more low-key, even, than a vintage ring, but perfect.

As for Jenny, without her winning piece of gossip stolen from the GG server, she assumes her chance to be Queen and end the monarchy from the inside is ruined, meaning that Penelope’s chosen replacement, a new girl who looks like a tiny Rashida Jones, will terrorize the school. But after being cast-off by Chuck, Blair tells Jenny that she wants her to be Queen and, just as Baby Rashida Jones is about to be crowned with a sparkly rock and roll headband, Blair shows up to coronate Jenny. Because she can. Why Jenny had to look like a hot tranny mess throughout this entire episode, I’ll never know. But she’s Queen now, and she officially rules no more headbands (except her sparkly one) – a rule I heartily disagree with.

This hot tranny mess is your queen now.

This hot tranny mess is your queen now.

Nate apologizes to Vanessa, and she announces that she’ll be at NYU next year, too, making Serena the only person who won’t be in the city come this fall. (It seems that, without his Yale money, Dan will also be going to NYU, although that fact was never mentioned until this episode.) By the episode’s end, Nate announces that he’s quitting his internship at the Mayor’s office because the deputy mayor hit on him (perhaps because he told Gramps Vanderbildt about his affair with the Countess?). He invites himself along on Vanessa’s backpacking trip, as a friend, and a random dude says he’s going with her instead. But seeing right through that guise, Nate is persistent and wears Vanessa down, so they’ll spend the summer nomming peroghi together after all. But the interesting thing in this scene wasn’t any of that, it was the random dude: Secret Hump Der Woodsen Love Child Not-Dead Andrew (a.k.a. Scott), who has transferred to NYU and is lying to his parents about being in Portland, all so he can find out more about his birth parents, or so I glean from the creepy news clippings he carries around with him. I had waited for some kind of resolution with the Hump Der Woodsen Love Child, and I’m glad to have some. That’ll be a good storyline to play out for next year, as we’re unsure if Scott’s motives are purely to get to know his parents, or to wheedle some money out of them/leech off his half-brother Dan’s New Yorker fame.

I’m also glad that Georgina will be back next year, but really displeased with her integration into this episode. While the coda about her enrolling in NYU and asking specifically to be Blair’s roommate was fantastic (except that I doubt Blair will deign to live in a dormitory by any stretch of the imagination), the most deus ex machina part of this episode was Georgina’s call to Dan to simply say that his Yale money is back in the bank. Ex-Jesus Freak ex machina, apparently. I’m sure they’d like to reveal next season how Georgina got everyone’s money back, but at this point, it just seemed a little too neat. Gossip Girl often burns through storylines very quickly, creating drama and resolution that exists within no more than a three-episode arc, but they usually tie things up better than the entire “Who is Gossip Girl?” plot of this episode and Georgina’s sudden ending of Dan’s money crisis. It made the episode seem, to me at least, a little haphazard. I’ve definitely seen better work on this show, and too many good finales this season to count this one among them.

Other notes:

  • Serena is a fucking tool. How does that bitch think she can get away with not wearing her cap during graduation and, instead, twisting her tassel up in her fucking hair? If the show just stranded Serena at Brown next year, I’d be perfectly happy with that because she’s such a vapid dickbag.
  • Nate’s party had some good music. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs rock.
  • Can Nate and Vanessa end up in Hostel III and die during their backpacking trip in Europe?
  • Also, Serena’s been using Carter Bayson to hunt for her dad? Because he’s in Tahiti? Why?
  • I am kind of in love with Blair’s Diane Von Furstenberg Sofia Loren dress that she wore under her graduation gown. French Connection had something with a pattern similar to the pattern on the bust two seasons ago and I always thought about buying it, but never did. Unfortunately, I’m a grad student now and can’t spend money on fabulous things anymore.

The Husband:

I definitely liked the finale far more than my wife, and while it couldn’t reach the high standard set by the s1 finale, what with the wedding and lost love and Chuck’s ultimate dismissal of Blair, I think it worked quite well. Everything it shot through too quickly was stuff I really didn’t give a shit about. Instead, it did a great job saying that, despite the fact that high school is done, it’s never really done, and that even after graduating, your problems are still going to follow you. And since everybody except for Serena is going to be in NYC (and she won’t be too far away in Rhode Island anywhoozle), those problems won’t have to travel too far. And this way, their stories can still connect with what Little J and Eric at up to at Constance-St. Jude’s, as that drama isn’t going anywhere. It’s actually a neat little restart button, and I’m okay with that.

And while I was starting to get super-sick of Blair and Chuck’s will-they-or-won’t-they, I found that not only was Blair’s strip-seduction to be the sexiest thing on this show so far, but their final embrace was remarkably emotional for me. I still think Blair has a long way to go to really get me to embrace her as an actual human being of a character after some of the shenanigans this season, but maybe NYU will humble her a bit. Because she clearly doesn’t want to go there, despite the fact that it’s a prestigious private school I’ve wanted to attend for a decade now.

Now let’s hope that the show doesn’t lose its verve now that college is starting. But since the show was never defined by its high school (don’t forget, we have never seen any of them in class), I doubt it will be defined by college. These people’s lives are too big for that to happen.

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The Wife:

Parks & Recreation 1.6 “Rock Show”

All I can say is that I hope Ann and Andy never break up because Chris Pratt is the best part about this show. I completely understand Ann’s anger upon finding out that Andy had lied to her about when his casts could be removed just to get another two weeks of complete servitude out of her, but I also get how nice it is to be taken care of the way Ann had taken care of Andy. Let me give you a list of how funny Chris Pratt’s Andy is:

  • His songs about things that are physically near him: “Sandwich! Are you turkey or ham?” (To which Ann responds, “Ham.”)
  • The sundry items that fell into one of his casts, including some gummi bears and Ann’s iPod.
  • His long list of band names which appear to change frequently: Scare Crow Boat, Mouse Rat, Fourskin, Threeskin, Teddy Bear Suicide . . . many other suicidal inanimate objects included there.
  • The Pit song.
  • His genius plot to get back in Ann’s good graces, which I infer entirely from the look on his face when he sees the pit outside his door after she kicks him out: fall into the pit again and get hurt.
  • His reaction to Mark falling drunkenly into the pit, which is basically just an excuse to get back in Ann’s house and watch TV while Mark suffers.


Until she finds out that he lied to her, Ann spends her time flyering for Scare Crow Boat’s first concert on Andy’s newly healed legs, which she still attends that night because everyone else on Leslie’s subcommittee has agreed to go . . .except for Leslie, who attends what she thinks is a business meeting but turns out to be a date with a 62-year-old man, set up for her by her mother. Mark spends the evening at the rock show realizing that he has somehow become the third wheel to everyone in the Parks department: Ron Swanson attends with his new girlfriend, his ex-wife’s sister, who hates his ex as much as he does; Tom Haverford attends with his wife, a hot doctor who, he reminds Mark, makes, like, a ton of money; and even Intern April shows up with a gay guy she makes out with sometimes when she’s drunk. Mark tries to get Ann to see the light about being with Andy, but she rejects him outright, knowing that he’s not any better at relationships than Andy is.

Pleasedonteverbreakup!

Pleasedon'teverbreakup!

Leslie and her date show up right as Mouse Rat (formerly Scare Crow Boat) finishes its set, but Leslie’s date is too old and he falls asleep, so she spends the rest of the night drinking with Mark until last call. After which, they go to the pit and have, actually, a really sweet conversation about Leslie’s hopes to turn the pit into a park in which Mark proves to her its already a park. (“Ring Around the Diaper” and “Duck, Duck, Glass” are two games he imagines children playing there.) And then he falls in.

I’m still not 100% sure about Parks & Rec, but I think it’s starting to settle into its own groove, and I was very surprised at the sweetness and realness of this episode. Often, Leslie’s idealism and naïveté make her incredibly unrelatable, almost like she’s actually mentally insane instead of a misguided go-getter. But here, especially in her scene at the pit with Mark, she seemed the most real to me that she’s been all season, and I’d like to see more of that Leslie.

[Husband Note: I very much like the show and am 95% certain it can find a great groove next season. In addition, it might be my favorite new opening theme music of the year, but I can’t really explain why.]

30 Rock 3.22 “Kidney Now!”

Jack prepares to give his father a kidney, until Dr. Spaceman reveals that they’re not a match at all, leaving Jack to resort to the very thing the liberal media is best at: putting together fundraising telethons and gala concert events to solicit money for causes. So he pulls out all of his favors with various celebrities to get them to record a “We Are the World”-esque diddy coercing the entire nation to donate just one kidney (just one!) to Milton Green, because he really needs it. I think the plea for a kidney was best summarized by Maroon 5’s Adam Levine: “And while you don’t have two beards, you do have two kidneys. Let’s put it this way, if you had two dollars, you’d give me one, right?”

I think Cyndi Lauper might need a new liver soon . . .

I think Cyndi Lauper might need a new liver soon . . .

And how did Jack acquire some of these celebrities? It was easy to get Clay Aiken, because his cousin Kenneth promised he’d do it. Mary J. Blige owed Jack a favor because he got her out of a 20-year concert contract at Seaworld. And as for Elvis Costello? It is best that no one ever finds out that he’s actually an international art thief. Sheryl Crow ended up being the only one to get paid for it. Cyndi Lauper did it for the free booze. (I think that’s also why she was in The Threepenny Opera and on Gossip Girl.) I have no idea why Adam Levine was there, but he got the funniest lines in the whole show. In addition to his kidney appeal above, there was also him pretending he wasn’t a celebrity in front of Jenna (whom Jack didn’t want in the concert) by acting like he was from Europe (“Pleased to meet!”) and his intense desire to harm Elvis Costello in some manner: “When he isn’t looking, I’m going to punch Elvis in the back of the head.” Oh, Adam Levine. I love you. So much.

Clearly, Jack’s insanely overkill kidney drive was the crux of the episode, but there were also two other silly plots. Liz gets dragged onto the Vontella show with Jenna to promote the Dealbreaker sketch by doling out relationship advice (although, Jenna’s usual appearances on that show involve intense catfights with women pretending to be her half-sister). While Jenna is unable to answer any of the questions the audience poses to her, Liz becomes surprisingly adept at dishing out bon mots about fruit blindness (when you’re fiancé is gay and you don’t know it) and other such dealbreakers. My favorite: “Only one snake in the bed. Dealbreaker.” Eventually, because her appearance on Vontella was so popular, the women of 30 Rock start asking her for advice. Angie wants to know what to do when she finds out that Tracy rents a hotel room twice a week for two hours. Likewise, Pete’s wife wonders why Pete doesn’t want to attend their family vacation. Tripping on the power of fake advice, Liz tells both women to “S that D: shut it down,” incurring the wrath of both of her coworkers. You see, Tracy only rents a hotel room so he can shit in peace. (Angie should instead be worried that he only poops twice a week.) And Pete doesn’t want to go on his family vacation because they’re going to work on a farm, and he’s the only one with hands dexterous enough to steer the bull during mating season. But Liz refuses to stop, especially with a book deal in the works and Jack encourages her: Liz is finally getting hers.

As for Tracy, he’s invited to speak at his old high school’s commencement. He refuses because he vowed never to go back there after he left school for crying over being forced to dissect a frog in science class. He also vowed never to cry again, a fact he admits to over a montage of all the times we’ve seen Tracy cry about something. Kenneth convinces him that he should go, though, to prove to himself that he isn’t that kid anymore. When he does give his speech, he is awarded with an honorary high school diploma, which he cries about. Tracy’s plot was the weakest in this whole episode, but because Jack and Liz’s stories were so funny, this all adds up to be a pretty good, silly and weird season finale.

Other funny:

  • “Science was my most favorite subject – especially the Old Testament.” – Kenneth
  • “My Mary J. Blige Foundation is celebrating its 10th year of searching for the Loch Ness Monster.” – Mary J. Blige
  • “We called him Mean Steve. But his real name was Steve Killer.” – Tracy
  • Jack and Milton playing catch.
  • Liz and Sheryl Crow played Kidneys in the 5th grade school play. And Sheryl does not like Liz at all.

[Husband Note: In case you didn’t catch all the celebrities, a commenter on AV Club listed (I think) everybody else. That would include The Beastie Boys, Michael McDonald, Rhett Miller, Robert Randolph, Sarah Bareilles, Norah Jones, Moby, Wyclef, Talib Kweli and Rachael Yamagata.]

The Wife:

Parks and Recreation 1.4 “Boys’ Club”

This was probably my favorite Parks and Recreation episode so far. It stands as the first that seems to really have a plot (save for the pilot) and had some stand-out humor, which, surprisingly, didn’t come in the form of a joke about the brutal slaughter of Native Americans and/or settlers. Weird.

Someone sends the Parks Department a gift basket that would have a total value of more than $25, so Leslie sequesters it so that no one will be tempted to violate the ethics of local government. (The same is true of swag given to journalists. If it’s over $25, it looks like a bribe.) But when Leslie and Ann infiltrate the Tuesday night after work boys’ club hosted by Mark and the other city planners, she finds she enjoys socializing with the boys and some brews and doesn’t want the night to end when the beer does. So she steals some wine from the gift basket to keep the party going. And the cheese. The next day, she’s filled with remorse for breaking a rule and taking unethical actions and starts using her “confessional” time in the documentary to voice official apologies to all women in government for letting them down (funny!) and asking her boss Ron Swanson to discipline her. When he refuses, considering the rule insignificant, Leslie writes a full confession of her actions in an email and sends it to everyone in local government, along with a link to the Pit’s new social networking website, put together by Intern April, to remind everyone of the good work she’s doing.

“Maybe in your world it’s not a big deal. You’re a white Protestant man with a full, rich mustache.” – Leslie


Only April, a 19-year-old minor, has posted a video of herself drinking the gift basket wine on the Pit’s website, thus getting Leslie in, theoretically, enough trouble to incur fines for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and the potential loss of her job. She goes to her disciplinary hearing, which Leslie draws out with her commitment to truthiness and extreme details of the situation until Swanson steps in and says he’ll reprimand her and prevent people from drinking on government property. Not because he cares for Leslie, but because he actually hates government. His idea of a perfect government is just a guy in a room who gets to decide who to kill. And that man would be determined by, possibly, some sort of athletic contest. And he could demand women to pleasure him at his behest.

This is how my parents used to wash their dog!

This is how my parents used to wash their dog!

There’s also an adorable/funny subplot in which Chris Pratt’s character, invalid Andy, decides to do something nice for Ann, who works so hard to take care of him. While she works a double shift, he decides to clean up the house for her, which he achieves mostly through the use of a grabbing stick and his incredible ability to vacuum while resting his weight on crutches, hopped up on painkillers. Andy even hauls all the trash from the house out to the Pit to dump it, taking time to greet a neighbor who’s doing the same thing. But the icing on the cake is his demonstration of his cleaning process, which, since he can’t stand in the shower, involves filling a kiddie pool with soapy water and covering his leg casts with duct-taped plastic bags, resting naked in it while listening to some tunes he wrote for Ann on his boombox. He even washed his shorts! But then a neighbor comes by and takes Andy’s boombox, crucial because he intended to play that song for Ann when she walked through the door later that day, and so Andy springs from the pool, nude and draped in plastic bags, and hobbles down the street to get his boombox, the image of which is one of the funnier things I’ve ever seen. He does, however, make it home in time to groom himself and cook dinner for Ann, making him totally one of my new favorite losers with hearts of gold. (I hope he one day does this whole scenario for his fiancée, Anna Faris. She would find it hysterical.) Someone, indeed, is getting gently laid tonight.

30 Rock 3.20 “The Natural Order”

I really enjoyed 30 Rock‘s take on an age-old comedy trope of “living in each other’s shoes to see who’s right.” This was already broached this season when Tracy and Jenna trade places to see who is worse off in America, black men or white women. This was a much more old-timey take, made bearable and funny by 30 Rock‘s hilarious dialogue. In an effort to get Tracy to learn to come to rehearsal on time (is that what ANTM‘s Aminat was talking about?), the TGS staff goes out of its way to set his clocks forward and behind, which goes so far as to have him take his son to a cello lesson at midnight that was supposed to happen two days ago . . . or something.

“White oppressors, answer my question. What time is it really?!” – Tracy


And so he plays the race card (“Don’t accept it! Don’t accept it!”), which Liz refutes by challenging Tracy to actually earn the right to not be treated like a child by proving he can be professional. So Liz demands he show up on time for rehearsal, have his lines memorized and that she will send a regular towncar to pick him up instead of “one of those Duck Boats.” When he amazingly does prove he can be treated like everyone else, he suggests that Liz also receive no preferential treatment as a woman, forcing her to load 50gallon water cooler jugs by herself, which clearly ends in more water being on the floor than in the watercooler. (I’d like to note that I have the tiniest upper body in the world and I can change a 5-gallon watercooler tank. The trick is to leave the cap on and then pull it off when the spout is already partially in the socket. Some water will spill, but not a lot.) Tracy’s decree extends to the writer’s room, where the guys no longer hold back farts and insist that Liz accompany them to Lutz’s UnBachelor Party at a strip club, and pay for it, because that’s what a dude boss would do. Liz, however, gets the last laugh here by making Tracy stay behind to read and approve script revisions, since he’s equal, which drives him to the brink of madness, as does Liz having to watch a stripper take off Lutz’s shirt (“That gland thing is not a joke!”). They call a truce, and all goes back to the way it was before.

Paul, this is the son that ran me over with his car.

Paul, this is the son that ran me over with his car.

Meanwhile, Jack’s mother is in town to remember the anniversary of the night when Jimmy Donaghey walked out on her and Jack for good. Or at least that’s what Jack thinks. Really, she’s there vacationing with her four-years-her-junior boyfriend, whom Jack instantly dislikes because he’s too young for his mother and from Florida. (“Have you ever been to Florida? It’s a criminal population. It’s America’s Australia.”) Jack hires his PI (Steve Buscemi) to dig up dirt on Paul, but he’s clean . . . except for the fact that he’s been married for 35 years and is cheating on his wife with Colleen. Jack decides that this is the opportune time to deliver the speech he wrote as a young boy to deliver to his father should he ever return. Colleen walks in on Jack upbraiding her boyfriend for being a Communist and informs him that she is well aware of the fact that Paul is married and doesn’t care.

“It’s Florida, Jack. It’s like it never stopped being the 70’s down there. And a man who can drive at night? You just don’t say no to that.”

Considering the fact that my baseball grandma is not allowed to drive at night, I found that line exceptionally funny. That’s what I want when I’m old. A man who can drive at night. That’s the good life. I’m totally with Colleen on that one. Furthermore, she has completely forgotten about the final time her husband walked out on her because he had left so many times before then. Their tradition was always more for Jack’s sake then her own. Nonetheless, she realizes in this moment how much Jack loves her and declares him a good son, so they head off for their commemorative Jimmy Donaghey dinner together, minus Paul.

I actually liked Elaine Stritch’s performance in this episode so much that I think she deserves an Emmy nod for it. She delivered every single on of her lines with the appropriate blend of caustic comic wit and human tenderness. Colleen is what she is, and her son may have accidentally-on-purpose tried to kill her once, but there’s a real, strange love between Jack and his mama. And Stritch definitely deserves props for her part in that. She’s fucking fierce.

Ah, but, twist! It turns out that Jimmy Donaghey can’t be Jack’s father, as he was missing from 1957 to 1959, since the last time he left was after taking Colleen to see 1959’s Some Like It Hot, and Jack was conceived in 1958!

Other funny:

  • Jenna had a completely throwaway sub-subplot in which she makes a little monkey baby of the Gibbon Liz hired to fill in for Tracy at rehearsals, the best part of which is this line: “The gibbon did not attack Jenna. He was trying to have sex with her face.” – Kenneth
  • “Why? The gibbon is on time, he knows is blocking and he doesn’t try to bite the dancers!” – Pete
  • “No, he’s happy. His costume is hiding his erection.” – Jenna, in re: the gibbon
  • (Okay, so the gibbon was good for three funny lines. I must really like animals.)
  • “It’s the biggest regret of my life, Lemon. And I once made love to Kathy Hilton.” – Jack, on not delivering his confrontation speech to his dad

The Wife:


Parks and Recreation 1.2 “Canvassing”

After the supremely awkward denouement that was Leslie’s first town hall meeting at the end of this episode, I am definitely warming up to Parks & Recreation. To facilitate that meeting, Leslie et al spent the day canvassing, which my husband can tell you is basically the worst job in the world, during which time idealistic Leslie found out that not everyone likes parks. Sure, pedophiles do, especially if the park is more than the required 1000 feet from their home and extra-especially if there’s going to be a pool in which the kids can swim, but sometimes mothers of children don’t like them because they’re too noisy. And those park haters are exactly the kind of people who show up to voice their opinions at town hall meetings.

Yeah, Im pretty sure I took this internship so I wouldnt have to canvass for Peta and shit.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I took this internship so I wouldn't have to canvass for Peta and shit.

Seeing how poorly that meeting is going, Leslie starts filibustering to run down the clock and avoid a potential park-killing vote. Tactics used? Reciting the history of Pawnee, which involves a good slaughtering of white settlers by the local Native American population, planting Intern April in the audience as the voice of the local pro-park youth and, eventually, reading aloud from The Phantom Tollbooth. Let me just say this: if every episode contains a joke involving the brutal and deadly culture clashes between Native Americans and white settlers, I will be a happy camper. So far, we’ve gotten one in each episode (the score is Natives 1, Settlers 1), and I for some reason think these jokes have been the funniest out of everything. It’s really hard not to find the phrase “until he was twisted to death” funny when you’re me.

Also funny:

  • Leslie and Ann returning to Ann’s home to find her injured boyfriend Andy playing Rock Band with Mike and Intern April . . . who should have been out canvassing.
  • Intern April hiding under a tee-shirt while playing Rock Band, as if it were an invisibility cloak.
  • “I want my daughter to succeed passionately. That’s why I always encourage her to be a wife and mother.” – Leslie’s mom, who is also in local government and is way better at it than her daughter will ever be.
  • “Nikolai, do you want to swim in the dirt?” –Leslie
  • “Fillibuster! Boom!” – Leslie
  • “You know, normally I don’t agree with Leslie about anything, but this book is awesome.” – Tom, holding up The Phantom Tollbooth


30 Rock 3.18 “Jackie Jormp-Jomp”

And so Liz begins her suspension from work, and she cannot wait to get back. In fact, all she does is spend her days annoying the hell out of her building’s various Polish doorpersons by yammering on and on about TGS and the crazy times she has there . . . until she meets an out-of-work Wall Street exec who teaches her how to let go of the work-defined identity she has cultivated and fill her days with booze, facials, shopping and lunch, brunch and dinner dates. It’s basically like living in Sex and the City, and despite her attempts to resist, Liz somehow finds herself completely in love with their culture, per a brilliant sequence where she insists she’s only going to have one drink with them, and suddenly finds that she’s spent the whole day eating, drinking, relaxing and shopping, all before she’s finished telling them she won’t stay. When she completes her sensitivity training and is reinstated at work, she suddenly feels overwhelmed by the prospect of going back to a job-defined existence and quickly sexually harasses Mr. Weinerslav (“It’s pronounced weiner slave.”) in order to return to the safe comfort of her new divorcee friends.


Jack: There is no solace in their luxury, only deep despair.
Liz: How do you know so many Indigo Girls songs?


And, of course, Jack is right, because Liz’s new friends turn out to be a fight club, where one night a week they beat the shit out of each other just to feel alive. They even make Liz fight her way out:

“This is very disappointing!” – Liz

Oh my god . . . Im actually alive, right? RIGHT????

Oh my god . . . I'm actually alive, right? RIGHT????

Meanwhile, with Liz gone from TGS, Pete and Jack are trying to hold things together, especially in light of the new sexual harassment policy and Sheinhart Wig Company’s refusal to release Jenna’s Janis Joplin/Janie Jimplin/Janet Jopler biopic, now known as Sing ‘Dem Blues, White Girl: The Jackie Jormp-Jomp Story. In order to have any hope of reviving Jenna’s career, Jack makes her attend the Kids’ Choice Awards (where she must begrudgingly set aside her feud with Raven-Symoné for one day) and they learn during a hilarious In Memoriam montage that, somehow, the entertainment world thinks Jenna is dead. Jack sees this as an opportunity to revive her career and market the movie, because every studio in the country would clamor to release someone’s final film. He asks Jenna to help him fake her death by staying out of the public eye.


“Oh, I can play dead. I watched my entire church group get eaten by a bear.” – Jenna


The new sexual harassment policy insists that employees declare relationships with other employees to their superiors, so Kenneth announces to Jack his intentions to marry Daphne, one of the Tracy Jordan dancers. Only Kenneth has never talked to Daphne and he is shocked/heartbroken/terrified to see DotCom turn up at the office, hand-in-hand with Daphne to declare their relationship to Jack. (At least Kenneth got to declare that he was sexually harassed by Meredith Viera, who made him eat an unripened banana in front of her and told him that pretty boys like him don’t need to read things. Man, I love the imagined life of Meredith Viera on this show.) Taking power into his own hands, Tracy puts an end to the feud between DotCom and Kenneth (for no one shall be denied extra mustard on his watch!), he fires Daphne, and the other dancers refuse to come to work in solidarity, leading Tracy to hire a bunch of female impersonators to dance on the show that week, which will be dedicated entirely to the memory of recently deceased Jenna Moroney.

Jenna is thrilled at the prospect of a show dedicated entirely to her, and watched gleefully from the sidelines. That is, until she notices that her real birth year, not the actress year, is listed on her memorial head shot. Unable to bear the thought that people would know she’s actually forty, Jenna sneaks onstage to cover up the year with her hand while singing live, in an Easter-like resurrection miracle. “Sorry, Jack! Totally worth it!” she calls out between soulful notes from her undead vocal chords.

I was very fond of the Jenna and Liz storylines in this episode, but the Tracy-DotCom-Kenneth piece didn’t really add up to anything. But I guess that’s what happens when you put Tracy in charge of something – the pieces just don’t add up. Firing Daphne didn’t really solve anything, and led us to a sight gag that never came to fruition. We should have seen those dancers again, in full force, preferably in a highly choreographed dance number in memoriam of Jenna, but we didn’t. Alas.

“Heavy is the head that eats the crayons.” – Tracy

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