“Parks and Recreation: Dave Returns” – a blog recap

So things are going great between Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Adam Scott) so of course something  had to be done to throw a wrench in their relationship: so enter Dave Sanderson (Louis C.K.), Leslie’s cop ex-flame. Dave’s back in Pawnee from San Diego to join the retirement party of Pawnee police chief Trumple (Eric Pierpoint).

From the last episode, Pawnee’s resident gorgeous nurse, Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) is fending off the advances of Tom Halverford (Asiz Ansari). As some of you may remember Ann and Tom went on a date after everyone tried hooking her up with a line of inappropriate suitors. Tom, who has nursed a crush on Ann since first meeting her in the pilot, is taking the date far more seriously than Ann.

While the romantic plots dominated the episode, Leslie’s campaign provided an ace b-plot. Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) assembles the parks department to collaborate on a theme song. Unbeknownst to everyone, the recording studio they’re working in is the exact same one that Ron Swanson’s (Ken Offerman) musical alter ego Duke Silver records his albums. April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), the only coworker who knows of Duke Silver’s secret identity, goes through some hilarious lengths to hide any mention of Duke Silver.

So, back to Dave. Apparently, the minxish power of Leslie’s charm still has a hold on the upstanding cop because during dinner with Leslie and Ben, he professes his love to her. What happens next is pretty cool as Dave’s vaguely nutso approach to winning Leslie back includes handcuffing poor Ben to a urinal. I always found Louis C.K. to be a great asset to the show and was sad when his character was phased out. Don’t get me wrong, Scott’s fantastic and coming into his own as an integral part of the Parks and Recreation team, but there’s something endearinglyloopy about the single-minded Dave Sanderson. The showdown between Ben and Dave never happens – Leslie makes her love for Ben quite clear and even though he’s still pining for her, he respectfully steps aside.

While all this is happening with Leslie, Dave and Ben, back in the recording studio, Tom is becoming a major pain in the ass. Instead of behaving with discretion, he boasts of his date with Ann to the others and is deaf to her requests of restraint. I like Tom and I love Ann but I’m hoping this isn’t going to last more than a few episodes. I’m always wary when sitcom writers pair up characters – especially in the case of Ann and Tom who are so wrong for each other: Tom’s brash show of braggadocio and his unending quest to bed as many women as possible clashes sourly with Ann’s slightly-sullen uptight behavior.

These are some hilarious moments

1) Ben’s panic around police officers – he’s always been weird around cops, but in this episode this strange phobia sets up some pretty hilarious exchanges – the best one is Ben’s attempt at ingratiating himself with Trumple, and clumsily invokes 9/11 when praising the police as heroes.
2) Because Chris is good at everything, it’s great that he’s a really bad singer, and it’s even greater that he mangles the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
3) The various ways April tries to keep Duke Silver hidden from the gang – the best of the bunch is swiping a Duke Silver mug from Andy’s hand and smashing it on the floor. Her explanation: she wanted to make the atmosphere more “rock and roll.”
4) The image of sad Ben handcuffed to a urinal is pretty awesome.
5) When they first see each other Dave and Leslie share what has to be the most uncomfortable hug ever.
6) After being scolded by Ann, Tom waits out in the rain for her to run out and get him. She never does.
7) The series of terrible terms of endearment that Tom’s thought of for Ann.
8) Even though he’s shown to be a bit of a lovable loser, it’s great to see that Andy’s sincerely passionate about his music.

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Filed under Comedy, Sitcom, Television

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