Leslie may have been promoted to the federal level, but she’s still mired in local politics. The Newport land use has to be voted on by the Pawnee City Council, which brings Knope back face to face with her previous nemesis, perpetual swing vote, and “human equivalent of gas station sushi,” Jeremy Jamm. But Jeremy is a different man. He’s sporting a luxurious mustache, polo shirts, and the Jammfro molded into an eerily familiar form. Oh, and Tammy 2 is his new girlfriend.
Anyone who watches Parks and Rec episodes on Hulu may have seen a producer’s cut of the season 5 finale wherein Ron and Diane engineered Jamm and Tammy 2 into a toxic hook-up. That side-plotline ended up on the cutting room floor then, but it has blossomed to full life now. Tammy grooved on Jamm’s karaoke “Gangster’s Paradise”; Jamm admired her biting the doorman. Ah, true love. Naturally, Jamm’s still voting to crush Leslie’s every move at his puppet-mistress’ behest.
It becomes clear that Tammy’s campaign to transform Jamm into an ersatz Swanson has made him depressed, his IBS-unfriendly diet of whiskey and steak has left him sick, and the orthodontist is just overall unstable, ripping hair from his luxurious mane. It’s so bad that Leslie is moved to call a truce in her cold Swanson war because there’s only one man who can train another in the art of Tammy-resistance.
Let the Jamm deprogramming begin! It starts with a chastity belt (unnecessary, as Jammy haven’t consummated their relationship), and desensitizing Jamm to Tammy’s perfume (“Girth”) with shock-slap aversion therapy. It leads to a crotch-blinder, Tammy roleplay—wherein Leslie employs an excellent Tammy impersonation (even if it lacks that husky frisson of sex and crazy)—and lessons in Tammy-proofing one’s home. Remember: She can survive for up to six days on rats and rainwater.
It all comes down to the final test: A confrontation with the temptress herself, at, where else? The Pawnee Library. Tammy 2 deploys all her wiles, stripping down to her birthday suit and promising carnal pleasures. Most deviously, she promises Leslie the vote she wants, in exchange for Jeremy. Here we reach the kernel at the heart of all this Jamm misery. It’s all fun and games and catchers’ masks with blinders on them, but when it comes down to it, Leslie’s a decent person. While ambitious, she’s not going to throw someone else under the bus to achieve her goals.
Of course, this seems self-evident to us. We’ve known Leslie Knope for six years! She’d never actually let someone suffer a life with Tammy to get her way. But Ron’s seeming surprise that Leslie stayed true to her moral self is itself surprising. It begs the question: What actually happened in this Morningstar debacle past? Have Leslie and Ron been so separated that he doesn’t remember her true qualities?
Elsewhere in Pawnee, in one of this episode’s subplots, Tom is experiencing one of the downsides of his immense professional success: He hasn’t been able to find true love. Coincidentally, former flame Lucy has messaged Tom on Gryzzlbook after hearing about his success. Andy has the solution: “Let’s get hammered.” This is swiftly followed by, and probably fuels, Andy’s next plan: An $830 cab ride to Chicago to find Lucy. The gents spend the afternoon with Lucy, under the pretense of Andy moving to Chicago to
be the Bulls’s head coach work for a non-profit.
Tom pretty swiftly rekindles his interest in Lucy, but quite can’t bring himself to admit it—instead he offers her a job managing his operations back in Pawnee. He’s not even fazed when she mentions she has a boyfriend. Unsurprisingly, she accepts, and final scenes see them flirting over spreadsheets. As Andy Dwyer says: “Tom and Lucy are totally going to fall in love.”
April has run into a different massive life-problem, this one professional. At a ceremony honoring Joan Callamezzo, who has turned into a brilliant, demented Oprah, April has an epiphany when Joan mentions that she has spent her life pursing what she loves. Shockingly, April isn’t sure her lifelong passion is the Parks Service. And a quick tour of her childhood dream job (mortician) leaves her even less certain of what she wants. Ben offers her a hand in figuring out what she wants to do—and also promises to keep it on the down-low (because if she found out, Leslie would go nuuuuuuts).
Notes and Jokes:
Jamm likes Porsches, spiked iced tea, and his Hooter’s platinum card. He is the Anti-Ron.
Joan’s memoir is A Game of Joans. It is her ninth. I would read all of them.
The legend of Donna Meagle grows: She once got herself banned from every riverboat in Germany.
Life in 2017: The Cubs have won a World Series!
Check out TV critic Jeff Jensen’s take on Parks and Recreation‘s return to our TV screens.