Parks and Recreation recap: 'Save JJ's'
Pawnee gets together to save its beloved waffle joint.
One of Parks and Recreation‘s great strengths has been to revisit favorite setpieces, while still making them fresh and interesting. Take the ballad of Tammies 1 and 2, for example, or pernicious influenza epidemics. The Parks writers are skilled at taking fan favorite episodes and characters and reusing and revitalizing them, adding new dimensions and depth. This week, we get a new take on one of Parks and Rec‘s greatest gifts to humanity: Treat Yo Self day.
In honor of her upcoming wedding, Tom throws Donna a Treat Yo Self 2017 day… in Beverly Hills. DJ Blunts drives their limo off to Cali for a truly epic indulgence in things. They go shopping at Tom Ford, dodge paparazzi, drive by Usher’s house, indulge in some elbow-bedazzling (elbazzling?), and eat sushi made from fish owned by celebrities. The only damper is that Tom is clearly distracted by a clumsy interaction with Lucy that began with him asking her to Donna’s wedding and ended with her having to work Donna’s wedding.
However, Donna is divine and the friend we all wish we could have. She takes a moment in her Treat Yo Self extravaganza to treat Tom with a little bit of sage advice: Follow your heart, be a man, ask the girl out. Donna speaks in well-worn clichés, and yet her advice is always worthwhile. And you’ll still get Jaden Smith’s sweet loafers. Parks has always found gold in exploring the various friendships of its ensemble’s secondary characters, and Donna and Tom’s friendship is no different. They bond over a love for the superficial, but truly share a deep affection for each other. The only thing wrong with this plotline is that we only get a brief taste of Keegan-Michael Key as Donna’s fiance, Joe.
Upon their return to Pawnee, Tom awkwardly re-asks Lucy to Donna’s wedding, attempting to make it less weird by transferring management of Tom’s Bistro to Craig (priority number one: kill that salad). He promptly takes it back when she tells him she digs him and is ready to go to the wedding as a date.
Meanwhile, back in Pawnee, Gryzzl’s fighting a wave of bad PR with money—they upped their bid for the land and, unsurprisingly, won the bid. Dismayed, disgruntled, Leslie and her team channel their energy into a campaign they can hopefully win: saving JJ’s Diner. The beloved breakfast food emporium’s location has been purchased by Thighgap LLC, owned by Pawnee’s premier cologne kingpin, Dennis Feinstein.
A multi-prong plan is put into action. Andy infiltrates Feinstein’s headquarters and has alter-ego Jonathan Karate (Johnny’s older brother) gives Feinstein a heartfelt speech about keeping JJ’s. Leslie and Ron lead a rally to save JJ’s in front of Feinstein’s office. For half a second it looks like Feinstein will capitulate to the pressure of popular opinion. But then he wouldn’t be Dennis Feinstein, perfume magnate! Instead he mocks the crowd and releases the Hounds (an FDA-rejected scent that makes everything smell like wet dogs).
The only option for JJ’s is to relocate, and the only place they can afford in Pawnee’s booming economy is the sad, raccoon-infested corner of Pawnee known as Beachview Terrace (Medical-Waste-Buttsweat Grove to those in the know). Of course, relocating to a Dexhart-represented raccoon paradise won’t help JJ’s if no one comes to eat. The answer, of course, is to get Gryzzl to move their campus to downtown Pawnee instead of out in a big park. It all comes down to an economic decision—it’s easier to move into existing infrastructure than build everything brand new out in the woods—and bonus, it’s pre-graffitied. No need to bring in Banksy. Plus, a handy donation of land to the National Parks Service will clear up Gryzzl’s PR problems.
All is well in Pawnee, but what will come? The main conflicts of this young season have all been resolved in six episodes. Are the last seven going to feature anything of consequence, or will it just be a celebration of these characters we love?
Notes and Jokes:
I expect my friends to all make me Butler of Honor for their weddings.
Gryzzl’s plan to mete out tickets based on income and sexual history is distressing, because the latter half is information that Gchat has in spades. Google knows too much.
Kale in a milkshake. IS NOTHING SACRED? Leslie’s right to be distressed. Kale is a garbage vegetable. Come at me, hipsters.
Glad to see that, while much has changed in Pawnee in three years, the raccoon problem is still going strong. Viva Rocky!
The 4:20 alert on Santangelo’s Gryzzl-watch was brilliant.
Josh Groban eats his own formerly owned soft-shell crab. That is ice cold, Groban.
Life in 2017: Sorry Cleveland, LBJ went back to Miami. Jaden Smith starred in Hitch 2: Son of a Hitch. Christina Aguilera and Bruce Willis are together—or at least share a house.