“That’s decoy gold. You think I’d leave my gold in a locked safe deep underground where anyone could find it? You don’t know me at all.” Ron Swanson

This was one of the most quotable episodes of any series over the past few years. Nearly every single line by Ron and Leslie was a joke that landed dead solid perfect. Though they haven’t become the award show darlings like Modern Family, Parks and Rec is establishing itself as the best ensemble comedy on television.

This week’s episode had two major story lines and a minor one that I can’t imagine anyone caring about. The primary plot line was the return or for the audience, the introduction of Tammy 1. Initially, I wasn’t on board with casting of Patricia Clarkson as Ron’s first ex-wife. However, I can now admit that I was wrong. I was picturing another wild ex in the mold of Tammy 2 but the older, domineering, schoolmarm is played perfectly by Clarkson.

I’m starting a campaign demanding a documentary called “The Audit of Ron Swanson.” The time they spent on Ron’s tax deductions was about 120 minutes too few. I could have spent the next 4 episodes going over Ron’s finances alone. “This can’t be right, you only spent $40 total on clothes the past 5 years?”

The transformation of Ron into a whipped, working man worked as well as anything else this week. A mustacheless Ron Swanson dropping “cool beans” and a “hump day” on his coworkers is no Ron Swanson at all. Even Jerry isn’t comfortable with a Jerry-ised Ron. A lunch with Ron and Tammy leads Leslie to her best line of the episode “You gold digger. You are literally a gold digger.” Well it’s her best sober line at least. When all else fails, Andy “I have ideas” comes up with a plan to get Ron back.

Indiana shares its southern border with Kentucky. Not only do I believe Tammy Swanson and Mags Bennett know each other but I would bet they’ve fired weapons at one another at some point. She’s going to win Ron back from Tammy the old fashion way, with a moonshine drinking contest. Yeah the moonshine Ron says they used to burn warts off the mules with. It all ends well as Ron sends his mother back to the farm and Tammy back to hell.

The only storyline that was as anticipated going in to this season as Tammy 1 was Tom and Jean-Ralphio’s company Entertainment 720. Believe me when I say that E720 lived up to the hype. From the receptionist that makes $100k, adding Roy Hibbert to their stable of NBA players that just hang out and play basketball all day, to the party button and the printing press that prints money with their faces on it E720 is the kind of awesome mess we all hoped it would be. As Ben says with the way their spending money “they should be bankrupt by the end of this sentence.”

Adam Scott plays a pitch perfect straight man amidst the absurdity that is the Pawnee municipal government. He has a tremendous ability to convey both amazement and confusion through a storm of insanity. He’s been the best addition to the cast over its four seasons and if getting Scott means having to live with Rob Lowe then I’m willing to accept those terms. As always, a little Jean-Ralphio goes a long ways and his contribution of renaming Ben, Angelo nee Jello Shot was truly a “Oh Snapple” moment. As far as the future of Entertainment 720, I don’t know how they keep that alive in any kind of believable manner. Having Tom back in the office would be a good thing and the occasional Jean-Ralphio appearance would always be welcomed.

The stuff with Anne and Chris really had no bearing on the season at all. Unless Anne or Chris are engaged with Leslie or someone else from the office they don’t have much purpose on screen. The penis texts in the premiere were funny but the writers would have been better off building off of that instead of this ill conceived diabetes PSA led by Anne. They almost have to put them back into a relationship just to make them relevant. I’m not sure how I feel about that prospect.

Parks and Recreation: Season 3 (DVD)

Starring: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman
Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Dedicated government employee Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live) and her fellow colleagues return for big laughs from the small town of Pawnee, Indiana, in the hilarious third season of Parks and Recreation. Their funny antics continue as they ramp up for their most important civic project yet: The Harvest Festival. As Leslie plans, prepares and publicizes, her co-workers take on other challenges such as a crippling flu, the statewide softball tournament and the sad demise of a local icon: a miniature house named Li’l Sebastian. Created by Greg Daniels (The Office, The Simpsons) and Michael Schur (The Office, Saturday Night Live) and featuring phenomenal guest stars, such as Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Will Forte (Saturday Night Live), Parks and Recreation is being hailed as, “The smartest comedy on TV.” (Entertainment Weekly)
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