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Parks and Recreation “The Treaty” Review

“I SUPER DID MODEL U.N.”  Ben continuing to prove how big of a nerd he is.

The model UN is a great concept for an episode. Parks & Rec always finds humor in its horribly boring bureaucratic environment. Working in the THAT specific department of THAT specific city sounds like it’s the all time worst job in government. The show had the award ceremony for Leslie’s mom, the sister city thing when Fred Armisen guest starred, the trail survey aka annual hunting trip,ect…the show does such a good job of making light of their surroundings, versus a similar show like The Office, which emphasizes how boring that environment is.

“And teach kids that not only is government good but there should be a super government? I’d rather sand down my toenails.” Ron Swanson

Is there ever going to be a joke about Ron Swanson’s burliness and extreme Libertarianism that won’t be funny? No, because they are all hilarious. This episode gave us a nice look at Ron from a different angle as he not only was going out of his way to help someone (Tom) but in a certain way Ron needs Tom. Tom is lazy but loyal and he approaches government work precisely the way Ron thinks it should be approached, with extreme minimalism. And when all else fails, you power walk Tom down and put him back where he needs to be. Ron’s need to have Tom around is oddly similar to the way they use the Tammies to break down Ron’s walls of preferred human solitude. Ultimately, it’s just another aspect to the simple complexity that is Ron Swanson.

The citizens of Pawnee are absolute freaks. The old man who was into ethnic girls is another example of their absolute freakery. Gary from Gary, Indiana tells a strong anecdote. But the apex of this episode’s freak show was Keith, the nerd that got interviewed. That kid was sketchy even for a Pawnee resident. I’m pretty sure he just wanted to work long enough to buy Modern Warfare 3.

Chris is getting a bit a annoying with this insanely anal shtick. I miss Mark Brandanowitz now more than ever. I really hope Gerry’s hot ass daughter rejects Chris to teach his ass a lesson that rest of us men are dealt regularly. What role does Chris even play since the breakup with Anne? His role is hollow and without meaning. Yes, he is their boss, but like a lot of the other parks and rec. department’s bosses, he doesn’t need to be in the show every episode, especially as forced as his inclusion always seems to be. Dating Gerry’s daughter is a desperate attempt to keep Rob Lowe relevant. Unfortunately, it’s too late.

Poor Gerry…Poor, poor Gerry. Gerry and Andy provide for unparalleled comic relief. Andy with his buffoonery and by how pathetic Gerry is. Every episode, there is a new way to dismantle Gerry as a man; there are always opportunities for Andy to show his stupidity (and his genuine caring nature and gentleness). I’ve got to say…having Chris nail Gerry’s daughter seemed a little harsh. Not only is Chris shamelessly pursuing her, but also he involves Gerry with all of the intimate and inappropriate details. As said earlier, I hope this ends badly for Chris.

I think it’s only a matter of time before Ben and Leslie bang again. Last episode Ben was very adamant in denying Leslie, and now Leslie is the one playing hard to get. At least the breakup has started to get funny when the tension between Ben and Leslie started boiling over.

Follow me on Twitter @ChivesMcgee

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Parks and Recreation “Pawnee Rangers” Review

“We have one activity planned for today. Not getting Killed.” – Ron Swanson

NBC had one hell of a Thursday night last week, as long at you turned your TV off before Whitney polluted the waters. For my money the best the three good Thursday night shows was Parks and Recreation. This shouldn’t be a surprise when the main plot line is Ron and Leslie centric. Even with the heavy focus on Ron and Leslie, I thought the strength of the episode was in making all the Parks Department members interesting and essential to the episode.

The main plot was the competing youth clubs, the Pawnee Rangers led by Ron. Ron wrote the clubs handbook which has one rule, Be A Man. The Pawnee Goddesses are led by Leslie. Ron struggles to connect with today’s youth, who inexplicably doesn’t appreciate receiving gifts like a cardboard box and the most versatile material on the planet, a canvas sheet. Even employing the help of Andy, who dubs himself Mother Nature’s brother, Brother Nature, does much to save the group.

Leslie on the other hand, is having what appears to be the greatest organized slumber party in Pawnee. Her girls have craft time, pillow fights and Korean noodles for dinner. Ann predictably sucks at all these activities but April wows the girls with the picture of a Pawnee pioneer woman getting trampled by a buffalo. Unfortunately, that is essentially all we see of April and her Pawnee Goddesses uniform.

The eventual defection of all the Pawnee Rangers over to the Pawnee Goddesses is the tipping point for Ron’s realization that he can’t relate to kids these days “when did kids get so interested in fun?” For as driven and dorky as Leslie is, there’s very few things she does without a hint of regret and stealing Ron’s joy is a big regret for her. She truly sees Ron as a great friend and mentor. Even though they see government from opposite points of view, she truly respects his devotion to his principles. With that said, she still has to award herself a patch for having the better club.

I think the only thing that was truly missing from the Rangers vs. Goddesses war was the defection of April to the Rangers. If there’s anyone who hates fun, video games and parties as much as Ron, it’s April. I think her joining Ron as a Ranger would have been the perfect capper to the camping weekend.

Back at the office, Ben is struggling with his break up with Leslie and is taking it out on the staff. Still, when Donna asks “what’s wrong with you? Did they cancel Game of Thrones?” He delivers his best and most Ben line of the episode indignantly responding “They would never cancel Game of Thrones. It’s a crossover hit. They’re telling human stories in a fantasy world.”

For Tom and Donna, today is “Treat Yo Self” day. I honestly though everyday was “Treat Yo Self” day for Tom. You’ve seen the Entertainment 720 office right? Anyway, Donna convinces Tom to bring sadsack Ben along. This leads to some of the funnier moments in the episode. Tom making himself into a velvet/cashmere candy cane. Ben’s total freak-out while getting acupuncture and of course Tom enthusiastically explaining to Ben that there are 3 Burberry’s in the Eagleton mall so “If you tell you someone you’ll meet them at Burberry, you have to tell them which one.” I’m usually not a fan of Donna but in this setting she works perfect as a catalyst for Tom’s self indulgent tendencies. The payoff of all this is the realization that Ben needs to treat himself to something that he loves. Of course, it’s a full Batman Dark Knight costume. Ben in the costume along with the sound effects it makes killed me almost as much as when Batman starts crying.

What I find interesting about “Treat Yo Self” day is the relationship between Ben and Tom. They’re really two sides of the same coin. Ben is the typical, expected version of a nerd. He’s an accountant by trade. He loves comics, sci-fi and fantasy. While Tom is the guy who tries so hard to be cool taking it to the point of being a style nerd. Tom calling Ben a nerd is always full of irony.

Anytime the writers are able to make Chris funny without being Rob Lowe annoying, it’s a win. This week was a good example of that. Chris is that boss and person that none of us want to be around, ultra positive, too touchy and a walking cliche. His over sharing of his budding relationship with Jerry’s daughter played well and kept up connected to the office in a episode that was almost entirely disconnected from the office environment. It was one of the few times we’ve gotten to see Jerry without him being the butt of everyone’s jokes. He’s not a bad guy, just an easy target.

The episode closes with a hilarious and touching offering from Leslie. Unbeknownst to Ron, she placed an ad in the paper The Swansons. It’s a new co-ed club for kids who aren’t interested in video games or any fun at all. Ron’s first question “Do you have any dietary restrictions? Correct, you do not.” Now that sounds like a club Ron can lead.



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)
List Price: $39.98 USD
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Parks and Recreation “Born and Raised” Review


I’ve spent the better part of the past ten months telling you all that Parks & Rec is the best comedy on television if not the best series overall. Now I’m not going back on that assessment but I am going to say that this week’s episode was probably my least favorite over the last two seasons.

Leslie has written a book about life in Pawnee and is using it as a publicity vehicle for her city council election. Great. The premise seems clean enough and the setup even has some nice jokes. The seven page dedication in April’s copy made me laugh as did Jerry’s “Get well soon.” From there things just stop meshing. I know in a comedy like this you have to suspend reality in order to allow the jokes room to develop. However, something about the strict, budget conscience Chris and Ben allowing the entire parks & rec staff to ditch their jobs in search of an error in Leslie’s book just didn’t sit well with me. I would have rather it happen behind their backs or as an affront to their authority.

I’m a fan of the rivalry between Joan and Leslie and Tom’s flirtations are always a highlight. In a nod to the Obama birth certificate flap from the 2008 Presidential election, it turns out Leslie wasn’t actually born in Pawnee. Now this turn is kind of clever and adds room for Leslie to express her love for the town for Pawnee. I hope that Leslie being born in Eagleton somehow leads to a return of Parker Posey’s character.

The two parts that really fell flat for me were the drunk, horny Joan scenes and Ann trying to connect with April and Ron stuff. Joan getting drunk at the restaurant and making passes at Tom just wasn’t funny. At least not until they got her back to her house and Tom started marveling at her interior design sense.

If there’s been a glaring weakness of Parks & Rec the past two seasons, it’s been the lack of place and purpose for Ann Perkins. Once again they tried to for Ann into a comedic situation by making her work with Ron and April. Her attempts to make conversation were as unfunny as they were uncomfortable. Even her story about the guy who had his hand stuck in a Pringles can didn’t register all that well.

The highlight of the episode was the return of Andy’s alter ego Bert Macklin, FBI. When Leslie’s in danger, he’s the only man for the job. His protection service was great but it was barnstorming the Eagleton records room to retrieve Leslie’s birth certificate that was pure comedy gold. My next favorite moment was Ron’s revelation that he calls people by the wrong name on purpose when they start to get a little too confident and chummy. April turning it on him summed up their relationship perfectly. It didn’t completely save Ann’s contribution to the episode but at least it brought the laughs to an otherwise dull bit.



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)
List Price: $39.98 USD
New From: $13.19 USD In Stock
Used from: $9.94 USD In Stock

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Parks and Recreation “Ron and Tammys” Review

“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)
List Price: $39.98 USD
New From: $13.19 USD In Stock
Used from: $9.94 USD In Stock

Parks and Recreation

First Annual ApeDonkey TV Awards

The Primtime Emmy Awards air this Sunday, but who cares about them? It’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for…the first annual ApeDonkey TV Awards! They will henceforth be referred to as the ADTV Awards. Myself (@bcstagg), @fidoz, @thatssotaguchi, @lancezierlein and @heydannyv all voted a few months ago on all the major categories. Mind you, our nominees were not that of the actual Emmys. These are the ADTV Awards. They are there own entities. Without further adieu…the First Annual ADTV Awards!

Best Comedy Series:
Community
*Parks and Recreation* – Winner
Louie
Modern Family
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The League

Best Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Friday Night Lights
*Game of Thrones* – Winner
Justified
Mad Men
Terriers

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi (Nucky): Boardwalk Empire
*Kyle Chandler (Eric): Friday Night Lights* – Winner
Michael C Hall (Dexter): Dexter
Jon Hamm (Don): Mad Men
Timothy Olyphant (Raylan): Justified
Holt McCallany (Patrick): Lights Out

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin (Jack): 30 Rock
Steve Carell (Michael): The Office
*Louis CK (Louis): Louie* – Winner
Charlie Day (Charlie): It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Danny McBride (Kenny): Eastbound and Down
Joel McHale (Jeff): Community

Best Actress in a Drama Series
*Connie Britton (Tami): Friday Night Lights* – Winner
Lena Heady (Cersei): Game of Thrones
Julianna Margulies (Alicia): The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss (Peggy): Mad Men
Emmy Rossum (Fiona): Shameless
Katey Sagal (Gemma): Sons of Anarchy

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Toni Collette (Tara): United States of Tara
Courtney Cox (Jules): Cougar Town
Tina Fey (Liz): 30 Rock
Lea Michelle (Rachel): Glee
Mary-Louise Parker (Nancy): Weeds
*Amy Poehler (Leslie): Parks and Recreation* – Winner

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage (Tyrion): Game of Thrones
Walton Goggins (Boyd): Justified
Delroy Lindo (Gibbons): The Chicago Code
*Michael Pitt (Jimmy): Boardwalk Empire* – Winner
Michael Raymond-James (Britt): Terriers
John Slattery (Roger): Mad Men

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Aziz Ansari (Tom): Parks and Recreation
Ty Burrel (Phil): Modern Family
Donald Glover (Troy): Community
Steve Little (Stevie): Eastbound and Down
*Nick Offerman (Ron): Parks and Recreation* – Winner
Danny Pudi (Abed): Community

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Pamela Adlon (Marcy): Californication
Julie Bowen (Claire): Modern Family
*Alison Brie (Annie): Community* – Winner
Heather Morris (Brittany): Glee
Kaitlyn Olson (Sweet Dee): It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Sofia Vergara (Gloria): Modern Family

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Khandi Alexander (Ladonna): Treme
Emilia Clarke (Danerys): Game of Thrones
Michelle Forbes (Mitch): The Killing
Christina Hendricks (Joan): Mad Men
Kelly Macdonald (Margaret): Boardwalk Empire
*Margo Martindale (Mags): Justified* – Winner

Any questions, praises or complaints please drop a comment! (And before you ask Breaking Bad did not air in the eligibility period. Next year.)

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63rd Annual Emmy Award Nominations

The nominees for this year’s Emmy’s were announced on Thursday morning, July 14th. The Emmy nominations never quite line up with crtical and public opinion, but they’re the only real major TV awards show.  We’ll just be letting you know who was nominated. Lots of analysis and predictions to follow before the actual awards on September 18th. If the name as an asterik (*) by it, that means we here at ApeDonkey had it on our Dream Emmy Ballot.

Drama Series:

Boardwalk Empire*
Dexter
Friday Night Lights*
Game of Thrones*
The Good Wife

Lead Actor in a Drama:

Steve Buscemi* – Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler* – Friday Night Lights
Jon Hamm* – Mad Men
Michael C Hall* – Dexter
Hugh Laurie – House
Timothy Olyphant* – Justified

Lead Actress in a Drama:

Kathy Bates – Harry’s Law
Mirielle Enos – The Killing
Connie Britton* – Friday Night Lights
Mariska Hargitay – Law and Order: SVU
Elisabeth Moss* – Mad Men
Julianna Marguiles* – The Good Wife

Supporting Actor Drama:

John Slattery* – Mad Men
Andre Braugher – Men of a Certain Age
Walton Goggins* – Justified
Peter Dinklage* – Game of Thrones
Josh Charles - The Good Wife
Alan Cumming - The Good Wife

Supporting Actress Drama:

Kelly Macdonald* – Boardwalk Empire
Christina Hendricks* – Mad Men
Michelle Forbes* – The Killing
Archie Panjabi – The Good Wife
Margo Martindale* – Justified
Christine Baranski – The Good Wife

Comedy Series:

Glee
Parks and Recreation*
The Office
Modern Family*
30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory

Lead Actor in a Comedy:

Matt LeBlanc – Episodes
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Steve Carell* – The Office
Johnny Galecki – The Big Bang Theory
Louis CK* – Louie
Alec Baldwin* – 30 Rock

Lead Actress in a Comedy:

Laura Linney – The Big C
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler* – Parks and Recreation
Melissa McCarthy – Mike and Molly
Martha Plimpton – Raising Hope
Tina Fey* – 30 Rock

Supporting Actor in a Comedy:

Jon Cryer – Two and a Half Men
Chris Colfer – Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family
Ed O’Neil – Modern Family
Ty Burrell* – Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family

Supporting Actress in a Comedy:

Jane Lynch – Glee
Betty White – Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen* – Modern Family
Sofia Vergara* – Modern Family
Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski – 30 Rock

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