Parks and Recreation 6.03 Review: “The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic”

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Parks and Recreation’s sixth season kicked off last week with the stellar hour long premiere, “London,” but this week, we’re back in Pawnee and back to some very familiar territory. It’s Pawnee vs. Eagleton again, as the two towns go up against each other in the Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic. However, even though Pawnee ends up losing the game (one of Eagleton’s “high school” players is Chris Bosh after all), it’s Eagleton that really needs help, since the town is so debt that it’s almost ready to collapse. Now it’s up to Leslie to decide how Pawnee can help its upscale, superficial neighbor, but can she bury her hatred of Eagleton in order to do so?

While the idea of Leslie hating Eagleton is definitely nothing new for Parks and Rec, I did like how “The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic” placed her (and her dislike for the town) in a new position. Leslie is still under the threat of a recall in Pawnee and knows that helping Eagleton out may not be the best decision for her as councilwoman, causing her and Ben to be at odds for a portion of the episode, even if it is for mostly comedic purposes (Leslie’s look after Kristen Bell’s Ingrid says that she needs to use Ben just for the night was hilarious).

However, by episode’s end, Leslie still comes up with a plan to provide aid to Eagleton, proposing that it and Pawnee merge together to help balance the budget, taking the tired Pawnee-Eagleton feud and giving it a new and interesting dynamic for Parks and Rec moving forward. The idea of Eagleton and Pawnee citizens coming together for more open forum meetings, yelling at Leslie over their weird or, in Eagleton’s case, pretentious problems has great comedic value, plus it opens a gateway for Parks and Rec to introduce other new characters after Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe leave at midseason.

Speaking of Rashida Jones, Ann’s main storyline in the episode consists of taking April to Bloomington for veterinarian school orientation. The trip itself doesn’t really lead to anything too different; it’s mostly just an excuse to have Aubrey Plaza be funny and have Ann start to think that she and Chris should raise their baby there instead of in Pawnee. However, I am interested in why April is so opposed to going to school, and I think there might be a bigger, deeper explanation that Parks and Rec has not provided yet.

Finally, the other main story of the night revolved the always amazing Ron Swanson and his always present fear of the government invading his privacy. After a magazine is sent to Diane’s house with Ron’s name as the recipient, Ron, assisted by Tom and Donna, does everything he can to “go off the grid.”

While it’s always hilarious to watch Ron Swanson be Ron Swanson (his reaction to Vining himself was particularly funny to watch. “The world is a nightmare!” Ron yells out when he sees it), I’m glad Parks and Rec calls Ron out on how selfish his behavior is now that he is married and has a family. Diane coming in near the end of the episode, simply telling Ron that he just has to be on their grid was a very nice way of doing this. Like animals, even Swansons must adapt, and with a wife, two kids, and another one on the way, Ron Swanson will certainly need to change some aspects of his life. Just as long as that doesn’t include stopping him from devouring of 51 eggs at JJ’s, I’m okay with a little Swanson change.

Other thoughts:

My love for Kristen Bell know no bounds, so while I was thrilled to see her in last night’s Parks and Rec, I was a little disappointed that she didn’t have that much to do in this episode.

Eagleton purchases HBO for its entire town. “You used government money for TV channel subscriptions?” “It’s not TV.”

Ron’s response to the mailman saying that he can only deliver what he’s told to was hilarious. “Passing the buck. The last refuge of the cowardly and black-heated.”

Chris loves hearing the word “Reondkulus.” Every time he hears it, he pictures a ridiculous donkey.

“And I’m better at French horn too, Eric!”

“I have a PhD from the Sorbonne.” “For what, wearing Chanel suits?” “There was a fashion component, yes.”

What did everyone else think about last night’s Parks and Recreation? How are you guys liking Parks and Rec’s sixth season so far?

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