Parks and Recreation 6.16 “New Slogan” Review: Re-branding Pawnee

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In my review of last week’s episode of Parks and Recreation, I discussed how there was a bevy of new changes for our favorite characters. Leslie was offered a new position in Chicago, Ron became a father, and Tom was looking to open a new restaurant in Pawnee. Last night’s episode, “New Slogan,” had more movement on the Leslie and Tom storylines, while sticking Ron in a hilarious subplot with Andy, who discovers that Ron’s secret identity: jazz musician and wooing of women, Duke Silver.

Parks and Recreation handled Leslie’s possible career change in “New Slogan” incredibly well and really gave an even more valid reason as to why Leslie would question the new position in Chicago: with this promotion would come more delegation and observation rather than the on-the-ground, nitty-gritty work that Leslie enjoys so much. For someone like Leslie Knope, a person who needs to be involved in every little aspect of a project (a person who also makes two binders full of questions about her new possible job), it makes sense that this switch would be jarring to her.

And that’s why I’m so happy that Parks and Recreation gave this issue the time and focus that it deserved throughout this episode. At points, it almost felt like nothing else was going on in “New Slogan,” that it was strictly about Leslie and her struggle to let go of control, but that’s how it should be. If Parks and Recreation is actually willing to commit to these changes that it’s throwing out here and deal with them in a realistic manner, they cannot simply be one episode plots that then disappear. No, they need to have a decent portion of the season dedicated to them in order for them to feel earned. Leslie choosing to go to Chicago or not go is a huge decision for her as a character, and I’m glad that even though we see her more comfortable with idea of simply delegating (except when it comes to spelling mistakes. Leslie will take care of those personally) we’re still not exactly sure where her head is at by episode’s end.

Tom is also going through a major change on Parks and Recreation but his attempts to open his own Italian restaurant, Tom’s Bistro, are not blocked by any of his own internal struggles but instead by Donna and April. This storyline seemed a little more half-baked compared to Leslie’s. I get Donna not wanting Tom to leave the Parks department and I’m glad to see April’s continued character development, but when did she possess such a strong connection to Tom? However, the actors, specifically Aubrey Plaza, sold it for me.

By the end of the episode, when Tom had found his perfect spot thanks to Donna’s real estate agent, and April was telling him how she could picture this as “the place” for him, I actually felt kind of sad. While Tom and Leslie have these amazing new opportunities in their lives, they may have to leave people behind. How would the Parks department look without one or both of them there? How would the other characters react and move on? That’s a question that Parks and Recreation may have to answer for itself by the end of this season.

Other thoughts:

Sorry this is getting posted so late. I’ve been under the weather the past couple of days, so it took me a lot longer than it usually does to write up this review. Here’s hoping it makes some sort of sense.

– The Ron/Andy B-plot of this episode was hilarious and a nice background way to remind us that the Unity Concert will most likely be this season’s big event. Plus, I can always use more Duke Silver in my life.

– Seeing the citizens of Pawnee and Eagleton agree together on the new slogan during the public forum meeting was refreshing to see and a small scene that said a lot about the positive effect Leslie has already had on the community through her efforts.

– Can Peebo the Panda be a permanent fixture on Parks and Recreation? He’s already my new favorite character.

– Would you eat at Schindler’s Lunch?

-”And a slogan is a series of words that have a meaning.” Perd Hapley is always the best.

– “I don’t know who Al Gore is and at this point, I’m too afraid to ask.”

– “Goodbye, Duke Silver. May you rest in jazz.”

– “If my secret got out, this department would be waist-deep in women’s undergarments.” God, I love you, Ron Swanson.

What did you think of last night’s episode of Parks and Recreation

[Photo via  Byron Cohen/NBC]

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