‘Parks and Recreation’ – ‘The Comeback Kid’: Dunking campaign on ice

Senior Television Writer
01.12.12 97 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “Parks and Recreation” coming up just as soon as we have a philosophical difference about what constitutes a law…

“The Comeback Kid” took the long way around to get to where we all knew where it was going (Ben as Leslie’s campaign manager) and was a little strained in spots (the Pistol Pete scenes never really clicked, for instance), but it had several things working strongly in its favor.

First, Chris performing a one-man intervention for Ben was a terrific B-story. We’ve seen Adam Scott do the sad clown thing very well in the past (both here and on “Party Down”), and his manic obsession with calzones and Claymation were both very funny. (“Do you think a depressed person could make this?!?!”)

Second, the slapstick once everyone got onto the ice was marvelous. I don’t know that all the farcical material worked until that point, but seeing the gang shuffling gingerly along the ice, struggling to stay on their feet, then all but shoving Leslie up onto the stage, was a great combined bit of business from the ensemble.

Third, April and Andy got a three-legged dog named Champion, which was simultaneously cute and disturbing and funny  (loved Ben’s question about how many legs he had when they found him).

And fourth, they just know the characters so well that there are always good throwaway moments for them, whether it’s Tom’s talking head about red carpets (including the red carpet insoles), Leslie struggling to breakdance in Ann’s kitchen or Ron’s condescending exchange with the cop.

That last one is the key to the show’s continued creative success, I think. Some episodes are funnier than others, some episodes have more heart than others, some introduce more memorable catchphrases than others, but the one consistent thing is just how well the writing staff understands Leslie, Ron, Ben and the rest. So long as that remains true, there’s a solid foundation every week for the specific stories and jokes that will be told.

What did everybody else think?

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