Review: ‘Parks and Recreation’ – ‘Animal Control’

Senior Television Writer
04.11.13 58 Comments


A review of tonight’s “Parks and Recreation” coming up just as soon as I can hire a Mexican elf…

“Animal Control” doesn’t do anything particularly fancy or novel for “Parks and Rec.” It just does everything very well.

Take the Ron/Anny story, for instance. We’ve seen Ron Effing Swanson be memorably ill before on the show, including the episode that introduced us to that nickname and the one from this season where he and the guys got food poisoning. For that matter, Ron objecting to healthy food or intrusions into his privacy are nothing new. But the execution was splendid, whether it was Ron objecting to the quality of the wood in the tongue depressor or Nick Offerman’s perfect squirm as Ron attempted to eat the banana. And Ann made a good foil for him, as she’s done fairly often this season, and also as she tends to to do whenever any character on the show takes ill. Plus, the brusque, obnoxious doctor worked as well with Ron (whom he of course loved) as he has in the past when dealing with the likes of Andy.

The eponymous story about the sorry state of the Animal Control department, meanwhile, was also a mix of familiar elements: the stoner lunacy of Harris Wittels and Colton Dunn as the animal control doofuses, Leslie competing against Jamm and the other idiots on the city council, Jerry being insulted (and having his pay docked), April struggling between her misanthropy and the idealism Leslie has pulled out of her, etc. But again, the execution was perfect. The opening scene at Animal Control was one of the funniest teasers of the season, and the nightmare Pawnee logic of trying to replace those two idiots (whom I’m assuming will be back as needed, just like Sewage Joe) played out marvelously, and the happy ending felt like a genuinely smart solution, as well as one that should provide story fodder next season. (And, again, given the dumpster fire that the rest of NBC has become, I’d be shocked if “Parks” didn’t get another season.)

Ben, Tom and Andy trying to squeeze a charitable donation from Dennis Feinstein was probably the thinnest of the episode’s three stories, but still worked because Feinstein is one of the show’s better, weirder minor Pawneeans. (My only objection was having him in an episode with the very similar Jamm, and mainly because he’s funnier than Jamm.) I kept waiting for Andy to have another idiot savant moment where he figured out how to get this dick to do something good for other people, but the story was ultimately going for something simpler than that: sometimes a dick is just a dick, and the only thing you can do is to call him on it and run away.

What did everybody else think?

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