Preview: Harvest Festival time for ‘Parks and Recreation’

Senior Television Writer
03.17.11 13 Comments

Tonight’s “Parks and Recreation” (airing in the show’s usual 9:30 p.m. timeslot on NBC) is an important episode in several ways.

It’s the first episode of season 3 that was actually written and produced as part of season 3, where the previous 6 episodes were all made last spring in the race to get some shows in the can before Amy Poehler had her baby. It’s also the culmination of the Harvest Festival storyline that’s been running through the season so far. (Though if you haven’t watched the show before now, it’s in no way difficult to jump into with this one; this isn’t “The Wire,” much as co-creator Mike Schur might sometimes wish it was.)

It is also a fantastic episode: hilarious and sweet and silly in all the ways that “Parks and Rec” has proved itself to be over the last year and a half. It manages to spotlight the town of Pawnee, and every regular castmember save Rob Lowe (who’s absent tonight but back next week) and demonstrate just why Pawnee, Indiana is the best, funniest place to visit each week on TV.

I’ll have a pretty long review going up tonight after it airs, but to put you in the mood, I’ve embedded the Hulu clip of tonight’s opening scene, which introduces a local Pawnee celebrity. The one piece of advice I will give is to focus as much as you can on Nick Offerman and Aziz Ansari’s reactions to this celebrity. Offerman in particular will show you a side of Ron Effing Swanson you may have never expected.

Enjoy, and see you back here tonight at 10.

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