Watching the Season 5 premiere of "Parks and Recreation" is like getting together with a bunch of old, quirky friends. At times, you are amused and fall more in love with them, while others you see in a new light, and it's not pretty! "Ms. Knope goes to Washington" was solid, sweet, and funny with only one cringe-worthy comedic mishap.
The new gig
The focus was the on-location filming in Washington, D.C., where Ben is getting acquainted with his new political gig, while his lady, recently elected Councilwoman Leslie Knope, is fighting for government funding for a lake renovation project in Pawnee.
While trying to adjust to Ben's suddenly high-power lifestyle, Leslie is awkward and insecure as she joins her sweetie at a Washington shindig -- which featured cameos from Senators John McCain, Barbara Boxer, and Olympia Snowe.
The best line of the night was when Knope commented on how all the women attending were smart, successful, pretty, and tall…"It's like C-Span and Neiman Marcus had kids or something."
Ron goes oinkin' crazy?
Meanwhile, back in good ol' Pawnee, they are having an employee appreciation picnic, which quickly turned sour when Ron decided to parade around the dinner for the evening: "Tom," an adorable, very much alive pig.
When park rangers said he would be breaking all kinds of laws if he slaughtered and served the little porker at the outdoor BBQ (not to mention elevating himself a few notches on the jackass chain), Ron backed down. That is until later in the episode, when "Tom" was baked to a golden brown and presented to the staff. This went too far and was extremely tacky, not to mention unfunny.
The good stuff
Highlights include Tom and Ann, who should really think about hitting the comedy circuit with their act! These two, who were pretending to still be romantically involved, were delightfully amusing.
Andy, played by Chris Pratt, was goofy and a lot of fun. He is peculiar and yet still lovable, especially with Poehler. He supports Leslie, and in some ways, he would make a better romantic match for her. It's enjoyable to see the world through his eyes and how he reacts like a kid most of the time, which is endearing to watch.
Amy Poehler was, and always has been, the heart of the program. Her natural gifts of dead-on timing mixed with vulnerability and warmth, plus a passion for the role, help to make "Parks and Recreation" shine.