Parks and Recreation, "Fancy Party": a why-wait wedding

Quick Take: Parks and Recreation, "Fancy Party"
"Are you Nell from the movie Nell?" - Donna


Review: Parks and Recreation, "Fancy Party"
(S0309) With all of the similarities both in tone and in the little names that appear on the screen at the end of the shows, it’s hard not occasionally compare Parks and Recreation to The Office.  At first, there were rumors that Parks was going to be a straight spin-off of The Office.  I think we can all thankfully appreciate that that was not the case because Parks has created its own charming identity. But nonetheless, the crossover elements are still there and I found myself mildly annoyed by how parallel the Andy and April (Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza) courtship mirrored the Jim and Pam relationship arc on The Office, even as I for the most part really enjoyed the writing and performances at the center.

So maybe that’s why it was kind of refreshing that the writers leapfrogged a majority of the early-relationship drama that dragged out Jim and Pam’s affair for, like, three seasons before they finally got married and just plopped April and Andy into a surprise* wedding, like, three episodes into their couplehood. 

* Well, kind of a surprise at least.  A few weeks ago, some-probably-should-have-been-fired-NBC-employee-who-actually-probably-got-promoted-to-head-of-programming-or-something-because-that’s-NBC-in-a-nutshell apparently aired one of those post-episode promo bumpers directing viewers to check out April and Andy’s wedding registry (or like a guestbook or something similar) on So, yeah, if you actually pay attention to those bumpers (and I don’t really know why you would), you weren’t quite as shocked

The wedding didn’t immediately appear to be a wedding to all of the characters though.  At first they all just assumed they were going to a dinner party thrown by two poor, lazy slackers who want to show off their love to the world. On each invitation was a request to have items be brought that included “silverware, cooked steak, and a copy of Avatar, 50 3D glasses, and a 3D-capable television.”

There wasn’t much drama to be had in the episode (not even sitcom drama) other than a brief protest by Leslie (Amy Poehler) that April and Andy were jumping into marriage to quickly, but those moments were quickly squashed by Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) who reminded Leslie that love works in mysterious, unpredictable ways. He himself was married three different times (to two different Tammys) and did so much later in life, and none of those relationships worked out (AT ALL). So who’s to say April and Andy don’t know what they’re doing.

The rest of the episode was a fun “let’s-see-what-each-character-is-up-to” extended party montage that was just fun to watch.  While April and Andy were exchanging their appropriately apathetic/goofy-optimistic vows, Tom (Aziz Ansari) tried to get credit as the Best Best Man, Ron explained the best way to burn an effigy of one’s ex, Jerry (Jim O’Heir) wore a stupid shirt, and Chris (Rob Lowe) creeped out April’s goth friend Oren by having the polar opposite personality as him.  Each of these sequences had many great comedic moments, as rushed of subplots as they were.

Speaking of rushed plots, just as Chris’ return to Pawnee as the new City Manager came as an out-of-left-field narrative device that doesn’t really make much sense to get Rob Lowe back in the day-to-day picture, Ben (Adam Scott) himself has been offered a random job (by Chris) to stay in Pawnee too. It’s a head-scratching move, but Parks and Recreation has built up enough good-will with me that I can ignore the over-convenience of it all. 

Anyway, Ben asks Leslie if he should stay or not, clearly trying to gauge how she feels about him.  And surprise sur-freaking-prise, they do secretly like each other and Ben stays. And maybe that’s why the writers rushed April and Andy’s marriage: they knew that they have a new Jim-Pam relationship on deck.

Lingering thoughts about “Fancy Party”:

  • Unceremoniously absent from the wedding were Ann and Donna, who both separately attended a Singles Night at a local bar. I really like the direction the writers are taking Ann’s character this season. Rashida Jones has played a very capable straight-person over the last two seasons so it’s nice to see her manic, insecure, comedic side as well.
  • So were a little bride and groom placed on top of Chris’ vegetable loaf?
  • Chris had some, um, interesting dance moves.
  • As my buddy Dan put it on Facebook, “Life is always better with John (sic) Ralphio”
  • By Mike Proper

    About the author

    I work hard.  And I play hard.  

    Actually, I don't work that hard.

    Also I Tweet.

    More From Mike Proper

    "The point is, no one, other than us, can ever know that this robbery went down. Nobody. Got it?" - Jesse
    Read More
    "It gets easier." - Walt
    Read More
    "We're done when I say we're done." – Walt
    Read More
    1 Comment
    On: Friday, April 15, 2011
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    Early on I thought about Parks & Rec in terms of how similar (or different) it was from The Office. And while there are obviously still many similarities in terms of style and tone, I don't relate to each other at all these days, except perhaps in terms of Parks & Rec clearly being in its prime and one of the very best comedies of this new decade, whereas The Office is at this point a lumbering warhorse trotting stolidly into the sunset. 


    Email (Will not be used):


    characters left

    Featured Articles

    Popular Today


    Recent Comments

    "Mysterion Rises" with The Cute Lord Cthulhu - South Park review
    Actually, the birthing of Kenny in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" doesn't necessarily conflict with the circumstances of Kenny's reincarnation...
    Alien Encounters, "The Message": a hard to find little show that's worth the search
    Mind Reading Technologies and Tongues Governments from around the world have been using mind reading technologies that can read...
    Dog The Bounty Hunter, "And Baby Makes Three": revisiting an old favorite
    i do like your show i wish can be your fan club i want all of your show on dvd please
    Boardwalk Empire, "Two Boats and a Lifeguard": daddy issues
    Are you looking for a partner for the relationship or for fun? Then you came to the right place. We are providing you the best dating...
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    I can verify Bear Claw. Good man. I cant vouch for the other participants. It is to bad society does suck so bad that this type...
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    Lake Michigan is not an ocean. Has anyone seen my white dog? Lost him while hiking in Arkansas
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    I too also as well live on the island, I can attest that Dan lives in the ocean as he has for hundreds of decades. We locals call...
    Parks and Recreation: why is everyone so mean to Jerry?
    It's funny because its so not funny.
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    I too live on the island and ISLANDER does not know what they are talking about. Dan lives out in the middle of the island with...
    The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
    this is not real i know that goat and it is not "doc's" its my neighbors goat. and by the way i live on the very top of that mountain...