Parks and Recreation, "Telethon": sweet dreams are made of this

Quick Take: Parks and Recreation, "Telethon"
"Even My Tongue Is Fat: The Story of Pawnee."

Review: Parks and Recreation, "Telethon"
(S0222) This was one amazing showcase of a half hour of comedy. Parks and Recreation is setting the bar high right now for what comedy on television can do, and even more amazing when you consider it's on a broadcast network and mines most of its situations out of regular personal and professional concerns. It's all about the basics: strong acting, strong writing, strong storytelling.

I actually want to shut up on that gushing note and just kind of point out some of the things that made "Telethon" so great:

  • "I wish he had tiny puppy shoes. I would totally shine his little shoes for free." – Andy (Chris Pratt). This was a terrific showcase for Pratt, who has gotten a lot better as he has gone along, hasn't he? His character makes more sense now, and is a little bit more reigned in. I guess I like him and find him funnier as the guy who cracks up over the super boring tax software pitchman's lame joke and boots out a loser who is bothering April (Aubrey Plaza) then the one who was semi-stalking Ann (Rashida Jones) for a bunch of episodes early on.
  • "Okay, take him out and shoot him." – Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). Offerman holds down this show with his deadpan delivery.
  • Pawnee is the fourth fattest city in America. That's a factoid for you Parks and Rec supergeeks out there.
  • "Jerry's sex night. That ruins sex and tonight!" – Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari). Ansari took a slight backseat in this episode with his adventures with former NBA star Detelf Schrempf (who did a fine job playing himself) but is arguably the show's strongest asset.
  • The plot revolving around a telethon (The Pawnee Cares telethon for diabetes research) and everyone having to stay up all night was a great vehicle for hilarity.
  • Jerry (Jim O'Heir) gets bagged on worse than ever. "Come on Jerry!" April complains. "Everyone else has one line," Jerry softly laments. He has to handle 25 lines. I love that his hidden/ignored talents are slowly being doled out, such as his remarkable classical pianist skills, which fill up the 5:56 am slot.
  • "Even My Tongue Is Fat: The Story of Pawnee."
  • Denise Yermley singing "Stweet Dreams Are Made of This" [sic]: astoundingly great stuff.
  • Donna (Retta) calls her brother in Liberia from the station to explain what happened on Lost.
  • "We may have a Schrempf problem." – Leslie (Amy Poehler)
  • Andy's band Mouse Rat ends up "headlining" the telethon with Schrempf trapped at the club with Tom. It's just fun to write Mouse Rat.
  • "Tom had two beers. Light beers." – Detlef Schrempf
  • "I suffer from a disorder called Sleep Fighting." – Ron
  • "My god, he's actually losing money." – April on Ron recaning a chair on camera
  • We actually had strong character development in the midst of all the madness: Mark (Paul Schneider) plans on proposing to Ann, which Leslie at first wildly encourages and then must frantically work to prevent when Ann reveals that she wants to break up with him. Those paying attention to news about the show kind of had a clue where this was/is heading, but it was still fun to watch it play out this way.
  • One Butt, Two Seats: The Widening of America
  • "Hey Leslie, it's Leslie. Hang in there. I love you. Bye." – Leslie leaving Leslie a phone message. Amy Poehler brilliance. (And she wrote the episode!)
  • More Leslie: Heads: 32 | Tails: 35 and recounting fave episodes of Friends to kill telethon time.
  • "By the way, I'm drunk!" – Tom Haverford to Pawnee
  • Perd Hapley of Channel 4 Eyewitness News doing The Worm to "Axel F" (from Beverly Hills Cop) is only another reason why this episode rules.
  • "What the f--- are you doing, Perd Hapley?" – Ron

    Recap: Parks and Recreation, "Telethon"
    Leslie hosts a late-night shift for a local telethon and lands former Indiana Pacer Detlef Schrempf as a celebrity guest.

    From Around the Web: Parks and Recreation, "Telethon"

  • A.V. Club: Tonight's episode, one of the greats, was pay-off for all the hard work the writers have poured into this season, with "Telethon" featuring appearances or mention of Sweetums, Pawnee Today, a callback to the tax guy, Ron Swanson's craftiness, Mouse Rat performing its hit single "Sex Hair", Jerry's wife, Jerry's sex life, Jerry himself, Detlef Schrempf, and even a call-out to the guy or gal who's been doing all this filming the entire time. 
  • TV Squad: Instead, it was Detlef Schrempf, former Indiana Pacer who really did guest star on two episodes of the German soap opera, 'Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten.' Fun fact: Tom Haverford was not making that up. Everything he said about Schrempf in the car ride was fact, word-for-word fromvhis Wikipedia page.
  • By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

    About the author

    Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at] 

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