'Parks and Recreation' Season Premiere Review: Where's Everyone At?

By Matthew Dougherty,
Ms. Knope Goes to Washington

Did you ever think this little show would come this far? Believe it or not, Parks and Recreation started its fifth season last night. After last May’s huge shaker-upper, most of the premiere served to show us where everyone is after Leslie won the election for city council.

Ms. Knope Goes to Washington was a funny episode and did a great job showing us the new norm, but it did not really offer any direction as to where this season is heading, a small flaw for a season premiere.

First, we saw Leslie and Andy visiting their respective romances, Ben and April, at their new job in Washington D.C. It was great having Andy and April there to break some of the tension between Leslie and Ben. Leslie is not taking to her boyfriend’s new job as well as some may have thought. Washington, while exciting to her, may also be too big. Leslie loves Pawnee, and to be around elected officials who are not entirely sure of where that is kind of hurts. We did, however, get a hysterical cameo from Senator John McCain.

I was happy to see Leslie at her post back in Pawnee at the end of the night. After a great scene between her and Andy it was great to see Leslie doing what she does best: work.

Meanwhile, Ron Swanson has taken over the parks department, meaning that he has to do all of the fun things that Leslie used to do. Some of his freaking out at people seemed oddly out of character, but his interactions with Chris were great all night. This is a dynamic I want to see explored further.

The last plotline of the night was Ann and Tom faking their relationship to save Tom some money. I am glad to see the writers finally acknowledge that they just did not work together. They finished the plotline in an amusing way but I am so happy it is done with.

Ms. Knope Goes to Washington was a worthy premiere for the show. Was it the best episode ever? No, but with so many radical changes after last season it was great to just step back and see where everyone is. Next week hopefully some plot will get moving.

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