Parks and Recreation: “Galentine’s Day” Season 6 Episode 17 Review

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Well, that was pretty quick. Just four episodes after Ann and Chris left, the former shows up for a few brief moments.

It caused Parks and Rec. to walk a thin line that a lot of shows really fail to walk. Take The Office for example. Once Michael Scott left, he was barely referred to by name the following season. It’s simply unrealistic.

It’s a struggle for a writing staff to eliminate characters that were a foundation of the series. Ann was Leslie’s best friend, and she left while pregnant. So of course Leslie is there for the birth of her child. I’m just pleased Rashida Jones is willing to stop by for things like this. Chris, on the other hand, was “in the other room”. While having Ann back leant some realism to the series that most shows lose when a major character leaves, Chris’ absence immediately took me out of it.

The build-up to Ann’s appearance was fine. Leslie tries to force a replacement with a Galentine’s Day gathering, insulting April and Donna in the process. But Ann showing up to teach Leslie she can live without her was fitting and realistic. They even threw in a Friday Night Lights argument. Touche.

Meanwhile, Ben, Tom, and Jerry try to rent tents for the Unity Concert, but come up against a businessman with a monopoly on the tent rental industry in Pawnee. One of my favorite things that the writers have done this season is make Ben and Jerry friends. While this story had its moments with that, an annoying businessman wasn’t the right vehicle and felt like treaded water. The pair’s dynamic in Anniversaries was much smoother. Plus, the tag with Ben admitting it and everyone telling him to stop was classic rag-on-Jerry.

Also, Ron used parenting skills on Andy after he loses a tooth. These are the subplots that are killing Parks and Rec. I just never thought Chris Pratt would make his way to becoming as occasionally annoying as the rest of the cast. But, that’s what happens when these network comedies run a few extra seasons than they should.

Galentine’s Day had some nice moments, including the brief return of Ann, but it was such a middle-of-the-road episode that it fits very well into the rest of Season 6. Some new dynamics are working, some characters are becoming caricatures. Typical weak season of a once great comedy type stuff. With four episodes left, I still have hope that Parks and Rec. can finish the season strong going into its seventh, and hopefully final, season. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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