Parks and Recreation: “Prom” Season 6 Episode 18 Review

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The Parks and Rec. gang attended a high school prom this week, with predictably mixed results.

The fall of Parks and Rec. has been an interesting one to watch. Much like when The Office started to fall apart, the characters are still very much intact. Yes, Ron Swanson is occasionally overblown, but the show has been very careful about not turning Andy into a complete idiot or Donna into a complete diva. There are still surprising and funny things happening on this show because the characters are still great.

It’s been the situations and overall lack of drive that has hurt this show the most. What are these people trying to achieve? This week, Leslie and Ron wanted to sway a young Pawneean to their political views, Tom wanted to seem cool to the high school kids at the prom, and April wants Andy to understand just why she doesn’t want to be there. The running theme of Parks and Rec. lately has been one fantastic story, one terrible one, and another somewhere in the middle. Prom is a perfect example of this. Let’s go from terrible to perfect.

Tom wanting to impress high schoolers was honestly a pathetic storyline. It was lazy, disregarded Tom’s growth over the past two seasons, and humorless. The trajectory was obvious that the kids would love Ben’s music over Tom’s. They had a sweet talk after all was said and done. It was one big eye roll.

Leslie and Ron’s battle for a young teen’s soul fared a bit better. With Leslie’s potential job in Chicago, I didn’t mind that she thought she may have found a successor. Leslie offers her an unpaid internship at the parks department. Ron offers her a paid job at a sawmill. They go back and forth a bunch before its gets too tiring, and eventually reconcile and decide to give the young woman a chance to choose for herself. Sweet, but typical.

Then there was the April and Andy storyline. These two occasionally have such powerful gestures of love that they often overtake Leslie and Ben as the show’s best couple. I loved April’s description of her prom. I loved how she questioned how she could hate so many of the things her husband loves. It was honest how April got upset that Andy wasn’t understanding her hatred of prom. It was sweet, without being cliche, how Andy told her they could leave. It was even sweeter that April let them stay. Andy ripping the prom queen’s tiara off and giving it to April on stage was absolutely hysterical. This was a Season 2 or 3 quality storyline for the pair, which is proof that this show can still be its old self.

With that in mind, Parks and Rec. would still have to get a lot worse to be a bad show. The Office eventually got there, but hopefully Season 7 will be the last and the show can go out in style, not past its prime. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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