Saturday, May 21, 2011

Parks and Recreation - "Li'l Sebastian"

Parks & Recreation: Season 3     NBC presented two back to back episodes of Parks and Recreation this Thursday to end the season. While they were presented as two parts, they were actually stand alone episodes that had little to do with each other. This review is only about the second half hour, "Li'l Sebastian." Please click here for the review on the first half, "The Bubble."

     In "Li'l Sebastian", local celebrity miniature horse Li'l Sebastian dies, and the parks department throws him a funeral. Chris (Rob Lowe), especially, is deeply moved, facing his own mortality after a bad diagnosis from the doctor. Ron (Nick Offerman) finds out about Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie (Amy Poehler), and soon, he isn't the only one. Tom (Aziz Ansari) helps organize the funeral event, and realizes his true calling may not be in government work. Tom isn't the only one who considers a career move, as Leslie is approached to run for public office. And both of Ron's ex-wives return, presumably to cause lots of trouble.

     It is hard to comprehend how Leslie can even consider running for public office considering her secret relationship with Ben, who is technically her boss, hanging over her. She obviously has no intention of ending the relationship, but in this episode alone, a couple of people find out about the pair. Leslie is many things, but discrete is not one of them. Should she make a go for an election without first ending things with Ben, she is doomed to fail.

     Ron once more shows that he cares by trying to caution Leslie about the path she is on. He wants her to have a great career, and knows her professional life would be ruined by a scandal. Government service is the most important thing to Leslie, so it shows how much she cares about Ben that she is willing to risk losing it over him. Ron is a voice of reason, taking a rare chance to get involved in one of his employee's personal lives. Given how unusual that is, Leslie should consider his advice.

     It is impossible to imagine Parks and Recreation without Tom. This leads to the conclusion that his business with Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz, Undercovers) cannot last, and something will bring Tom back to the parks department early next season. If Ansari is not returning, the series will be deeply and negatively affected. Considering no news outlet has reported Ansari quitting, it seems a highly unlikely scenario.
     Chris and Ann (Rashida Jones) are not over! That is the message being sent in "Li'l Sebastian." Faced with his mortality because of a minor ailment, unheard of for the super-healthy Chris, he realizes he wants companionship. Ann is there to comfort him, and longing glances make it obvious they both are hoping for a rekindling. They are not alone, as many fans would like to see that development, too. It is probable a Chris / Ann reunion is on the docket for this coming fall.

     There can be no better cliffhanger than the return of Ron's first ex-wife Tammy (not yet cast). Ron has been plagued by his second Tammy (Offerman's real life spouse, Megan Mullally), but seeing Tammy #2 panic and flee at the appearance of Tammy #1 sends chills down the spine. Without ever having been seen on screen, Tammy #1 is now a serious, eerie presence, and it will be hard to wait for the return of Parks and Recreation for the simple reason of anticipation of meeting her.

     Parks and Recreation has been given a fourth season and will return in the fall to NBC.

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     To purchase Parks and Recreation DVDs and streaming episodes, please click here.

Article first published as TV Review: Parks and Recreation - "Li'l Sebastian" on Blogcritics.

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