Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Dave Returns" to Parks and Recreation

In this week's episode of NBC's Parks and Recreation, Leslie's (Amy Poehler) old flame, Dave (Louis C.K., Louie), comes to town. He is willing to help Leslie win an important endorsement in the police chief, but he'd also like to rekindle their romance. This doesn't sit well with Ben (Adam Scott), of course. Luckily for Ben, Leslie has no intention of going back to Dave. Also, Andy (Chris Pratt) works on Leslie's campaign song, and Tom (Aziz Ansari) tries to lock Ann (Rashida Jones) into a relationship.

Dave was a fantastic character on Parks and Recreation, and Leslie's first real love interest. It was so exciting when they got together, and depressing when Dave moved away. Plus, Louis C.K. is a great comedian, with a terrific series of his own on FX. It's exciting that he found the time to return to Parks and Recreation in "Dave Returns," given his busy schedule.

However, Leslie is with Ben now, and that relationship, having been given more attention and development, is now the priority. No one wants to see them split up, even by an old, beloved boyfriend. Dave is a great recurring character, and hopefully C.K. will find the time to do some more guest spots. Perhaps if Dave gets the Chief of Police job, it will give him an excuse. That seems unlikely, though, considering that "Dave Returns" ties everything up nicely between him and Leslie. Still, one can wish.

Andy's story is satisfying. Andy often contributes the least on group projects. He tries pretty darn hard to be valuable, but his intelligence is low, and his skills are limited. Music is his forte, and having him work on Leslie's song is a perfect use of the character. Yet, he still struggles. Which isn't unusual for a creative type. Ron (Nick Offerman) is the one who, anonymously, comes in and saves him, adding a saxophone track, without revealing that they share a love of song. It's a cool story, using characters the way that they should be used, without venturing outside of who the people in the show are at their core.

And who would have thought that perfectionist Christ (Rob Lowe) was so, so, so bad at singing? Hilarious! Rob Lowe really goes for the terribleness with gusto!

Also sticking to his defined self is Tom. Tom lets a little sincerity show last week with Ann, which sees them end up on a date together. Tom enthusiastically wants to keep acting like his over confident, somewhat jerky and creepy, self, putting the facade back up, post-date. Ann only wants to be with him if he brings the tone a little lower. She does eventually agree to a second date, but only after he wears her down.

This is a delicate balance. For Tom to be worthy of Ann, he must find his true self. Yet, the character he presents is very enjoyable for the viewing audience. And fans also want Tom to find love. So what happens is that some sort of middle ground must be struck. Tom needs to stay funny, but also not be so insane that Ann cannot be with him. These two characters work well together, but only if things are handled correctly.
Watch Parks and Recreation Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

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