*Review contains spoilers*
Season 4 of Parks and Recreation ended with Leslie Knope being elected as a member of the Pawnee City Council. Naturally Season 5 chronicled her first year on City Council. How was it, you ask? It was freaking amazing, duh!
Five seasons in, you really can’t expect anything more than perfection from this show. Parks and Rec even in its fifth season is still one of the smartest and sweetest comedies on TV. Its beating heart comes from a cast of wonderful characters, that are needed for this show to work. Most comedies have the one or two characters that you could do without. All the smart, funny, cheerful and grumpy people bring different levels of humor to this show. After five seasons the cast now embodies these characters so well, it’s hard imagining them in any role. Nick Offerman will always be Ron Swanson and Aubrey Plaza is April Ludgate, same applies to everyone else.
The season, this time was clearly divided into two distinct halves. The first half ended with Ben and Leslie’s wedding and the second half of the season ended with everyone that Leslie defeated during her term in office forming their own league to bring her down. This is a perfect example of Parks and Rec using all the pieces they themselves set up to further its storytelling. Dramatic shows like Justified and Breaking Bad are known for doing this, so its refreshing seeing a comedy do it and in my eyes, it makes this show even more brilliant.
The episode, “Ben and Leslie” was easily the best episode of the season. Not only did it bring together one of TV’s most perfect couple but it did it in a signature Parks and Rec way: everything being insanely cute and sweet moreover incredibly funny. But even before the wedding the season was filled with some incredibly funny and touching moments such as: Andy retired Burt Macklin, Leslie returned to Eagleton, Leslie beat Jamm, Ron revealed his Duke Silver secret to Diane, Ben got betrayed by mini calzones, and Andy drunkenly played some Mouse Rat tunes after the wedding.
Another highlight of season five, was the April and Ben in Washington story line, with Aubrey Plaza on the top of her game. Giving sarcastic remarks, bossing the workers at election office and wondering if one of the candidates was a robot in disguise. Other characters had some great moments too like Jerry’s insanely funny fart attack in the Halloween episode, Ron trying to force himself to eat banana to stay healthy, Ben and the boys getting food poisoned from the calzones, Ben’s Star Trek fan-fiction, Tom dating Mona Lisa, the Gergich breakfast song, there is just so much more that could be added to this list.
There were a few minor problems that kept it from reaching the perfection of season 4. The first one was that the latter half of the season feeling like a 0.5 version of season 5. The show was still good; churning out great episodes such as, “Animal Control” and “Article Two” but it felt like it should have belonged in the next season with the season finale feeling more like a mid-season finale. The season finale gave more cliffhangers than closure but it did set up some great material for the sixth season.
Another problem was Jamm, at least at the beginning. He just wasn’t that funny, even annoying characters such as Mona Lisa proved that they could be funny but Jamm wasn’t. Jamm is nothing but a jerk but has grown on me now. Furthermore, they toned down much of his annoying ticks and attributes as the season went on. Like the way some of the rude things he said got ignored by people around him except himself.
This season left us with Tom’s business being in jeopardy, Ron and Diane are having a baby, and Leslie is being challenged by her own hate group. This show has always been the main cast waging this ongoing battle against the crazy town that they love and it seems that the sixth season will continue that trend.
Parks and Rec is one of my favourite comedies on TV. It is a gem that more people should discover, especially given its ratings, when compared to shows like Big Bang Theory and Two and Half Men. This shows combines humor and heart in a way few comedies have, with no laugh track! The world of Parks is wonderful, combining on point pop culture references and stinging political satire all the while never failing to entertain.
Score: 9 out 10