Parks and Recreation 6.15 “The Wall” Review: Ch-Ch-Changes

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“The Wall” is another strong, hilarious episode of Parks and Recreation, which finally seems to be finding its groove in season six. This has been probably been the most inconsistent of Parks and Recreation ever. There was a lack of focus in earlier this season, along with a lack of laughs as well. The Parks and Rec writes desperately missed Andy’s presence on the show, and they also skewed too much into cartoonish, caricature territory for both Councilman Jamm and Leslie herself. I’ll be honest and say that I was a little worried about a show I think is one of the top three best comedies on TV.

However, with the departure of Ann and Chris before the Olympics hiatus and now these two strong episodes following it, Parks and Recreation seems to have regained that sense of charm, sensibility, and clarity which make it such a darn good show. As I stated last week, Leslie has a clear, focused goal in mind for the rest of the season: unite Pawnee and Eagleton together. This campaign to ensure that the citizens of both towns come to some form of an accord completely makes sense for Leslie’s character, because since she is the person who made the merger happen in the first place, she deems its success as her lasting legacy of being a councilwoman. If she can get both sides to get along, thus having the merger be a happy and successful union (which she hopes to achieve through the Unity Concert), she will, in some way, resurrect her career.

And potentially waiting for Leslie after she succeeds in her goal is a new job in Chicago, opening up a branch of the National Parks Department there. If Parks and Recreation actually sticks to its guns and eventually has Leslie take this position (which I hope it does because it makes so much sense for Leslie as a character to jump on this job opportunity), it would be a very big change for the show, one that would create an entirely new dynamic for the series. Would this be a brief stint in Chicago, like Ben and April’s work in D.C.? Would Parks and Rec split time between Chicago and Pawnee? Would people come with Leslie to Chicago to work?

That last option seems far less likely with the other changes that occur in this episode. Firstly, and most importantly, Ron and Diane have had their son: “John [Middle Name Redacted] Swanson. John was born some time ago, weighing multiple pounds and several ounces. Much like his father, he is a fan of silence.” Seeing Ron in this new rule as father was a hilarious and heartwarming direction for Parks and Recreation and Ron’s character. Despite his obvious love and compassion for his son, Ron (expectedly so) does not become a gushy, overly cuddly parent. He’s the same Ron Swanson we know and love; now he’s just a guy who wants this share all of this awesome Swanson-ness with his son, who is at only few weeks old, is already used to the sound of power tools.

Along with Ron, Tom is also setting down roots in Pawnee, but those of a different kind. After he and Ben do a great job at convincing investors to contribute to the Unity Concert, Tom lands an opportunity to pitch of one of his “brilliant ideas.” Even though he and Ben plan to propose a business that deals with being the middlemen between dry cleaners and their chemical suppliers, Tom instead delivers on an idea that he’s more passionate about: opening a restaurant in Pawnee, an idea that garners great approval and financial backing from the investor he was  pitching to.

With people like Ron and Tom (and even April with the pet adoption agency) so committed to parts of their lives in Pawnee, it’s difficult to see how all these aspects of Parks and Recreation would fit into as large of a change as Leslie moving to Chicago. However, for the first time in a while, Parks and Recreation has me interested and excited enough to ask these questions and contemplate the possibilities. And until we actually get to the answers, that’s all the series needs to do. Well, that, and, hopefully, make me laugh.

Other thoughts:

– The main plot of last night’s episode focused on Leslie attempting to break down the wall between the old borders of Pawnee and Eagleton, only to cause numerous people even more harm after bees swarmed from the wall after deconstruction of it began. I thought this was another really funny way that Leslie’s good intentions again go awry, but I hope Parks and Recreation changes it up soon and doesn’t have week be the “The Failings of Leslie Knope” as she tries to forge peace between Eagleton and Pawnee. I want to see her get some victories as well every once in a while.

– I’m super excited to see more of Ron Swanson in father mode. “Goochie-goo.” “What was that?” “Uh, nothing. I was just…clearing my throat.”

– “The Kool-Aid guy makes it look so easy.” – Andy after running into the wall and failing to break through it.

– “This is like listening to a TED talk by the color beige.”

– “Grant Larson, otherwise known as Elton John.”

What did everyone else think of last night’s episode of Parks and Recreation

[Photo via Colleen Hayes/NBC]

Chris is a graduate of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where he majored in English and Film. He has been writing for TVOvermind for two years and has written about several different television shows, such as New Girl, Breaking Bad, Glee, and Homeland. Along with writing for TVOvermind, Chris also writes for two of our sister sites, Uncoached and Worthly. Contact him through Twitter (@ckinger13).
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  • Harris Thanos

    Loved it, laughed a lot and I agree Leslie deserves a win sometimes!