Parks and Recreation 6.18 Review: “Prom”

parks and rec prom

Alright so this week I’m covering Parks and Recreation for Chris while he’s off getting into shenanigans somewhere questionable.  Last night’s episode of the show focused on the future and Leslie’s attempt to mold the foundation so Pawnee can survive without her if need be. Parks and Rec has just had such an awesome run for the past 6 seasons but it is clear that the show is beginning to slow down and tie up its characters stories for the inevitable end of the show. Yet, there is plenty of P&R left before thinking about that and it’s interesting to watch Leslie groom the eclectic town youth here like in last night’s episode. All of the show’s characters have been so busy over the past couple of seasons which is just a result of them all growing up; however, “Prom,” did a great job of reminding each character that they are great at something.

The episode revolved around the Parks department organizing  and completely running the high school prom that was cut for budget reasons, but c’mon, this is Leslie Knope, she’s not going to let people miss out on prom! Tom and Ben get assigned to Co-DJ where Ben helps Tom through a crisis about getting old while Leslie meets a representative from the school chosen to pick the theme and work with the department to make sure the students have a say.  Her and Ron battle to influence the girl, Alison, on what she should do for work this summer; take a Parks department internship or work for pay.  The episode seemed to remind the characters all just how far they have all come.

The main plot of the night deals with Leslie and Ron competing as Government vs. Anti-government to sway poor Allison into choosing her summer work plans and complicating her prom night. Leslie’s role is slowly reducing her task and work amount and also diminishing her antagonists so her conflicts have shifted to being silly and less important like in this episode. It was funny to watch her jump at the opportunity to groom a younger version of herself into the Parks role but also a sad realization of how things are slowing down. It’s fun to watch her and Ron butt heads because, like last night, Ron’s actions always end with a lesson to bring Leslie back to Earth. I liked Leslie’s plot last night; it fit nicely with her other actions like trying to find a new best friend because we are slowly watching Leslie deal with change.

Over at the DJ booth, Ben pretty much helps Tom deal with his own mid-life crisis of losing his connection with the youth and being hip. Despite every song on his iPhone being a qualified banger, or having a Daft Punk helmet to DJ in, the high school kids just aren’t a fan of Tom’s music interests.  He immediately takes control of the entire DJ operation only to discover the kids aren’t having fun to his certified bangers and prefer Ben’s “classic rock,” a.k.a. Weezer and other pretty popular music. Tom worries about his inability to be cool anymore and fallout from the social loop, but holds his head high when Ben reminds him that he’s fallen out of the loop to start two businesses and actually be an adult. I love Tom, and he’s been my favorite character to really watch grow up and I hope we see him have major success with one of his ideas.

The final plot of the night was just as meaningful and featured April and Andy re-recognizing the true love and strength of their relationship. Of course April hates prom, so I loved watching Andy serenade her using the same song he did for his actual high school prom date. But Andy is a fun and nice guy, which makes him fit in well with anyone and makes April think about how different the two of them are and questions if they would have ever met had they attended high school together. It bugs her the entire night but she stays quiet until Donna reminds her to be more direct because Andy loves her more than anything else. It was nice to watch, especially when Andy makes a scene after winning prom king and uses his fake power to make Apil his prom queen. In an episode where everyone was freaking out about the uncertainties of their future, I really loved watching them re-fortify April and Andy’s bond.

Like I said, Parks and Rec is definitely in the process of slowing down and beginning to set up the future for each of the characters. This definitely takes some of the chaos out of the show because Leslie doesn’t have as many opponents or things to do but replaces it with more emotional growth that reflects just how far the show has come. Parks and Rec is still funny, it’s still really well-done, and “Prom” was a great episode to show that the show’s still got it and one of the more consistent shows on TV.

My Moments of the Night:

–  Tom’s algorithm to determine if a song is a banger was great.

–  Oren pretending to be April’s mom…

– “I only listen to CDs, that’s the way this music was meant to be listened to”

–  Greg Pikitis is back!

What did everyone think of “Prom” last night? Let me know in the comments what you did and didn’t like about the episode! 

[Photo via Colleen Hayes/NBC]

Blaise has been writing at TVOvermind for about a year now and is currently covering Man Seeking Woman and Marvel's Daredevil. He is a recent college graduate from Philadelphia that spends most of his free time diving into a wide variety of tv shows and movies while also hosting a podcast. Feel free to contact Blaise on Twitter @Blaisehopkins or check out his podcast site Awesome Mix Podcast.
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