Parks and Recreation 6.20 “One In 8,000” Review: A Pregnant Pause

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One of the things that has been incredibly successful during Parks and Recreation’s sixth season, especially since the departure of Chris and Ann, is the writers giving characters that typically don’t share screen time more opportunities to have stories together. Even though it was regulated to the C-plot of last night’s newest Parks and Recreation, “One in 8,000,” the Ron and Donna storyline was easily my favorite part of the episode because it felt new and fresh in a way that the rest of the stories didn’t. Perhaps it was simply refreshing to see Retta and Nick Offerman play off of each other for an extended period of time. However, I think it probably has more to do with the fact that Parks and Recreation is still absolutely nailing every part of Ron’s transformation from manly, mustached bachelor into manly, mustached father, and each scene that we get to see him not only play the part of a parent but actually enjoy it shows just how many more new and fun stories Parks and Rec still has left to tell.

And why this ability to still be innovative and interesting is fully apparent in Ron’s arc this season, I hope that Parks and Recreation can infuse it into the rest of its characters. With Leslie and Ben discovering that they will soon be having triplets, there is an ample amount of new territory that Parks and Rec can explore throughout season seven. However, the revelation that the two of them will be having not just one kid but three only led to more of the same things in “One In 8,000”: more of Leslie overworking, more of Ben (funnily) freaking out, and more sweet scenes of support from the parks department to end the episode.

Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Leslie and Ben’s storyline throughout the episode. Ben cursing off and saying how screwed the two of them were was pretty funny thanks to Adam Scott’s awesome delivery, and Leslie’s giddiness over the possibility of having three kids who would someday serve on the Supreme Court was ridiculously endearing in that way that only Leslie Knope can be. I guess what I’m trying to say is that while other characters appear to be changing and evolving in different ways, Leslie and Ben appear to be at a standstill, even with the impending birth of their children on the way.

With only next week’s one-hour season finale of Parks and Recreation remaining, I totally get that the news about the triplets and Leslie’s new job opportunity in Chicago are all set up for what could very well be Parks and Rec’s final season next year. However, setting things up for the future doesn’t mean you need to press the pause button for now, and I hope that in next week’s finale, Parks and Recreation can reenergize Ben and Leslie’s characters and give them something new and different to do.

For a show that will be entering into its seventh season next year (especially for a sitcom), Parks and Recreation has done incredibly well and is still one of my three favorite comedies on TV right now. But the series is starting to slightly show its age, and it needs to keep infusing its characters with new goals, challenges, and experiences to ensure that it doesn’t lose that spark that it’s had since seasons two and three. The worse thing that Parks and Recreation could do right now is be complacent, and if the show is anything like its perky, ambitious, blonde protagonist, I don’t think it will sit around much longer before doing something that will truly blow us all away again.

Other thoughts:

- I actually really enjoyed Andy’s storyline from the episode, as he did his best to keep the news about Leslie’s pregnancy a secret. My favorite part was in the opening of the episode, when he accidentally revealed that his neighbor was in Witness Protection and then immediately fainted afterwards.

- That was Keegan-Michael Key from Comedy Central’s Key and Peele as Donna’s ex-boyfriend, Joe. He was really solid in the role, and I hope we see him again.

- Ron Swanson, wearing a paper crown, playing with his daughters. Only word could describe that: perfect.

- April is catfishing Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, reaffirming again why April is awesome.

- Councilman Jamm returned last night, and now I hope he goes back into the deep dark hole that he crawled out of and never returns. He can take Craig with him.

- “Tammy 2 once seduced a coroner and had me declared legally dead so that she could get a discount on an airline ticket.” I wonder if we will see either of the Tammys before season six concludes next week.

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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  • Nick

    Keegan-Michael Key is also a recurring performer on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” now, and I’m loving it. I’m not upset about his emergence. I’m loving Parks and Rec this season, too.