'Parks and Recreation': Breaking up is hard to do -- ask Ann

rashida-jones-parks-rec-320.jpgThe new guys on "Parks and Recreation" seem to be headed in different directions. Ben is getting ever more comfortable in Pawnee, while Chris, sadly, appears headed back to Indianapolis.

But fear not (at least not too much): Rob Lowe isn't in next week's episode [correction: He's not in the next original episode on March 17; the show is in reruns for the next couple weeks], but he's not gone for good. "Indianapolis" ends the run of six episodes that "Parks and Rec" filmed last spring to accommodate Amy Poehler's pregnancy, and at the time, the show hadn't yet locked in Lowe as a regular. The writers have some work to do to get Chris back to Pawnee now that he and Ann have broken up -- and now that Ann actually realizes it -- but he'll be back eventually.

As for the rest of the episode, it was a pretty low-key affair, save for Ann's mini-freakout and subsequent sheepishness at not realizing she and Chris hadn't broken up ( Rashida Jones does both indignant and chagrined quite well). You had Leslie and Ron's entirely not-to-plan trip to the capital, and you had the rest of the crew hanging out at the Snakehole for the launch of Allergic by Dennis Feinstein, and there was good comedy in both.

Indianapolis

Ron and Leslie are headed to Indy to accept a commendation from the legislature for bringing back the harvest festival, which is nice and all, but Ron's really going so he can visit his favorite steakhouse, Charles Mulligan's. How much does Ron love Mulligan's? Well, he has a scrapbook of every visit he's ever made, and he won't wash his mustache for weeks after, lest he sweep away a stray fleck of meat.

Already grumpy from fasting all day, Ron is mortified when they find Mulligan's closed because of health code violations. He goes through the grieving process ("What happened to the steaks that were in there when they closed? Do you think they got eaten?"), helped not at all by Chris' offer of salad and grilled portobellos. Leslie, meanwhile, uses the detour to spy on Chris for Ann, and after finding a women's razor and pink swimming cap in the shower, she's convinced he's cheating. Or has a youthful grandmother, one of the two.

A peeved Ann charges up to confront Chris -- only to find out that the conversation they had last week was a breakup, everyone but her knew it, and they've all been wondering why she tried to kiss him afterward and why she wanted him to meet her parents. Leslie, ever the great friend, is there to comfort Ann by way of recounting some of her romantic disasters ("One time a guy broke up with me while we were in the shower together. ... Skywriting is not always positive").

Pawnee

Tom is hoping to use the launch of Dennis Feinstein's new fragrance to push his own cologne, Tommy Fresh. Except that, well, it stinks. Literally ("Teriyaki ... hairpiece?" is how Ben describes it.)

But that's less important than the ongoing development of the comedy duo of Haverford and Wyatt. Ben's understated nerdiness is a great foil for Tom's wannabe-player style, and Adam Scott and Aziz Ansari play off one another really well. The show has found something in that pairing, and I hope to see a lot more of it.

The show already knew it had something in the April-Andy pairing, and their turning Andy's poverty into a game to see who can get the most free stuff seemed like exactly the kind of thing that April wouldn't care about doing and Andy would be totally and completely into. And, in a sign that nice-guy Andy may actually be a positive influence on April, they give the tip money they scammed off patrons to the actual Snakehole employees. Because if you're working in a place called the Snakehole Lounge, you kinda deserve your tip money.

"Indianapolis" was a nice pause in the harvest festival story, which culminates next week. It's fun to hang with this crowd, so we're not at all bummed just to do that every once in a while.

Other bits from the episode:

  • So, the women's razor and swim cap in Chris' condo? The razor contours to his legs better when he shaves them for swimming, and the cap is from a breast-cancer awareness triathlon he ran: "I came in fourth."
  • The trips to Mulligan's must be doing something to keep Ron young, because he looks the same in every single photo in his scrapbook.
  • Tom, after Ben wonders if "Dennis Feinstein" is a great name to sell perfume: "His real name is Dante Fiero, but he changed it to Dennis Feinstein 'cause that's way more exotic in Pawnee."
  • Some of the other DF fragrances: Attack, Yearning, Thickening, Itch, Coma, Side Boob.
  • More Ron: Loved his clarification to the diner waiter: "I worry what you just heard was, 'Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.' What I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?"

What did you think of "Indianapolis"?
Photo/Video credit: NBC