05 October 2011

What Did I Watch Today: Too Many Tammys

Now that the academic quarter has started, I'm a little behind on my television watching.

Parks and Recreation S04E02 ("Ron & Tammys") - meh

Don't let me down next week please!

Two cliffhangers from the end of the third season came to fruition in this episode -- Tammy I's return and Entertainment 7Twenty's inevitable bankruptcy -- but these plot continuations/conclusions felt ill-conceived and frankly, a let-down. Patricia Clarkson as Tammy I out-intensified everyone in the cast, which really made me unable to buy anyone's reactions to her. The characters seemed just very goofy, and acting like the writers thought "oh this would be funny" rather than scripting what felt genuine to the situation (like Ron's rapid regression to an obedient schoolboy, or that scene with Leslie drunk - the latter likely inspired by the positive response to the intoxicated scenes in "The Fight"). But though there were lines I laughed at (I'll list below), this episode largely wasn't funny - just trying too hard, and I was very disappointed that this is all we got after a summer of Tammy-anticipations. The Tammys are funny characters, but they need to be written actual material -- just the fact that there is a Megan Mullally cameo is not sufficient, and it was comedy-overhaul to include Tammy I, Tammy II, and Ron's mom all in one ep.

The Ben/Tom plot was innocuous enough, but felt like filler -- it didn't build anywhere except to reveal the company crisis we've been aware of since last season, and there were no new or surprising jokes (Detlef Schrempf's cameo this time couldn't be considered unexpected), just reiterations on "Jean-Ralphio and Tom pay a lot of money for useless stuff!!" (Also, when did Jean-Ralphio become such a silly klutz?) The Ann/Chris plot was equally purposeless: Ann forgets and then remembers why she likes Chris, and to reach this epiphany, the viewer has to be subjected to Rob Lowe literally acting like a obsessive-compulsive tweeker -- "STOP POOPING" was funny, but Chris has passed the limits of mental stability on his path to eccentricity. Ann told much of this to the camera, and there were copious other redundant explanations of what was happening in a scene (Ben summarizing his and Tom's friendship; a Leslie cutting head telling us about the Ron situation), with little actually happening outside the narration. I do like the idea of these plotlines (especially meeting Ron's mom), but there were too many, and they were all too clumsily done.

-"In terms of shirts, I can wear white..."
-"We don't have any pens because we're afraid it's gonna leak on our shirts."
-Nick Offerman looks kinda like Jon Daly without his moustache
-Who was that John the delivery guy??
-"Could we take a peek at it?"

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