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'Parks and Rec' fan recap: Where do we go from here?

Season 7 | Episodes 5 & 6 | “GryzzlBox” and “Save JJ’s” | Aired Jan 27, 2015

You know it’s a great episode (pair of episodes) of Parks and Rec when Tom and Donna take a trip to Beverly Hills for a very special, pre-wedding Treat Yo Self, and it’s not even close to being the most memorable thing that happens. In tonight’s back-to-back episodes, “GryzzlBox” and “Save JJ’s,” every peripheral story is amazing, but appropriately overshadowed by Leslie’s crusade to get the Sweetum’s land for a National Park.

Let’s start with those side stories (defined here as anything not central to Leslie and any crusading she does over the course of the two episodes), ranked by awesomeness.

3. April tries to save new potential Parks and Recreation interns from sharing her fate.

Highlight: Craig scolding April for being ungrateful about her time in the department and, more importantly, about her time training under Leslie. He (so, so rightly) points out that even if April doesn’t want to continue working for Parks and Recreation, she has to acknowledge what the opportunity did for her. Never have I ever genuinely admired Craig as much as in this moment.

2. Andy takes a team of junior ninjas from Johnny Karate on a corporate espionage field trip.

Parks and Rec Ninja Andy

Highlight: Andy loses a little ninja and gives a speech about the importance of following the buddy system, only to realize he was said ninja’s buddy.

1. Tom and Donna fly to Los Angeles for a Beverly Hills Treat Yo Self.

Parks and Rec Tom Treat Yo Self

Highlights (yes, plural): Tom and Donna indulging in the hottest 2017 trends, like elbow bedazzling; Tom getting a laser manicure (and then lamenting that he had the idea first); Tom and Donna dining at a sushi restaurant where you can order fish that were once owned by celebrities. Oh, and I guess Donna convincing Tom to go for it (for real) with newly single Lucy.

And as great as all of those moments and scenes and subplots were, they paled in comparison to watching Leslie Knope completely Knope out and make things happen in Pawnee, like the lady boss she is. It starts with disconcerting move from Team Gryzzl. The tech powerhouse sends personalized gift baskets to the residents of Pawnee (delivered by drone), but the gifts are too personalized. Donna comes to Leslie with her complaints—Donna’s Gryzzl gifts are references to pet names that she and Joe use only via text and phone. Leslie opens her gift basket, which is full of Joe Biden swag, and Ben realizes the obvious: Gryzzl has been mining personal data from the people of Pawnee.

It’s a great opportunity to turn public favor against Gryzzl and Leslie and Ben investigate, visiting the Gryzzl campus in disguise (ridiculous disguises that are both a high and low point for the episode) and confirming their suspicions. Leslie challenges the VP of Gryzzl to a public debate on Perd Hapley’s new courtroom show, The Perdple’s Court (the definite low point of the episode—Perd is a beloved character and deserves a better sendoff). Unfortunately, Ron finds a deeply hidden clause in the Gryzzl user agreement that grants them permission to data-mine and use the information however they’d like. Ben, seeing it as another Ice Town (he signed off on the agreement, tricked into sloppy contract reading by being asked to sign on the day of Star Wars: Episode VII‘s release), is in despair.

Even though they can’t prove that Gryzzl broke the law, Leslie & Co. are winning in the court of public opinion; for once, the citizens of Pawnee are completely in her corner. The best moment of the whole Gryzzl data-mining debacle comes when Ron pledges his allegiance to the cause, showing up on Leslie and Ben’s doorstep with a dead Gryzzl drone that he destroyed when it showed up with a package for his young son—who doesn’t even have a Gryzzl device.

Unfortunately for Team Leslie, Gryzzl responds to the negative PR by increasing its bid to buy the Sweetums land to a number so ridiculous it’s accepted pretty much on the spot. Accepting defeat, Ron and Leslie go to JJ’s Diner for solace, only to find out that their breakfast-food safe haven will be forced to close its doors. It’s the impending end of the last bit of good Pawnee has to offer. Leslie and Ron team up to save JJ’s after its property is purchased by evil perfume mogul Dennis Feinstein. When all efforts to change Feinstein’s mind (including Andy’s junior ninja infiltration) predictably fail, Ron and Leslie look for a new location for JJ’s. Their search leads them to a downtrodden part of Pawnee (there are so many parts of Pawnee) where JJ’s diner would surely go under and/or be robbed and vandalized. It’s the wrong place for JJ’s unless something major were to happen to revitalize the area—something like, say, a corporate campus going in.

Leslie and Ron make a pitch to Gryzzl (putting together in five days what should have taken three months, as you do if you’re Leslie Knope): They should put their campus downtown, where all the infrastructure they need already exists, and donate the land they just paid so, so much money for to become a national park. Why? Because they need the good PR, if they’re going to do things like steal people’s personal data to sell for profit.

Gryzzl takes the bait and … well, it seems like the season’s conflicts are all solved, just six episodes in. I really expected this to be dragged out until the final hour, with Leslie’s last triumph being this national park. Now, I can’t help wonder what they’ll do to top it in the finale.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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