'Parks and Recreation' Review: Episode 'Doppelganger'
October 11th, 2013 9:26am EDT
Even though Eagleton is done (or Dunn) I can’t help but still hate it. One of the best parts of Pawnee is that although the residents are crude, dumb, and unwilling to change, they’re part of the background. The band of merry idiots show up for town meetings and ignorant protests, then disappear while Leslie and her coworkers deal with the fallout. Although the characters are cartoonish and difficult to take, their brief presence makes them funny rather than an obnoxious burden on the show.
However, now that Pawnee and Eagleton have merged, so have their governments. And with their governments come their own cartoonish counterparts. “Doppelgangers” introduces the Park’s Department employees of Eagleton and they’re each as ridiculous as every other Eagleton character that has ever existed.
Thank goodness most of the additional characters only last an episode. April’s counterpart is Tynnyfer, an airhead who changed her name to rebrand herself and only wants what others have. Donna’s doppelganger is Craig, an overdramatic, constantly yelling, hard worker. Ron Dunn, played by Sam Elliot, is Ron’s equal. Tom’s counterpart is a computer program, ERIC, because of course it is.
The problem with these over the top characters is that we know they can’t last. Just as soon as Leslie introduces their existence, she says she has to get rid of most of the department. We know her original team is safe, so it’s pointless to even bother with the rest. The outlandish personalities, like with the residents of Pawnee, are fine for a few scenes but they wear out their welcome quickly.
Although most of the characters were introduced solely to annoy the original team, I thought it was handled very well. April lures Tynnyfer into a false sense of security by imitating her whole persona, before kindly telling her that Pawnee is hell to work in. Tom makes Leslie believe that ERIC is a racist, drug addict who smashes computers at the sight of a contract. Ron despises Ron Dunn for loving the environment and being good natured, so Leslie fires him without due cause. Only Craig remains to live another episode to yell all his lines to his heart’s content.
I have a bit of a problem with the exit of Ron Dunn. It makes sense for April to trick her counterpart out of a job, but it doesn’t sit well that Leslie would outright fire a man who clearly cares about the environment and is therefore a perfect fit for the Parks Department. And then he wouldn’t be at all upset because he’s that lovely. Anyway, he was the best new one so of course he had to go.
Doppelgangers may have been the main focus of the episode, at the heart was Ann’s confession to Leslie that she was thinking of moving away to build her family out of Pawnee. Leslie, as both Ann and Pawnee’s biggest cheerleader, is understandable upset and betrayed by the announcement. She avoids Ann, begs Park’s employees to promise 50 years of loyalty, and acts a fool, as is her way. Meanwhile, Ben takes the news much better. It’s sad, but he’s happy for him nonetheless.
Leslie ends the episode finally ready to listen to what Ann has to say and admit that some change is permanent.
According to the map, Eagleton was less than half the size of Pawnee.Pawnee no longer burns widows for learning arithmetic. Good to know.April: “Attention. Eagleton is now under martial law.” Leslie: “No.”Gerry is back as the filing temp, in a plot twist nobody wanted. He has his own little subplot. He wants to be called by his real name, “Gary” but through the cruelty he’s come to expect from his coworkers ends up called Larry. Apparently this is not a temporary name change, as he puts the name on his answering machine and is called such on Leslie’s board. So, now introducing Larry to the cast of Parks and Rec.Tynnyfer : “I used to be Jennifer but I decided to rebrand myself. Oh wait, it’s Xanax o’clock.” April: “She’s the worst person I’ve ever met. I want to travel the world with her.”The Ron’s interacting: “Last name?” “Dunn.” “Is that your name or are you telling me you’re finished talking.” “Both.”Ann has waffles under the table while telling her that she might be leaving Pawnee. Also Joe Biden on a horse, shirtless. Ann knows her best friend well.Donna: “Is there some sort of medication that you need a lot of but have taken none of? Or maybe too much of today?”Ron Dunn is basically the best. He loves nature, much like regular Ron, but instead wants to conserve it. He is a vegan who loves yoga, nut milk, sandals, uncaged chickens, communal living, and Cat Stevens.Donna has a condo in Seattle and a fiancé in Denver (it won’t last.)“Shut your damn mouth.” “There’s no need to curse.” ‘There most certainly is.”Ron Dunn’s final parting words. “Giving into hate is like drinking salt water. The thirst only grows worse.” “Leslie, remove this man before I commit violence against him.” “Whatever you do, I won’t fight back.”Donna and Craig hate Mellie on Scandal. Minus a million points.
Photo Credits: NBCUniversal, Inc