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Womb! (There It Is): "Parks and Rec" Season 5 Finale All About Change

By Sarah Carlson | TV Reviews | May 3, 2013 | Comments ()


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The last several seconds of "Parks and Recreation's" fifth season finale "Are You Better Off?" provided a nice surprise -- there may be a baby coming to the cast, and not by the parents we expected -- but mostly, this episode and season in general was about change. It was even a little sad, seeing our heroine Leslie Knope face haters while fighting for what she believes is right. Five seasons in, life in Pawnee isn't the same as it was when the series began, and that's a good thing. "Parks" may not be quite as sharp is it was in previous seasons, notably the third, but it hasn't lost its heart and sweetness. Creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur know what works, and what works the best, and hopefully they know this world of theirs won't -- and shouldn't -- last forever. We don't need another "The Office," watching a once-great show deteriorate to the point of being unrecognizable. May the world be suddenly waffleless before we see a Leslie not trying her damnedest to better her community or waking up in the middle of the night during her Hawaiian honeymoon to watch Elizabeth Warren on "Meet the Press." We may be nearing the home stretch for one of the best comedies on TV, and it's OK. We're better off having had this show so long. Let's wrap this up with love and style. And if NBC suddenly decides to cancel after this season? Well, we riot.

We'd call on Burt Macklin to lead the way, naturally.

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He was on the case to discover which of the ladies in the Parks and Rec world are pregnant, and although all signs pointed to April, her big news was that she has been accepted to veterinary school and won't be around as much. Ann and Chris are still trying to get pregnant and apparently having a great time practicing, and Tom dodged a bullet when Mona-Lisa (eventually) confessed the positive pregnancy test, Womb! (There It Is), making the rounds wasn't hers. "Do you know how many pills I take, birth control or otherwise? There is no way that I'd be pregnant with a human baby." Jean-Ralphio was and is right -- she's the worst.

Tom will have trouble with new competition coming to town. A still-unnamed copycat wanted to buy out Rent-A-Swag but, upon Tom's refusal to sell, will now open the same type of store directly across the street. Tom best get to Ron's business advice: "I say you continue to grow, accumulate power, find this investor, buy his business to teach him a lesson." Too bad he didn't sell, though. Think of all the missed Treat Yo' Self opportunities.

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Poor Leslie has even bigger obstacles now that a group of unruly, Paunch Burger-loving Pawneeans has decided to attempt to recall her from the City Council. She still has Ben at her side, there to suggest the giant, blonde puppet perched on a float in the Founders Day Parade could easily represent model Kate Upton and not just his wife. Her short tenure in government has had its share of trials (she kept getting Jammed, after all), and now she has to remind her beloved city why they should not only care about keeping her but care about bettering themselves. It won't be easy -- "This town is going to hell in a Gucci knockoff handbag, girl!" But "Parks" needs a few more complications added to the mix. It'll probably play out just like a dance movie, and hopefully one starring Brandi Maxxxx (she had a small part in Argo) and featuring the kind of plot concocted by Patton Oswalt's Garth Blunden.

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And finally, the big reveal of the night was a present for Mr. Swanson himself: It appears his girlfriend, Diane (Lucy Lawless), may be the one who's knocked up. Seeing Ron as a new dad (in addition to his caring for Diane's girls) would be a treat, watching as he sprinkles the baby's formula with bacon bits and teaches whittling before walking ones. Maybe they will have a little Ronda, continuing the tradition of Ron being surrounded by women in life. I hope, though, it's a Ron. I imagine he'll come out with a fully-grown mustache. Better yet: twins. Hell -- triplets! The more Swansons, the merrier.

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Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Milly

    Is there a link between Suburgatory and Parks and Rec? I ask as Marcia & Marshall Langman (the woman who objects to anything that involves sex and her very camp husband) are the same couple (with a similar arrangement) in Suburgatory.

    I know there isn't a link, and Darlene Hunt's character is much different in Suburgatory, but it's just amusing to have the same two actors play as a married couple across two comedies.

  • kirbyjay

    Isn't it suppose to be a shout out to Michelle Bachman and her gay husband?

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Ugh, Diane. Does mean we're spending more time being pressed to death under the weight of her maddening dullness? 'Single mother' isn't a personality And now he's stuck with her peckerhead bitch-spawn daughters, huh? Lady, when a almost stranger and an actual stranger offer to take your kids trick-or-treating, you don't break it off with over a freaking plastic tiara. What you should do is say thank-you, have a laugh, stop taking yourself so seriously and shut up about it in perpetuity. Really, why is the notion of purity of logic so roundly dismissed? Then again, she won't even let him have friends so I don't know why everyone likes her so much when she has some seriously crackish ways about her. Those children are about as tolerable as a drawer of sootikins spoiling under the rays of the summer solstice, so if someone offers up an alternate style, you take that advice, beta.

    Now on the subject of Halloween costumes: Ron Swanson is a freaking communist! One girl had a tiara, the other did not. So clearly someone out there doesn't know how to keep her shit from getting broken which makes her a failure. So what did he do? Did he direct them to the Rand District to promote self-reliance through the study of agonizing prose? No, he went all welfare state on them making sure that everybody had the same when not everyone had earned the same thing. One person gets a handout, the other gives one out by sheer virtue of not having failed. So everyone has everything because no one can have anything? Ron, McCarthy's on the phone for you--oh, and because you asked, he said that sex with Margaret Thatcher is like banging a reindeer.

  • TheAggroCraig

    So many great things about this episode. I loved how Ann knew exactly what Andy was up to when she saw him. And everything they did was funny. "My assistant has some questions for you, partner." Any Bert Macklin time is time well spent. And Jean-Ralphio and Mona Lisa sing-talking together was nice.

    But the line that killed me, that made me pause the show until I felt I could continue watching, was Tom's "What have I done? Like, to humanity!?"

  • BeansnToast

    I was completely ready for a scenario that somehow involved Chris stealing Ann's pee, testing it and then gleefully announcing the news to the group before she even knows she's pregnant.

  • Ron has to have a little girl who turns out to be a little badass and joins the Goddesses!

  • I'm not sure if it's real world frustrations intruding in. But Ron's ridiculous hyper-libertarianism got on my nerves this season. It was cute before. But it's worn thin. More bacon-loving Ron, less paranoid/callous-Ron.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Ditto. He's become more and grating and I'm afraid that a Dwight Schrute-ing of Swanson is next up on the docket.

  • I could've sworn it was gonna be April with the baby, mostly because of that tense call at the beginning. But damn, they once more pulled the switcharoo and it's RON. And the idea of Ron with a baby fills me with so much glee that I can hardly contain myself. I love that this show is so familiar and yet still has a huge capacity to surprise me.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Yep, that was pretty great. I was watching the end credits where it showed "Lucy Lawless as Diane", and I said "Waitaminute, Lucy Lawless wasn't in this episoOOOOOH I SEE WHAT'S GOING ON..."

  • Chris' "Oh...no" reaction when he read about the pig-contest-suddenly-a-BBQ thing just killed me. Rob Lowe doesn't get nearly enough credit for his comedic timing.

    And frankly, if this coming season were to be the last, I wouldn't riot. It's been an amazing 5 years, and there's nothing better than a good show ending on a high note, we all know that. And the P&R writers have always been at their best when they didn't know if the show had another season coming or not.

  • TheAggroCraig

    "Last person to pick up 100 aluminum cans....has still accomplished a great deal!"

  • Karlew

    Rob Lowe is great in this role. His character is incredibly sweet and funny. And really cute.

  • Mrs. Julien

    It was the pregnant manatee line that killed me. The look on his face...

    We had to pause for Womb! There it is! until we stopped choking with laughter.

  • Ty

    Ten bucks says Ron's baby is a girl and that Diane just loves the name Tammy.

  • Rochelle

    Diane has met Tammy 2. She would never. But Ron's mother might insist on 'Tamara' to carry on the Swanson family tradition.

  • BAM

    Hilarious idea, too bad Diane already experienced Tammy 2 and has enough common sense to know better.

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