Review: Parks and Recreation – Soda Tax

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by Gabriel Estrada (@mediiageek)

Last week’s episode, “Soda Tax,” got me thinking about how far this show has come since its first season. Parks and Rec has made the transition from a second rate show to probably one of the best comedies on television.

On the follow up to the season five premiere, Parks and Recreation checks in on Leslie Knope’s new job while Ben has intern trouble in D.C. We really haven’t seen Leslie do much as a councilwoman, so it’s good to see her in action. She is proposing a tax on soda to help get Pawnee healthy. At first, it seems like a great idea. After all, who would be against making the town healthier? A meeting with a soda lobbyist, however, reveals that if the soda tax is passed, jobs could be lost as a result. This decision causes an internal struggle within Leslie. In order to help her decide which way she should vote, Leslie holds a town hall meeting. The meeting goes predictably awry, and ends with a handful of townspeople demanding she be fired if she votes for the bill.

Unsure of what to do, Leslie goes to Ron for some reassuring words but instead receives Ron’s special brand of advice. She decides to do what she knows is right and passes the soda tax.

Picking up from the end of last season’s finale, we finally see Andy take some steps towards becoming a police officer with the help of Tom and Chris.  His attempts at fitness are great, but did we really need to see a naked Andy? We dig deeper into Chris’ sadness as he realizes it is his lack of love and family is what is missing from his life. This is a very interesting developing side-story. What will eventually happen with Chris in the end? Oh, Ann! Again, you were lost in this episode and did nothing much, though it’s always excellent to see Leslie refer to her as “beautiful.”

This episode was good but not as great as the season premiere. It was light on the laughs, and the lack of Ron, Jerry and Donna, who have become the most entertaining characters, may have been a contributing factor. Maybe it’s good that they didn’t have that much screen time, the writers probably don’t want to wear them too thin.  This isn’t the best we’ve seen from Parks and Rec, but nonetheless, it was still an enjoyable episode. I’m sure there are better things to come from season five.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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