October 16, 2009 - It's wonderful how this week's episode of Parks and Recreation could start off so hilariously prejudiced and then flip the tables around and provide a whole new level of comic bigotry. In "Sister City," Leslie (Amy Poehler) makes the mistake of thinking that the visiting Venezuelan Parks Department officials will be blown away by the luxury of Pawnee, Indiana when, in fact, they're accustomed to a life of power and splendor that puts Pawnee to shame. And not only are they used to a certain opulence, but they think any woman they see is theirs for the taking. And bedding.
It was a funny twist that didn't completely wear itself out, although it came close. The trouble with bringing in a funny guest star like Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen as the foreign Parks Director is that it runs the risk of overshadowing your series regulars. The upside of the deal is that Fred was very funny, and the people he over-shadowed were characters that aren't really a laugh-riot to being with. Ann (Rashida Jones) and Mark (Paul Schneider) were pretty much side-lined this episode, and there was no room at all for Chris Pratt's Andy (who is funny, actually). Maybe that's, in fact, how Parks has improved the most this year. They only use characters as needed and don't feel bad about shoe-horning them in when it isn't necessary. Nick Offerman's Ron didn't have much to do in this episode either, but thinking back, now I see that the times that he has been more involved in Season 2, he's been amazingly funny – which is something I couldn't say at all about his character in Season 1.
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