November 20, 2009 - I'm very happy about the fact that Andy's (Chris Pratt) move into the Parks and Rec building feels totally organic. At first I thought the notion of a shoe shine boy was a bit gimmicky and un-relatable, but now he just feels like a seamless fit into the gang and adds a great sense of whimsy and childishness. Most everyone in the office is a grump, with different variations, so it was awesome to see them all get so excited about Andy's free piggyback rides. In fact, I think it's wonderful when the entire office comes together and gets behind something truly absurd – like the mural contest in last week's "The Camel." Their giddiness over Andy's silliness was great, and I think the show benefits from showing how all these bureaucrats are the same when it comes to simple pleasures.

I could literally watch Andy and April (Aubrey Plaza) for a full half-hour. Their pairing was amazing, and might I add, very naturalistic. It didn't feel like they were just two quirky characters, I felt like they were really interacting on a sweet and real level. Their "spit take" game was totally awesome and I can even relate, having once spent an entire day at Disneyland practicing the perfect "spit take" with friends. And how great is it to see April crack a smile? In fact, there were moments during the spit game where it seemed like she was literally holding back her laughs so as not to choke on the soda. I'm not sure if I'd like to see these two head into full-on "couple" status just yet. I think that it's way too much fun just seeing them hang out as friends right now.

- NBC
To the hunt!
The hunting trip part of "Hunting Trip" was pretty funny, although I'm not a huge fan of horrific personal injury as a vehicle for humor. Much in the same vein as Andy Bernard's (Ed Helms) groin pull on The Office wedding episode, I feel like these kind of accidental trauma storylines all kind of play out in the same manner - with everyone frantically bustling about to try and make things better. Ron (Nick Offerman) getting shot in the head was a huge step toward a sort of gallows humor which I'm not sure this show is quite ready for. But it was a ton of fun to watch Leslie and Ann try to make him vomit up the pills he swallowed with 20-year scotch.

I also appreciated the fact that Leslie (Amy Poehler) wasn't totally inept at hunting, which one might have assumed would be the case given her loopy character. By slowly making Leslie actually be adept and astute about certain things, Parks has really made great strides in developing her as a more identifiable, if not still surreal, sitcom lead. Watching her spew out, in jump cut form, her fake reasons for shooting Ron to the Park Ranger was great. And not just because the lines themselves were funny, but because we all knew how much crow she was eating by pretending that girls aren't good with guns: "I just wanna have babies." "This wouldn't have happened if I had a penis."

This show is great at pacing itself. Take Jerry (Jim O'Heir) for example. In this episode he was actually one of the guys. He wasn't the dumping ground for everyone's cruelty – which is a really funny character trait, but one that could also, admittedly, grow tiring. Unlike earlier in this series, I get the feeling now that everyone in the Parks office actually likes each other on a basic level. Giving them opportunities to unite (i.e. the Library, mural contest) really helps build each of them up into characters that I truly look forward to spending time with each week.

IGN's Ratings for Hunting Trip
Rating Description  
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8.5 OVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)
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