Jan 15 2010 07:10 AM ET

'Parks and Recreation' recap: Will Arnett can see your insides

parks-and-rec Remember the comedic gold that was Brad Pitt on Friends in 2001’s Thanksgiving episode? Well, last night another real-life couple shared the small screen with hilarious results when Will Arnett played Leslie Knope’s blind date on Parks and Recreation.

Leslie, looking to get back into the dating world, asked Ann to set her up with a man. Despite having shared a spark with Ann’s lawyer friend Justin (guest star Justin Theroux), Leslie ends up getting paired with MRI technician Chris (Arnett). Their date was the best worst first date I’d seen on TV in a while, but more on that in a bit.

Meanwhile, Ron launched a search for an assistant to field the influx of angry citizens who were contacting him about city problems, the result of a new push to make Pawnee city officials more accessible to the public (”This is my hell,” he reflected). Tom led the search, but his interview material was better suited to be mini-game questions on a VH1 reality dating show (”I got a night club opening to go to, which tie should I wear?”). I can, however, say that if I ever have a job opening for a wingman, I’d put Tom as the helm of the hunt.

April continued her subtle schoolgirl pursuit for Andy’s affection by suggesting he start selling his CD at his shoeshine stand. This earned her brownie points with him.

Ann was not earning any points (brownie or otherwise) with Mark, who had a inkling that Ann didn’t set Leslie up with Justin because she had feelings for her longtime friend. Ann denied the charge, but Mark still felt otherwise. No matter what they do with these two, I can’t help but be bored. This show is 22 minutes long, make it count! Rant over.

Back in awkward turtle-ville, Leslie and Chris got off to a rocky start during their dinner date. The humorless Chris was disappointed to find out that Leslie was in charge of regular parks (not amusement parks). Moreover, he was shocked to find out that she’s never had an MRI before. So he did what any dedicated technician would do: He took her to get one. Leslie (God bless her can-do outlook) went along with the plan, but not without reservations (”I’m trying to think of this as an adventure, just getting right back on that horse, even if that horse is crazy and wants to peer inside my body,” she said.)

In the imaging room, the creep factor was upped to all new levels when Chris made comments about Leslie’s ”industrial-sized” baby ”oven” (”Honestly, if you wanted to, you could go triplets right off the bat, Leslie.”) and when he unsubtly hinted that their date would migrate from the MRI room to the bedroom. (Chris: ”You’re not on your period, are you?” Leslie: ”No. Does that matter?” Chris: ”Not for this.”).

In the end, Leslie got set up on a blind date with Justin, and Tom brought Ron a new assistant (a Tom clone named Jean-Ralphio), who was quickly replaced with April (who took the job to be closer to Andy on a more permanent basis).

So what say you, PopWatchers? Are you sad that Leslie and Chris have (almost definitely) had their last date? Do you want to see more Will Arnett? What about Mark and Anne? What will spice them up a little? Sound off below!

Best lines from ”The Set Up”:

”Talking about writing about what I’m doing. Now I’m singing about talking about writing about what I’m doing.” – Andy’s impromptu song

”You know I was only with Mark for one night and I was hung up on him for six years. I dated Dave for three months, so if I continue that pattern I won’t be over him for 500 years.” – Leslie

”He has the brains of George Clooney and the body of Joe Biden” – Leslie on her ideal man

”Just one rule, I don’t want to date a twin because I’ve been tricked before.” – Leslie to Ann on her dating criteria

”I’m offering you a free scan. It usually costs up to $2000. I’m kind of spoiling you here.” – Chris

”I’m back on the horse, and this horse is a lawyer so I’m looking forward to riding him.” – Leslie

Comments (1-15) of 42 Add your comment

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  • Scott

    I could not get into this episode at all. I thought it was the worst one by far this year.

    • Dave

      Completely disagree. On “do not delete” status on my dvr.

  • gob

    more will arnett! and i totally agree the mark-ann relationship dragged down the episode…

    • isembard

      Yeah, that one floored me. Took a second, and then BLAM! Loved it.

  • treee

    the period line was hilariously gross!

  • Jane

    Was the Brad Pitt on Friends reference a joke? That was a terrible episode.

    • Glory

      Concur. Brad Pitt’s acting style is obviously not meant for sitcoms. There were hilarious lines in that episode but he just couldn’t pull them off.

    • Kevin

      There is no such thing as a terrible Friends Thanksgiving episode. It wasn’t the best of the Thanksgiving episodes (which were always great), but still better than most others.

    • Katja

      Also concur. Brad Pitt has done some amazing movie work, but he was TERRIBLE on Friends, and I hated how we were supposed to think that it was soooo funny just because the Brad Pitt character hated the Jennifer Aniston character, yet those two are real life lovers! It was lame.

    • Ron Swanson’s Gal

      Here’s the thing about Brad Pitt in general: he’s a terrible actor, but we forgive him all kinds of things because he is positively lovely. We should be honest with ourselves about this.

  • Lisa

    this show is the best of thurs. night. i lovelovelove it. what about the smudge on her brain. good thing he was there.

  • Luddite

    No mention of Ron’s job posting? “Job, assitant to a man. Low pay. Apply at Parks Department.”

    • Luddite

      Also no mention of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler’s previous small-screen pairing as GOB and Wife of GOB. But in answer to your question, I always want to see more Will Arnett.

      • Madd

        “I just want my wife back.”
        “Easy, Tom Jane.”

    • Arrested Development

      I LOVED that job posting! HA So many funny characters on this show (exception of Ann. what is her point on the show anyway?) This show has overtaken the office in Thursday night must see TV

  • Ambient Lite

    This was not the best episode. Not a fan of the Mark/Ann thing, so boring – then throwing this Justin in the mix was like “why is she interested in him” x 2.
    And the best line of the night is missing up there – when Will Arnett’s character asked Leslie if she was on her period, though it didn’t matter for the MRI.

  • Madd

    Loved Will Arnett! It was such a GOB moment when he tried to take out the candle and ended up burning his fingers. And I loved when she had to drive him home and he said “Can we pick up my son at his soccer game?”. Leslie and Justin are cute together, but I really hope this isn’t the last we see of Will Arnett! I honestly think it’s Anne that’s making Anne and Mark boring.

  • Rick

    Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched SNL in a long time, but I don’t get Arnett. My only point of reference is from 30 Rock, where he played a creepy character. Last night he was on Parks and Recreation, playing another creepy character. Is that just what he does? I guess he was a good option to portray a cartoon-ishly awful first date, but I clearly just don’t appreciate what he does.

    Do you think the writers intended to keep Andy around when the show first started? On paper, it seems like they just jammed his shoe shining business into the building so as to keep him in the mix. In practice, it works very well.

    In my opinion (and apparently the opinion of many others), NBC is definitely onto something with these “large ensemble cast” comedies. For me, the funniest part of the episode last night was at the very end when Ron is blatantly (and blankly) staring at Jerry through his office window, as April made the excuse that Ron wasn’t in.

    • Ambient Lite

      Yeah, I think that’s Arnett’s schtick, being the creepy guy. And I thought he delivered it beautifully last night. I really don’t know whether he can perform beyond that persona.

    • Chalmers

      Not sure if he’d be good as a recurring character, but for one-time creepy/funny, you can’t beat Arnett. His demented, insistent “Badgers” set the tone.

    • orville

      How would watching SNL help you understand Arnett? He’s never been a cast member.

      • Jen

        I was going to say the same thing. Will Arnett has never been a cast member on SNL. He was on Arrested Development. He plays a fantastic creep though and I think he’s hilarious.

      • Rick

        Sorry, I didn’t realize he wasn’t on SNL. I’m probably confusing him with someone else. Or maybe it’s his relationship with Amy P. I don’t know. Who cares?

      • Arrested Development

        Will Arnett is fantastic at being the creep. So funny, yet he can also play vulnerable if called upon to do so! and I agree, can we get rid of Ann? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Madd

      Will Arnett does usually play creepy characters, but they’re all different kinds of creepy- he’s not like his former costar Michael Cera. I like Andy a lot more now that Anne broke up with him- I’ll probably like Mark a lot better if he breaks up with Anne as well. I also loved that scene at the end- I love Jerry.

  • Mickey

    You missed easily the best line of the night – Ron to Tom after Jean Ralphio left: “I want to punch you in the face right now”.

    • ty

      Great call, that was hilarious!

    • Oh Yeah

      “Go get the opposite of him”.

  • Shane

    I just hope this show gets renewed. This ep was one of the best so far. After the period line I couldn’t stop laughing.

  • JCornell03

    Best exchange, BY FAR, was:
    Tom: “I meet a girl at a club and get her number. Two days later, what do I text her?”
    Applicant: “Uh, ‘nice meeting you?’”
    Tom: “Wrong! I wait eight weeks and then text her ‘what’s crackin?’”
    I nearly fell off the couch at that point.

  • Freaky Brows

    Was anyone else weirded out by Justin’s eyebrows? They just looked like they’d just been dyed jet black or had extra make up on them, only emphasizing the odd expressions he made with them. I don’t know the actor, so maybe that’s how they always look, but every time he was shown, I was totally distracted by them.

    • Freaky Brows

      Okay, so now that I have his name from the article, I did an image search and that’s how they always look. Terrible.

  • JoshD

    I might have been confused, but I though Jean-Ralphio was Jean-Rufio and the his name, hair, and mannerisms were supposed to be a reference to Speilberg’s Hook. Did anyone else notice that?

  • Barbara

    Having Andy’s shoe-shine at the city building is great comedy. Having Ann loitering there all the time is not. She. Doesn’t. Work. There.

    • Madd

      Rashida Jones needs to stop doing comedies. She’s just not funny. And she’s in no way as good an actress as her mother Peggy Lipton was on Twin Peaks.

      • Arrested Development

        Amen to the Amen. She’s not funny – pretty much sums it up!

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