Parks and Rec is easily at its funniest when an episode is centered on the man of men, Ron Swanson. The mustachioed, woodworking, breakfast-loving character usually gets about one episode a season where he is the main focus and generally he spends these episodes battling with one of his exes (both named Tammy). Things are different in Ron Swanson’s life though. The epitome of manliness has finally found a mature, stable relationship with Diane, played by Lucy Lawless. Although Ron is growing as a person, that doesn’t matter much to the insane Tammy II (Megan Mullally), who pops up once again to try to manipulate and break the incomparable Swanson.
The episode begins with Leslie giving Ron a “Congra-merry-christmas” for earning a nomination for the Indiana Fine Woodworking Award. Usually, Ron would try to dismiss Leslie from his office, but since this is an award almost tailor made to the Swanson sensibilities, Ron is actually quite excited. “This may be the first time I actually want to attend an event,” Ron says with a little smirk, the only kind of smile we ever see under that glorious mustache of his. Leslie, of course, is just as excited for Ron and makes it clear that she will be accompanying him to the event, but Ron says this isn’t necessary, for he will be bringing his new girlfriend Diane with him to the award ceremony. Leslie won’t take no for an answer and the three leave to attend the ceremony.
Once at the event, we see Ron giddy and wide eyed like a kid in a candy store, excited by all the woodwork and famous craftsman surrounding him. The evening looks like it’s shaping up to be the time of Ron’s life before the dastardly Tammy II arrives, once again hell-bent on seducing and destroying Ron. Leslie takes it upon herself to distract and distance Tammy, assuring Diane that she will make sure that Tammy stays far away from Ron, but Diane isn’t as much concerned with Tammy, she’s more threatened by Leslie and her apparent intimate relationship with Ron. Through her prying and non-stop friendliness, Leslie has come to know Ron better than almost anyone and it makes sense that Diane would be threatened by their friendship. Diane leaves after Ron wins his award and Ron goes to track her down while Leslie is tasked with distracting Tammy, which involves dumpster fighting and wild car chases in the episode’s most side-splitting scenes. Ron catches up to Diane and he assures her that Leslie and his relationship is purely platonic and smooths over any of Diane’s doubts by revealing his deepest secret, his saxophone playing, Pawnee sexual icon alter-ego, Duke Silver.
The B-plot this week involves Tom, April, Andy and Donna planning their Jerry Dinner, a dinner that they attend every December and fund using cash attained from a box they put a dollar in every time they make fun of Jerry. On their way to dinner, Donna has a change of heart and decides they should invite Jerry. So they cruise over to Jerry’s house, only to find that he’s having an elegant Christmas Party. Ben, Chris and Ann are in attendance and the rest of the cast sits outside wondering why they weren’t invited. Turns out they were invited to the party, but just didn’t know it because of their “Jerry Filters,” filters on their email to screen out all of Jerry’s messages. They are invited inside the house and get to enjoy a fine little Gergich Christmas party.
Any episode that combines a Ron-centric story with plenty of Jerry jokes is an A-plus in our book and this episode proved to be just the holiday treat that viewers were hoping to get out of Parks and Rec.
The Best of the Rest
- Jerry’s beautiful wife is finally seen, played by Christie Brinkley
- Ben decides to catch up with Chris and realizes that therapy is really helping him function much better.
- “I’ve had a Ron Swanson Google alert for seven years and it finally paid off!” – Leslie Knope
- Tammy II offers crotch-shots galore in pure Fatal Attraction fashion.
- The fund for the Jerry dinner totals $500.
- Leslie runs to alert Ron about Tammy, but he already knows, sniffing the air and asking, “she’s here, isn’t she?”
- It is revealed this week that April is very, very weak and may possibly have an iron deficiency.
- There are wood puns galore at the Indiana Fine Woodworking Awards.