At a time when the fear of internet hacking and privacy issues are becoming evermore prevalent, now is a better time than ever for Parks and Recreation to broach such matters. Despite it being set two years in the future, Gryzzlbox, the first part of the most recent double bill feels extremely relevant in today’s technologically dependent society.
Following a mystery visit from one of rival company Gryzzl’s drones, Leslie and Ben come to the realisation that the tech savvy business isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It appears that Gryzzl have been using their products to infiltrate the personal lives of their customers, with shocking but hilarious consequences for all those involved. This revelation is somewhat of a welcome one for the Knope-Wyatt’s, however. Not only does it give them valuable fuel to combat the multi-million dollar proposal for the now prized land, it also brings a furious Donna back into their arms (the adorable nicknames shared between herself and Joe are hilariously heart-warming) and seems to promise a well-needed collab between Leslie and Ron.
Things take a sudden turn for the worst when Ron professes that he has no interest in becoming involved in the ongoing feud between the two rivals, despite his historical hatred for anything that poses a risk to his privacy. There’s a lovely moment that sees Leslie and Ron sharing photographs of special moments in the lives of their children; it’s a clever way of illustrating just how far the characters have come in the past few years whilst ensuring that their key beliefs and values have remained in tact, despite such changes. Ben’s nerdiness once again lands him in deep trouble, and his fear of leading Pawnee into the next ‘IcetownGate’ begins to creep up on him again.
Elsewhere, April is still stuck in the ‘I’ve done nothing good with my life’ storyline that is becoming increasingly tiresome and unbelievable as the season draws on (after all, if it wasn’t for the Parks and Rec department she wouldn’t have met Andy or been introduced to Champion). Johnny Karate returns with his team of mini-ninjas, and there’s an adorable scene full of puppies that’ll have you making grabby hands at the screen like a demanding child. As with the last two episodes, the link between Gryzzlbox and Save JJ’s is strong and it is becomingly increasingly obvious that the decision to run double bills for the show’s duration was a conscious one.
In Save JJ’s, Tom takes it upon himself to give Donna the best Treat Yo Self Day in history as a pre-wedding gift, part of his role as the self-appointed ‘Butler of Honour’. Some of our favourite Parks and Recreation moments come from Treat Yo Self Day, and 2017 does not disappoint. After surprising Donna with a day trip to Beverly Hills, consisting of visits to Usher’s house and selfies with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the two total-BFFs stop off for dinner at a new sushi restaurant that serves up dishes made from fish previously owned by big-name celebs (watch out for a hilarious cameo from all round good guy Josh Groban). It is hear that we see Donna do what she does best – no, not rocking those bejazzled outfits – giving Tom’s love life a gentle nudge in the right direction. Seriously, we wish everyone had a Donna Meagle to act as our own personal cupid.
Sadly, it’s not all sushi and sunshine at Camp Leslie. Gryzzl have raised their offer to $125,000,000 and Jessica of the Newport Trust is reaping some added benefits from the deal. Of course, the gang mend their wounds in the only way they know how: waffles. But just when they thought the knife couldn’t be twisted any more, JJ reveals that his diner has been bought by none other than all round despicable human being, Dennis Feinstein. In one final act of rebellion, Leslie joins forces with Ron to protest outside Feinstein’s headquarters, but to little avail. Their only other option is to find a new campus for Gryzzl to set up shop, and April thinks she’s found the most perfectly disgusting contender for the job. Surprisingly, Roscoe falls for it, but something’s telling us that it might have been Coachella and its abundance of drugs doing the talking.
Words by Sophie Mace.