TV RECAP: ‘Parks and Recreation: Jerry’s Painting’

TV RECAP: ‘Parks and Recreation: Jerry’s Painting’

Oh, just make out already! Or go hog wild on Tom’s desk. Or have Chris or Ron or Ann Perkins or all three catch you in bed together, Leslie and Ben! You guys were doing so well avoiding the trap of lingering romance that every damn sitcom and its mongoloid step-brother trips, I hope you can chew your foot off before it’s too late.

“Jerry’s Painting” continues pushing the Leslie/Ben thing that, hopefully, will culminate in an upcoming episode where the two take a road trip to Indianapolis (I saw it on the Wikipedia), and Chris even goes so far as to set Ben up with someone who has what he deems “compatible traits,” to the natural chagrin of Leslie. But the bulk deals with the eponymous (damn, I hate that word) Jerry’s Painting—on full display at the Pawnee community art exhibit—which depicts a topless female centaur slaying a deer while a Reubenesque cherub looks on.

But, of course, it’s by Jerry, so naturally it has to have something wrong with it, which is that the centaur resembles a topless Leslie and the cherub resembles Tom (I wonder what mythical Greek creature Ron would be…Zeus?). However, while Tom is (in a cosmic sense unjustifiably) incensed, Leslie loves it and feels empowered that it’s her flailing boobies taking down a stag. What woman wouldn’t? Still, topless art is topless art, and Marcia Langman, the same Bible-beating woman who tries to find some anti-Christian message in everything objects to the implied beastiality of the painting and wants it destroyed, as does Tom, though for completely different reasons.

Leslie goes on the local-access show “Ya’ Heard? With Perd” (I’m hoping that full installments of which will become DVD staples) to defend the painting but meets with delightfully idiotic questions such as “Are centaurs real?” and “Are you absolutely sure?” in addition to comments from porn star Brandi Maxxxx (yes, four Xs, and some of whose films are, according to Perd, very good). I bring this up not because it’s especially integral to the plot, but because Parks’ lambasting of small towns is not often mentioned and appreciated by others. It takes some courage to represent the pettiness of the common man…and I like Brandi’s blouse.

Meanwhile, Ben’s looking for a new place to live thanks to the current bed-bug infestation at the motel he’s been staying at for the past seven months. Inexplicably, he decides to move in with Andy and April, whose house is in that stage of disarray that usually requires inpatient treatment. Ben takes it upon himself to teach the newly wedded couple some of the finer points of adulthood, such as buying oven mitts instead of a marshmallow launcher and not using Frisbees as plates. This doesn’t work quite as well as the A plot, but it does get some dark laughs from Andy and April’s depraved lifestyle.

Two things: 1) Whoever does the paintings for this show deserves some kind of award that carries with it the respectability of several Dalai Lamas, because not only is “Jerry’s” painting oozing with awesome, the murals at city hall are long overdue for their credit in hilariously revealing Pawnee’s sordid past, and 2) Adam Scott is getting better and better with each episode. His continuing disgust with Pawnee and its residents has yet to play itself out.

Yeah, the romance is right on the fringe of annoying, but the episode is nevertheless strong. Anything that has Ron Swanson opening a speech with, “Shut up and look at me” a topless Leslie, and ends on Leslie and Tom calling up Jerry’s wife to assure her that he’s not having an affair with either gets top marks.

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