Parks & Recreation – Campaign Shake-Up

The latest episode of Parks & Rec, “Campaign Shake-Up”, is focused on two things: Leslie’s strengthening campaign, and the fallout of her campaigning focus on the department. Chris wants to consider bringing in another member of the department to pick up for Leslie’s lessened role inside the department, which Ron is NOT interested in. Leslie is making a strong push in the race for the city council seat, causing Bobby Newport’s team to bring in a new campaign manager, Jennifer Barkley, a bigwig from Washington D.C. that has managed many major campaigns.

  • The level of news coverage for the city council chair. This is something I’ve observed and kind of laughed at for a few weeks but haven’t mentioned much. Polling? The fun part of this is the fact that they also acknowledge in the episode that local elections are almost exclusively participated in by senior citizens. Pawnee is also clearly a smaller town, so I’m expecting the final results to come out something like “126-125″ (or less), with an extensive recount when the election finally happens.
  • Jennifer Barkley being paid $250,000 to run Bobby Newport’s campaign, and her lack of caring of a single word that comes out of her mouth while pushing the campaign forward, as long as her word comes out on top. This is kind of the opposite of the silliness I mentioned above as far as the level of seriousness involved in the campaign, where you have some things people expect out of politicians (lies, saying anything to be viewed as superior, empty promises), highlighted by Jennifer not even realizing she said Bobby Newport was in Spain trying to secure a company to build a factory in Pawnee that would create jobs, and admitting she said it just to look better, because her job is to win.
  • The portrayal of Pawnee as disgusting/backwards/uneducated. It had been at least several weeks since we’d seen this. As a town, having the habit of putting their entire mouths over the spout on a water fountain, is both hilarious and gross. The Parks Department’s big project is to eliminate this problem city-wide to prove they can get by without Leslie. The ensuing water fight at the worst time (Chris and Ron checking on progress was perfect. “KAMIKAZE!”
  • April’s likely soon to be increased role in the department, and her likely to be giving orders. I’m quite excited for the Swanson/Ludgate team to whip the department into shape.
  • Honestly, unless you’re really really bummed out by politics fueled by money or germaphobia to the point that you can’t see humor in them when framed as they were, there isn’t much to dislike about this episode. Every character was utilized at or near the top of their current potential in the storyline. It was funny, nuanced, and had an excellent pace.

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