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Parks and Recreation – Recap & Review – Jerry’s Painting

photo: nbc

Parks and Recreation
Jerry’s Painting

Original Air Date: Apr 28, 2011

Valentina D. – TwoCents Reviewer

Our favourite fictional television personality, Perd Hapley, asks in this episode, “Is this art, or is this pornography?” and that question becomes the centre of this week’s outing. In a sharp take on censorship and the easily offended, Jerry’s latest painting causes quite a stir in more traditional Pawnee folks but gains a fan in Leslie for a very specific reason. Andy and April accept a new roommate who must take on the task of the newlyweds how to live like actual adults.

Sounds like a disaster? It is, but a very hilarious one at that.

The opening scene confirms that Leslie and Ben would be together already if it wasn’t for Chris’s strict “no office romances” rule. At this point we know they’ll eventually get together; right now it’s just a matter of when and I’m willing to bet we’ll be seeing this pretty soon. For now, Chris sets him up with a Cindy Miller and Ben couldn’t seem less enthused. Part of it stems from liking Leslie but being unable to do anything about it, but Ben also has bigger things on his mind. Ben’s been forced to leave the motel he’s called home for the past seven months due to bedbug infestation (“Four stars,” says nobody.”) After being scared away by the details of Tom’s lady-wooing ritual, he decides to move in with Andy and April. Their old roommate moved out a week ago and in that time, the apartment has become a squatter’s paradise or at least looks like it did. Garbage is everywhere, including on the bottom of Ben’s shoe, and their fire alarm doesn’t work; something they both realized when they tried to fry marbles.

The rest of the parks department is attending the art show opening at the community centre. After one of Ron’s classic libertarian speeches (“I believe that after this is over, they will hang in government buildings. Why the government is involved in an art show is beyond me.”),  Jerry proudly unveils his creation of a topless centaur goddess. It’s a great painting with only one problem: subconsciously, he painted the centaur in Leslie’s likeness. Leslie is horrified at first but quickly grows to see the centaur goddess as a symbol for empowered women. Tom protests loudly when he realizes the naked cupid in the painting has his face and he looks like a pregnant baby. For me, this was the real icing on the cake as Tom yelled “Baby rolls!”

The next day at city hall, Leslie fully embraces the painting and I especially liked how she went to great lengths to recreate the goddess’ hairstyle. However, in true Pawnee style, there are residents upset by the painting, calling it “an obscene depiction of bestiality” and asking for it to be destroyed. Chris tells Leslie he was once in a nude production of Cats but since this is a government building, he agrees the painting is inappropriate. I have to say, I love how even though the episode is named for Jerry, he stills gets told “This isn’t about you, Jerry.” That guy can never win.

Ben wakes up to find Andy and April sitting happily in the middle of filth, sharing a fork during breakfast. It was amusing but kind of nice to see them being so content just to sit and eat turkey chili out of Frisbees. Ben’s had enough and takes this as an opportunity to clean the place and teach Andy and April to live like adults. That means no more using bubble bath as laundry detergent and no more storing mail in the freezer. Ben expects them to use his rent money to buy stuff for the apartment at Bed, Bath and Beyond but believes “there’s a 30% chance they’ll both die.” He’s half right; Andy and April are about to buy everything on the “As Seen on TV” rack until April confesses she doesn’t want to buy apartment stuff because she’s terrified they’ll become boring adults. Andy insists on buying the “grown up” things but makes sure they bring home a sweet marshmallow gun, too.

In an attempt to sort out the art issue, Leslie makes an appearance on Perd Hapley’s talk show, who asks her “Are centaurs real? Are you absolutely sure?” To debate the issue with Leslie, he invites a porn star on to the show and some of the best quotes of the episode are born out of this segment. Leslie scores a meeting with the Public Art Commission and even after delivering a passionate speech about freedom of art, the panel decides the painting should be destroyed due to the depiction of the centaur’s nipples. Out of options, she takes the painting and runs, showing up on Andy and April’s doorstep only to be greeted by Ben. He seems super interested in the painting, which is a good sign for them especially since he admits their mutual crush to Andy the next day.

Leslie, defeated, returns the painting to city hall after Chris demands it back but something Jerry says inspires her to change her mind. Instead, she secretly commissions Jerry to do a whole new painting with Tom as the centaur so that she could keep the original. Everyone, especially Tom, is thrilled and all is well until April asks, “…Where is your penis?”

What did everyone think of this episode? What did you think of Jerry’s painting: art or pornography? Can Andy and April keep up the adult act? Will Ben and Leslie get together soon? Share your TwoCents below! You can follow me on Twitter here!

Next Week: Eagleton

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