This season of Parks and Recreation shows troubling signs that the writers no longer believe new audiences are going to discover Leslie and her gang. With the addition of a ludicrously winnable election plot, every episode congratulates its characters for being so terribly lovable, rather than expanding many new dimensions. One character told Leslie she would prevail “because you’re Leslie Knope”–whenever character names are shorthand for virtuous qualities, we’re in the realm of fan service. (Gossip Girl went there early with the “I’m Chuck Bass” tagline, the ne plus ultra of lazy fan service.)
Still, we remain devotees of this show–the insularity works for us, since we’re on the inside–and Valentine’s Day episodes of this show have always been a high point, not least because Leslie Knope’s most intriguing trait is her obsessive weirdness in relationships. More focus on showing us her characteristics and less on telling us what they are could serve this show well–and make it one we could show to the uninitiated!
Set your DVR for NBC at 8:30pm.