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PARKS AND RECREATION Recap: Johnny Karate Takes Over and There’s a New Mayor in Town

We may be echoing (read: stealing verbatim) the chief’s words when we say this but dangit, Burt Tyrannosaurus Macklin, you’re the best agent I’ve seen — and I’ve worked with James Bond. OK so we maybe mean it in a wider, more metaphorical sense than Chief Donna did, but still. In this, our second-to-last week of life on Earth with the beautiful perfect comedy thing that is NBC’s Parks and Recreation, we got our expectations exceeded with the finale of The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show (lord that is a mouthful).

Paying homage to all the goodness Johnny Karate has brought into the hearts and minds of his little local fans — making April Ludgate-Karate-Dwyer feel incredibly guilty for asking him to give it all up in the process — each of our favorites paid a visit to Karate HQ to bid their own farewells. There was April with the missing tarantula (somebody please fetch me that disclaimer tout de suite), Carpenter Ron and his shadowbox-making skills, Professor SmartBrain and his boring whatever-stuff, and Mailman Barry’s amazingly heartfelt letter …that he didn’t finish because he was being attacked by tiny ninjas. Oh yeah and Perd was the announcer for the whole dang thing. Isn’t life the best?

What was best about it, though, was how the episode played host to bevy of guest star returns and continued peeks at some of our favorite in-universe jokes. Like The Wamapo Casino’s commercial — “Slowly taking our money back from white people, one quarter at a time” — and the others from the likes of Paunch Burger and our future corporate mega overlords, Verexxotle (‘proud to be one of America’s 8 companies’).

We also got a visit from Lord Edgar Covington (“British Man” otherwise known as Peter Serafinowicz) in order to knight not only Andy as Honorary Karate Defender of the Queen’s Realm but — since he had the time and the Queen lets him do whatever he wants — also Ben because, I meaaaaaan c’mon AS IF Ben Wyatt would let an opportunity to be knighted and say “winter is coming” pass him by. And, from the looks of his reaction, completely transform him and bestow upon him some sort of magical powers and dark knowledge. WINTER IS COMIIIIIING!

In the end it was John Cena — really — who stole Johnny Karate’s guitar (oh yeah did we forget to mention that at the beginning? It was missing), so he got the dunk tank. Oh and we’re a little bit angry at Andy for breaking Ron’s shadowbox but all was forgiven once it was revealed that Andy’s new day planner was “found” in the cop’s pants. But the whole thing also served as not only an homage to Chris Pratt’s amazing character, but also a really nice send off FROM the show, writers, and actors TO the show itself.

The second half of the night found our crew dealing with the realities of their new lives soon-to-be: Donna and Joe are moving to Seattle, Gary is retiring, and Leslie’s promotion is official. And that’s on top of what we already knew was a-changin’. What else could happen or change? Oh just everything. Again! Gosh does life always move this fast? (It does but don’t think about it that much lest you want the spins.)

Beloved Pawnee Mayor Walter Gunderson — a.k.a. BILL FREAKIN’ MURRAY — has died so a replacement must be found. The loss of Bill Murray in the P&R universe did end up having a few wins, like Ethel Beavers’ admission that she’s been schtuppin’ the mayor this whole time. Unfortunately, his wasn’t even the most traumatic death around: Salvatore, Ron’s beloved barber of 40 years and best friend, has also passed, unbeknownst to his (we’re sure) quietest and most devoted client. So much sadness and finality, jeez! Time for something new t begin, eh?

Well, if you thought that, it’s either because a.) you’re a budding Leslie Knope to be, or b.) you already watched the episode and know what happened. Because that is what Leslie set out to do this episode, by way of planning The World’s Most Baller Engagement. Yup: Tom Haverford is officially off the market and engaged to Lucy. “Lucy: your mission, if you should choose to accept it, is to marry me” the suave video stated, but in the end all it took was a couple pancakes, a daisy, and a sweet ‘n’ corny card trick.

We also got a final hang with the Family Saperstein — Jean-Ralphio as Tom’s proposal conspirator, Mona Lisa as her money-grabbing self, and Dr. Saperstein (Henry Winkler!) as a potential interim mayor. Not that it was all that complimentary an ask, considering Bobby Newport, Joan Callamezzo, and The Douche (of Crazy Ira and The Douche, who actually had a lot of great qualifications, but, y’know, he’s The Douche, and also a douche) were all also considered.

In the end, though, the best man for the job was chosen — no! Not Ben Wyatt (c’mon he’s already running for congress I mean jeez): GARY GERGICH! Aww jeez, you guys! It was perfect! And to make it all the better: Leslie’s hard work on the engagement party worked as a perfect inauguration for our brand new mayor. May Mayor Gergich’s reign be long, glorious, completely inept, and beloved.

Best Things:
– I’m so glad Shia LaBeouf found his calling designing rings ‘n’ jeweled things.
– “You are mistaken! Remove the graphic!” – Ron Swanson hates hugs.
– “Always happy to help.” – AWW OF COURSE YOU ARE, GARY!
– Or do we have to say Mayor Gergich now?
– When Macklin says “just drain the ocean” you JUST DRAIN THE OCEAN, DAMNIT!
– “You’re my Verizon-Chipotle-Exxon.”
– “The postulence of time”..?! Andy!
– We admire Donna’s post-life plans: freeze dry your head like Ted Williams, reanimate it in the future, “slap it on a robot, keep on ballin’.”
– Pro-Tip: Buzz Aldrin is not the guy from Toy Story.
– “Everything in life is just so fun!” “This guy agrees with me!”
– Best of Leslie Knope: “Hey, it’s pizza time!”
– We fully support Ron and Typhoon’s newfound barber/client friendship over mutual hatred of things.

Worst Things:

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Giraffes Barely Sleep, and When They do, it's on Their Butts

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Schlock & Awe: Chuck Norris in INVASION U.S.A.


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  1. Marika says:

    I found myself laughing and tearing up through the episodes. I’ll be needing a box of tissues for next week!