Parks and Recreation Review: The Introduction of... Tann?!?

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Just when I think I have Parks and Recreation all figured out, it throws me a curveball and I strike out again.

Yes, "Operation Ann" did the unthinkable: Ann and Tom decided to go out for drinks. Granted, no one knows what happened from there, other than Ann telling Tom he’s on thin ice. No matter where things go, at least Ann finally got to do something. She’s been flapping aimlessly around in the wind ever since Ben took over her spot in Leslie’s life.

Time for Operation Ann
And since Ron and Ann aren’t busy fixing anything, this pairing will have to do. Still, there’s potential here for an absolute bust, and while I hope that doesn’t happen, I’m not exactly going to put a lot of faith in it. Let’s be honest: Tom is still Tom. Unless we can see some real honest to God character growth and a different personality once in a while, Tom is going out on the first swing. Ann just won’t put up with it for long, and I wouldn’t blame her.

The best story by far, however, was the scavenger hunt for Ben, Ron and Andy. It’s so far out of Ron’s character for him to like something so normal and innocent. Ron’s sheer enthusiasm and giggling for the activity almost felt like Parks had decided to do their own “what if” episode like Grey’s Anatomy this week. But as time went on and Ron became even more invested in it, the more natural it felt to his character.

Chris, still in an emotional tailspin after his breakup with Milly, actually got to do something fun with that heart-breaking pain: be a DJ for Pawnee’s Valentine’s Day Dance. While I’m still pretty on the “give Chris the boot bandwagon,” I will admit that giving him something other than be hyper peppy was very much welcomed.

The more I think about it, the more that turns out to be my biggest gripe about Chris (and Tom to an extent): he’s very rarely changing and is consistently on the same wavelength. That would be fine for a character that pops in once in a while (like Oren!), but he’s here every week, just being the same dude. Which would be fine if Chris was more endearing than annoying.

So if Chris wants to be the world’s most depressing DJ for a few more weeks, I’m all for it.

Speaking of character growth: hello, April! Has maturity finally set in for her and her marriage to Andy? First, she’s nice to Chris last week, and here she helps Ann just decide to go have some fun with Tom after watching them together. It looks like her marriage, while not in trouble, is definitely entering its next phase. Both April and Andy mentioned quirks and things the other does with some definite displeasure.

Other thoughts: Leslie’s love of the cryptex is downright awesome, and I, too, loved The Da Vinci Code.

  • The Bulge makes a comeback, and now all I can picture is Ron as a bear (bear cub?).
  • I love how comfortable Ben and Leslie are around each other, and how alike their thinking is. Willing to blow off their date for a chance to enact a little revenge on Chris and Ann.
  • Leslie’s love names for Ann never disappoint. Oh Ann, you beautiful spinster.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments and be sure to vote on some of your favorite quotes as well!

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Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (27 Votes)

Nick McHatton is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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What has happened to new episodes.It hasnt been on for weeks


I know I’m a little late but I just loved this episode! I got behind when I missed a couple of weeks in a row but am catching up thanks to some help from my employer, DISH, and their cool, semi-new website, DISH Online. I logged in last night and was able to stream this instantly. I loved watching Ron admit that he actually wanted a scavenger hunt for his birthday after his little rant to Leslie about how he doesn’t want anything like it.


Yah, you got to stop the Tom and especially the Chris hate. These two are essentially the reason why I started watching the show, first for Tom then hooked because of Chris.


I am sorry but you realize that is what the characters of Chris and Tom are supposed to be like. Its blasphemous to hate on them and I think you are the only one who does. They arent supposed to be deep characters and that is the point.


Another great episode. But I think that they stablish that Ann admitted that the date was a mistake. Could be wrong!

Parks and Recreation Season 4 Episode 14 Quotes

How am I supposed to find the love of Ann's life when it sounds like a funeral in here?


Ben: Screw romantic dinners, let's go rub it in their face.
Leslie: God, I love you so much.