Saturday, July 25, 2015

P & R

While winter was all about The Office, this summer belongs to Parks and Recreation.  If we were feudal aristocrats, our family crest would be a Roku remote control with a question mark over it, accompanied by the Latin phrase: "Who had it last?  Did you look in the couch?"

This show is about city hall workers in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana.  They are all cynical or inept, except for perky, ambitious Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler).  Midway through the show's seven seasons, Leslie is running for city council against the charming but idiotic Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd), heir to the Sweetums candy fortune.

This plot may seem over the heads of the under-nine set, and in many ways it is.  However, the other night my son laughed so hard at an attack ad by the Newport campaign, he almost started crying.  Sometimes we quote a Team Knope campaign ad for no particular reason.  One recent morning at the donut shop, my six-year-old growled in her most sinister voice: "Bobby Newport never had a real job in his life."  That's my girl!

Maybe bonding over sitcoms is a single mom thing.  When I was growing up, we watched so much Cheers -- and then its spin-off, Frazier -- with our mom that my brother-in-law refers to NBC's Frazier Crane as "Uncle Frazier."  Say what you will about TV, but the jokes on those shows shaped our brains more than anything in school.  (Also, NBC taught us that romantic relationships were essentially absurd and set to a disembodied laugh track, which is often the case.)

We love all the characters on P & R (which also happen to be my kids' initials, so that a typical night is about P & R & P & R), but our favorites are Ron and Andy.  For all those who enjoy the hunky new action-hero Chris Pratt, I much prefer the former, fat Chris Pratt who's always falling down (Andy).  He is a sweet, wholesome mess, like a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the floor.

Ron (the great Nick Offerman) is a manly type who eats steak, whittles, and brooks no nonsense.  I like to think Ron is a good influence on my kids, except when his ex-wife Tammy comes into town and he becomes a sexually rapacious lunatic.  That's when we hit "fast forward" and I apologize to the kids for subjecting them to this awful, disgusting show.  Boo Tammy!

So that's what we're doing this summer, in addition to all the other things.  The other day my son remarked that he wasn't sure who to "vote" for: Newport or Knope. 

"What do you mean, you don't know?  Knope of course!"  I said.

"I know -- I want to vote for Leslie, but Old Man Saggy wants to vote for Bobby," he replied. 

Thereby winning the prize for the most "Mom's House" sentence anyone has ever uttered.

"Let's go outside," I said.

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