"Summer Catalog" was a particularly strong Parks episode that hit upon a vast array of character notes - from Ann (Rashida Jones) and Mark's (Paul Schneider) doomed relationship, to Andy (Chris Pratt) and April's (Aubrey Plaza) awkward flirtations to Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ron's (Nick Offerman) mutual respect and friendship. It even was able to work in Tom's (Aziz Ansari) sublime superficiality and Jerry's haplessness to boot. I liked that Ron and Leslie could bicker throughout most of the episode, but then bond over breakfast food at the end in a scene where once again we get to see Ron's hidden admiration for Leslie's do-gooder personality resurface. I did love Ron's little forest tantrums about being hungry while being led to the picnic. Especially when he had to come to the cold hard realization that there was *gasp* no more snack bacon. "Now it's gone and I hate everything," Ron whined before scampering off, teary eyed.
Ann and Mark weren't particularly funny, as per usual, but I'm glad that they were actually able to make a bit of progress on their slowly deteriorating relationship. When Mark popped in to the hospital for a surprise 6-month anniversary visit, it helped remind us of how both Ann and Mark are seeing their relationship from different perspectives. Mark's still really super-excited because this is his first real meaningful relationship, and so he's made Ann overly-important to the point where she feels uncomfortable. This is a woman who's used to playing a "mom" role for immature doofuses who take her for granted. To see Ann's displeasure in her own relationship manifest itself in Tom's ridiculous Parks Department Summer Catalog photo shoot was a great device that was able to both let us, and Mark, know how unhappy she is with him.
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