The Parks and Rec Open Thread

image of Leslie Knope being hugged by the entire Gergich family
This family is terrible. Apparently.

[Content Note: Rape culture; rape jokes; bullying.]

I don't guess I need to tell you how excited I was to have two episodes of Parks and Recreation waiting for me at the end of last week. And I don't guess I need to tell you, either, that I would love more than anything to be able to write an enthusiastically happy post about how much I loved both episodes.

But, unfortunately, I can't do that.

1. Because the first episode prominently featured Patton Oswalt, who is a fan of rape jokes. He has tweeted such gems as:
"Uh-oh, Spaghettios..." -- Pelican Bay inmate before he's raped by his cellmate, "Spaghettios" DiCenzo
—and his comedy special, Comedians of Comedy, included an extended sequence in which he assumes the persona of a murderer and rapist, talking to the camera/audience as if to his victim. Because comedy.

That the above sequence happens at a log cabin only made the entire P&R arc where he and Leslie are living at a cabin all the more heinous for me to watch.

2. And because the second episode was perhaps the worst Jerry-hating episode of all time. And not just an entire episode built around everyone hating Jerry, but about how, if Jerry is removed from the group, everyone immediately turns on Tom, because "there's always a Jerry." I like Jerry, and I don't want to see him bullied. I don't want to watch other characters bully him, which makes me not like them so much. And I sure as shit don't want to see one more scene of Leslie and Ben perplexedly trying to figure out why Gayle would love Jerry or find him attractive.

The treatment of Jerry has always been the show's weakest spot, and I feel like the writers are trying to counter criticism by doubling-down on it. As if exposing us to more contempt for Jerry is somehow going to magically make it funny. It doesn't work. And even if it weren't mean-spirited garbage, it doesn't even seem consistent within the show's established characterizations. Even Chris, who is nice to EVERYONE and constantly expresses his fear of hurting other people, is now passive-aggressively mocking Jerry in order to win a bet with Ron? Nope. NOPE.

I am disappointed, Parks & Rec. I expect more.

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