Parks And Recreation Review: “Bus Tour” (Season 4, Episode 21)

After a riveting performance at The DebateLeslie Knope (Amy Poehler) decides to capitalize on that success with a bus tour around Pawnee. It’s the last day of elections and the campaign looks promising until Leslie’s misplaced comment transforms this leisurely drive around town into a roller coaster of damage control. Just like the city counsel race, Parks And Recreation‘s fourth season is wrapping up and Bus Tour serves as just an amusing reminder of that.

The episode begins with Leslie travelling around the city giving her well-rehearsed speech to the welcoming crowds. Among all the campaign promises she talks ill about opponent Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd) and his high-powered father Nick Newport Sr. unfortunately for her, while in the process of calling Newport Sr. a jerk, a reporter gives word that he died that morning, thus throwing a massive curve ball on Leslie.

The Pawnee news and Bobby Newport’s campaign manager (Kathryn Hahn) pounce on Leslie’s gaff. Shaken, Leslie decides to press on with the campaign tour but when the press won’t back down about “jerk-gate,” she decides to go to Bobby Newport and address the issue in person. Misfortune strikes Leslie again as the press is already there for Newport Sr.’s memorial service, making Leslie’s campaign tour bus look like a giant bull in a china shop with Leslie’s giant face plastered on it. Despite all this, Leslie ends up facing a distraught Bobby one-on-one and resolves the issue.

Like any episode of Parks And Recreation, it isn’t a one-person show as Leslie got a lot of help this episode from her friends. Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) revived his character Bert Macklin to investigate a pie-throwing incident at one of Leslie’s appearances. One of his best parts was giving everyone code names based on his sexual experiences with them. For example, Ann (Rashida Jones) was “Been There, Done that,” April (Aubrey Plaza) was “Currently Doing That,” Leslie was “I Would Be Lying If I Said I Didn’t Think Of Doing That.” Amazing.

Tom (Aziz Ansari), Ron (Nick Offerman), and Donna (Retta) also show up to help Leslie by investigate why the vans they rented to chauffeur elderly voters to the polls were no longer available. When they arrive at the rental company, the manager, Bill (Mike O’Malley), informs them that Newport Sr. paid him to keep the van from hitting the road. Beyond Mike O’Malley‘s excellent portrayal as a greedy jerk, there isn’t much else to say about this side-story.

All in all, Bus Tourwas a pretty good episode but was nowhere as good as last week’s episode The Debate‘. Although it mainly served as a set up episode for next week’s season finale, Bus Tourcertainly had its amusing jokes and classic Parks And Recreation cringe-moments. Personally, I can’t wait for the season finale to find out if Leslie’s season long labour of love was worth it.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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