An article: Borat is satire, Bruno is social harm
Parks and Rcereation:
This was the best episode of Parks and Recreation to date. Fred Armisen guest stars as a the head of the delegation of Pawnee’s Venezuelan sister city and he turns out to be surprisingly rude. He insults Leslie’s efforts to welcome him at every turn and he even appears so culturally abhorrent as to think that he can take any American women he wants as prostitutes. The episode basically takes his Ferecito character on Saturday Night Live and combines it with a little bit of Borat. Needless to say, I wonder how this will play in Venezuela. It’s not very original but it was innovative and it was funny and that alone makes this the best episode of Parks and Recreation to date.
Among the other pluses of this episode were:
1) The absence of the Anne-Mark romance as that has been the most chemistry-laden pairing I have ever seen in the history of television
2) A hilarious B-plot involving a Venezuelan intern being enamored with April who alternates between giving him flirtatious signals and acting bored to death of him. Aubrey Plaza takes the art of deadpan to new levels with her stoic emotional monotone and as far as strong supporting characters go, it’s hard to top her.
3) The show having a few key twists involving the brash Venezuelans apologizing and willing to make it up to Leslie with a major gift before it is revealed that they have ulterior motives. Both the show’s twists surprised me and neither took the easy way out.
The show was great and even approached levels of simultaneous humor and tension that The Office achieves. At the same time, I have to wonder if the show’s characters can produce this much wonderful humor on their own without the benefit of a guest star. Fred Armisen’s character highlighted the inherent humor in Leslie and, on a larger scale, the city of Pawnee’s situation because he serves as such a perfect foil to her inept sense of pride. Leslie is pretty abnormal and that’s where the humor is supposed to come from but
that humor is lost because there’s no contrast: Her ideas and mannerisms are largely accepted by those around her.
Bottom line: A great episode but doesn’t necessarily make me confident that the show will be equally as good next week.