Greg Pikitis: B
The major strength of this episode was that every character had a moment or two that was funny. The creepy attraction of Tom towards Anne has been played out for laughs from episode one and it’s still effective here. Anne pretty much tolerates Tom but obviously finds him unpleasant and when she throws a Halloween party, she doesn’t want to invite him. I love Tom and find him to be one of my true breakout characters because he thinks he’s so convinced that he’s the life of the party even when he isn’t. Unfortunately, Tom isn’t really the main A or B-story. The A-story mostly centers around Anne worrying that her party is lame. That’s not much of a plot and there’s not too much more excitement out of this than being surprised by people’s Halloween costumes. April’s straight boyfriend’s gay boyfriend wins hands-down for being a straight guy.
The B-plot showed how sweet Leslie’s romance with the cop is because the two are so awkward together. If he wasn’t such a nebbish guy, there’s no way he would put up with too much more of her, but he seems like he’s too shy to ask out more than one person a year and knows it might be a while before the next person comes along who’s willing to go out with him. The B-plot worked slightly better for me. Greg Pikitis gave us more of that normal-crazy dichotomy off of Leslie where he did something that wasn’t that big of a deal but to Leslie, it was the equivalent of a national scandal. The episode was cringe-worthy but was more so predictable. The actor who played Greg nailed his part well and Andy had some very strong moments.
Andy’s best moment and the episode’s best moment came out of an off-screen allusion to him: One of the best moments in the episode was how the nurses appeared to like Andy so much more than Mark. Hillarious.
Part of the theme of small-town comedies and dramedies is that small-towns are one big grown-up version of high school. People have known each other forever and their world seems kind of small by comparison. If this makes sense to you, you might get a Breakfast- Club-kind of joy out of seeing a friendship form between two polar opposites. Andy is the dumb jock who’s not into doing work and Leslie, is the goody two-shoes type. It also indicates in a sweet way that Andy is really coming around and willing to change. Andy develops in a way that doesn’t make him any less dense or dumb.
The show starts out with Leslie getting foolishly inspired by Kaboom (a real organization that in this parallel universe is part of a nonsensical scam) to do something impulsive. In a great Ann-and-Leslie moment (one of the key relationships of the show and the best-developed in my opinion), Leslie hops on board her stupidity and the two fill in the park on their own. Unfortunately, Andy’s still living in the pit (although he claims he isn’t) living in the park and he gets badly injured by a torrent of dirt that a crane drops on him.
Andy then has the choice to sue the city or not and the episode takes a good turn that makes a winner out of both Andy and the Parks department. It’s nice to have a good ending after things usually go so haywire for Leslie. Like Michael Scott’s development, the show isn’t worth rooting for if they don’t make Leslie semi-competent once in a while.