Parks and Recreation’ Season 7 Episodes 5 and 6 Recap: “Gryzzlbox” and “Save J.J.’s”

After the emotional crescendo of Leslie and Ron’s rapprochment last week, the focus of last night’s Parks and Rec episodes swoops around among the other members of the gang, to our immediate benefit. These were two of this season’s most thoroughly satisfying episodes, with their scary-silly satire of tech culture and gentrification, the retirement of the Leslie-Ron feud and the return of “treat yo self.”

While Leslie plots revenge against Gryzzl, first up is Tom. Tom is lovelorn, but his heart to heart with Andy at Tom’s Bistro leads to a realization that Andy is being totally underpaid for his  ohnny Karate gig. Tom decides to be his agent. Sidenote: Aziz Ansari’s attempts at an abdominal crunch really make a viewer feel the burn.

Meanwhile, Donna and Leslie realize that their personalized gifts from Gryzzl are a little too personal. Joe Biden books? Honeybears and Sugar plums? Someone has been data-minig.

“Gryzzl is going down,” says Donna. “You wanna put me on blast, I’ll put you on front street.” Leslie doesn’t get it, but she’s on board with the general idea. They hold a town meeting and it turns out, no one’s thrilled with Gryzzl’s snooping. “Miley and Haley know I like to read!” moans an adolescent girl who received Virginia Woolf books. “We’re not against you on this,” the crowd cheers. Leslie thinks she’s found Gryzzl’s Achilles heel. She tries to bring Ron in. It seems a given, considering that Ron won’t even carry pictures of his kids around to protect their privacy. Unfortunately, he doesn’t interfere with the free market.

April finds Jen, a young intern with “zero potential” and tries to persuade her to leave the department, freeing her former self from a decade of government drudgery.

Leslie and Ben sneak into Gryzzl disgused as an architecture professor and her lover, to get the insider scoop. “Oh, hells yeah dog-man,” says Gryzzl VP Roscoe Santangelo (a perfect Jorma Taccone) on the question of data-mining he also calls Tampons “‘pons” and knows who Leslie is through his company’s obsessive data-gathering. Behind him, we see the motto of the company emblazoned. “Wouldn’t it be tight if everyone was just chill to each other?”

How did this data breach happen when Ben was so careful to secure the Wifi? Well, it turns out that Grizzyl snuck a secret clause into their public wifi contract the day Ben was watching Star Wars VII. “It’s icetown all over again,” moans Ben, watching his legacy wash down the drain.

Leslie and Roscoe face off on the Perdple’s Court, and Leslie starts to self-sabotage in order to defend Ben’s reputation as city manager, but Ben swoops in to make his case.”It’s not chill,” Ben says to Roscoe, who cringes. Ben’s impassioned speech gets Judge Perd (not actually a judge) to declare a mistrial.

Meanwhile, Tom tries to negotiate a raise for Andy, and relishes playing hardball, Jerry Maguire style. Later, he wins Andy the rights to his own character via a slightly different negotiating method: It turns out that Tom wept his way into a deal. Tom gets some good karmic rewards when his love interest, Lucy returns from Chi-town broken up with her man. She just wants to drink wine and discuss Nicki Minaj throwing Jesse Eisenberg shade at the BAFTAS.  Sidenote: so many amazing 2017 celebrity developments!

At last, even Ron comes around to the anti-Gryzzl cause, thanks to a drone hovering above his apartment which he shoots down. In that spirit, he agrees to help take Gryzzl down.

As our next episode, “Save JJ’s” opens, Donna is tasting wedding cakes. As a surprise, Tom gives Donna “Treat YoSelf 2017” and they depart for a day of indulgence. “Today is about one thing: things,” Tom tells Donna in their limo… on the way to Beverly Hills.

treatyoself

On the Gryzzl front, it’s a PR disaster for the uber-hip tech bros. “We checked emails between our customers and their loved ones,” says Roscoe, and realized that people weren’t happy. But the gang’s excitement doesn’t last long. Sensing their imminent reptuation hit, Gryzzl offered Sweetums so much money they jumped the gun, and Leslie’s hope for the national park are dashed.

Sorrows are duly drowned in maple syrup, but gentrification is forcing JJ’s to close too. “They may have taken my land but I will be damned if they take my waffles,” says Leslie. As she and Ron team up for one big cause: to save JS’s from predatory landlord Dennis Feinstein.

“JJ’s has very good breakfast food,” says a typically-flat Ron at the rally, really stirring up the masses as he does.

Jonathan Karate (Johnny’s serious older brother) and his young ninjas confront Feinstein, who agrees to come down to the rally to address to the pro-J.J.’s contingent. But instead of relenting, he releases the “hounds: — a disgusting-smelling, FDA rejected cologne. Drenched in dog smell, Leslie begins to think that JJ’s, like the national park, is a lost cause.

Meanwhile, Tom and Dona’s LA adventure is basically the best treat yo self ever, as it involves shopping on the boulevards, elbow bling seshes, watching Josh Groban eat his own crab repurposed as celebrity-sushi, and Jaden’s shoes from Hitch 2: Son of Hitch. Donna offers some incredible love advice to Tom. When it comes to matters of the heart, you have to treat yoself. Soon enough, Tom has his long-anticipated date, even if he has to hire and fire Billy Eichner’s crazy Craig as a new manager, just to make sure things aren’t weird between him and Lucy.

Still determined to give JJ’s a second shot, the gang decides to find a space in a dilapidated downtown area to refurbish. But they can’t convince JJ’s to open there without foot traffic.

Which brings us to plan B. After throwing themselves into the cause, old-school style, they woo Gryzzl’s team with an elaborate idea, all written down. On paper.

“Is this paper? Whoa, super throwback,” marvels Roscoe. Renovate the downtrodden area, Leslie and Ron suggest. Build in the old buildings and warehouse space. “But we just spent hella skrilla on that trill forest!” Well, donate the new land to the parks and get good PR! Even though the rest of the Gryzzl staff are ‘shroomin at Coachella, and Roscoe’s “Hits From the Bong: alarm clock that rings at 4:20, suddenly the future looks bright.

And as Ron later reveals to Leslie after stringing her along for hours, they’ve won.