The laughs were flowing like Swanson Family Mash Liquor at your typical prairie drink-off last night on the hilarious second episode of “Parks and Recreation”, following a most stellar debut last week. Things get shaken up when the villainous Tammy One re-enters Ron’s life, concocting a fake IRS audit of Ron so she can control his life – and money. Then we have Ben dragged into the glittering start-up hell that is Entertainment 720, asked by Tom and Jean Ralphio to look over the company’s financial situation, while Ann asks Chris to star in a public service announcement for the town’s diabetes problem.

 The Players:

  • Director: Randall Einhorn
  • Writers: Norm Hiscock
  • Cast: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Aziz Ansari, Jim O’Heir, Retta, Aubrey Plaza, Rob Lowe, and Chris Pratt

Episode: “Ron & Tammys”

Leslie must intervene when Tammy One re-enters Ron’s life and begins controlling his every move. Ben tries to help Tom with the financial mess at his new company, while Ann makes a diabetes PSA starring Chris.

The Good:

  • Ron Swanson: The power of Tammy One forces Ron to lose the mustache, wear a ridiculously colorful polo shirt and say things like “cool beans.” But one swig of the moonshine at the drink-off between Tammy One, Ron’s mom – also Tammy! – and kind of Leslie, Ron declares the charade over. “You’re going back to hell,” he tells Tammy One.
  • Patrica Clarkson: The talented actress really aced it last night. The writers hooked her up with some winning lines, while she turned the iciness level up past 10 on the dial to make her character downright terrifying.
  • J-Shot: Ben’s trip to Tom and Jean-Ralphio’s Entertainment 720 was great. Mix NBA stars, free champagne and iPads, over-paid hot babe secretaries not really being secretarial, gaudy furniture and a ‘party switch’ with no business plan to make money and it looks like Entertainment 720 isn’t going to be in business much longer. And Ben gets a nickname: J-Shot.
  • NBA: Retired NBS star Detlef Schrempf and current Indiana Pacer Roy Hibbert make a nice cameo as the basketball players paid to hang out and shoot hoops all day at Entertainment 720 – along with the sexy secretaries making six figures..
  • “Toilet wine”: Lots of funny lines from the episode. A favorite is Tammy One to Leslie: “Oh, you and Ron have a big meeting, huh? I’m sure Ron will remember the meeting fondly while he makes toilet wine in a federal prison in Terre Haute.”

The Bad (but not that bad):

  • “So lets do one more, then five more then twenty more”: The storyline with Ann and Chris shooting a public service announcement for Pawnee’s diabetes problem was the weakest of the three plots. But it did feature the winning quote, ”So lets do one more, then five more then twenty more,” from the perfectionist Chris, who is driving Ann crazy while making this the most difficult production since Apocalypse Now.

Overall:

With Clarkson and Paula Pell (as Ron’s mother) joining the fun,”Ron & Tammys” was one of the funnier episodes of “Parks and Recreation” we have seen – and that is saying something. There was great rhythm last night, even with the Ann/Chris storyline losing some steam at the end. Even the little bit of Megan Mullally as Tammy Two we had last night worked nicely. I remain unsure as to where the writers plan to take the Entertainment 720 storyline, but clearly there is humor to be mined from the Tom-Jean-Ralphio endeavor. It was a nice moment when Tom gives Ben an iPad for his help, which was an honest assessment of what financial ruin is around the corner. And it wasn’t a free iPad, Tom paid for it.

And really, who wouldn’t like to have a ‘party switch’ at their place of business?

Let’s hope we see more of Ron’s mom and Tammy One – and more corn liquor for that matter – down the line. But for now, we close the book on a damn good episode and say, ‘bring on episode 3!’

Rating: 8/10

“Parks and Recreation” airs on NBC at 8:30 pm (ET/PT) on Thursday nights.

What did you think of last night’s episode?