SOUNDTRACK: THE DECEMBERISTS, LAND HO!, BOBBY KNIGHT RANGER, LETTERS TO CLEO and more on PARKS AND RECREATION (April 24, 2014).
Last night, in the season finale of Parks and Recreation, the Pawnee/Eagleton Unity concert finally happened. And, despite them never talking about who would be at the concert, the final show list was surprising and maybe not so surprising.
To see the Decemberists play live was a huge surprise and was totally wonderful (and to see Jenny Conley on keyboards looking healthy was very nice) especially since they have been more or less on hiatus for a time. Although maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise since Michael Schur directed a Decemberists video a few years back.
Ginuwine played a song as well (I don’t actually know him), and it shouldn’t have been a surprise because in a past episode it was revealed that character Donna is actually Ginuwine’s cousin.
Then came Letters to Cleo. This was a surprise because they’ve been broken up for years and, aside from a hit were never really all that big (I was huge fan and saw them live once). Although it was not a real surprise because Ben has been seen wearing an LtC shirt from time to time on the show. Seeing him sing along to the chorus (off stage) was great. I also just read that the drummer from LtC is the drummer in Andy’s band Mouse Rat.
Next was Bobby Knight Ranger, a hilarious visual joke of three members dressed like Bobby Knight (with really fake white wigs) who, played nothing but “Sister Christian” for their set. At the end of their set they threw chairs. It was a weird throwaway joke that was very funny. It was made even funnier when during the credits it became clear that Bobby Knight Ranger was actually Yo La Tengo. This is just surprising as I don’t know any connection there, but in my experience Yo La Tengo are game for anything.
Land Ho! finished the night. Land Ho!, if you follow the show is Pawnee’s biggest band (fronted by Wilco dude Jeff Tweedy (!)). They played a song and then Mouse Rate (and others) jammed with them for a holographic tribute to Li’l Sebastian (a running joke that I think is way overplayed and yet which makes me laugh every single time)..
I was so delighted to not know who was playing before hand because every band was a fun surprise. But seriously, did these bands all fly in just to play one song? Surely they must have done a few songs for the crowd. And if so, I think it would behoove Parks and Rec to get a CD out of songs from the Unity Concert (including some solo Johnny Karate songs as well.
The episode itself was also quite good. While I didn’t care too much for the Tom’s Bistro segment (most of the jokes were pretty obvious from the get go), it was nice to see so many old characters make a cameo. In fact, with the concert and the old characters and the tidy wrap up, it felt more like a series finale than a season finale.
And, SPOILER ALERT UNTIL THE VIDEO CLIP OF LETTERS TO CLEO PASTED BELOW: I though that their meld from the scene in the office on the third floor with the sly tag of three years later was a stroke of genius. I have been a little down on this season because I thought it was getting a bit overdone with Leslie’s failures and whatnot. I actually wanted her to get the hell out of Pawnee. But the compromise of how she stayed made sense for the show (if she didn’t take that job I was done with the show). I was also not looking forward to a year of Leslie being pregnant (the triplets thing was also lame to begin with). So the fact that it was all utterly skipped over–the pregnancy, the baby problems, the sleepless nights, even the fact that we didn’t have any awkward transitions in the job and that Leslie is just settled into her new job was excellent.
I also loved that Ben and Leslie were off to do something interesting (with Ben in a tux) with no explanation–what a great cliffhanger. Kudos for one of the best season enders I’ve seen in a long time.
[READ: April 24, 2014] “The Gifts of Anna Speight”
This was a confusing story. Well that is because it is an excerpt from a novel and therefore doesn’t stand on its own. But I don;t know if it was just the excerpt they chose, but I found it not very compelling at all.
The story is told in second person, with Sylvie telling “us” what she knows about the Wibletts Institution. Sylvie knew someone whose son resided there. He suffered from PKU, a recessive disorder associated with seizures, mental retardation and blue-green urine.
There are so many layers of storytelling involved here that I was quite confused as to just who was who when Jess was suddenly interested in the story of Bob Germen. Germen’s son is the above mentioned resident. She wants to know about Bob’s son. First we learn that Jess knew a lot about literary figures with disabled or retarded siblings or children and later we learn that she has a special needs daughter, Anna.
But most of the excerpt talks about the literary figures. (more…)
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