Parks and Recreation is a fantastic sitcom, perhaps the best on television, and the start of season five just shows the it’s still as good as ever. What I love about Parks and Rec so much is its awareness of actual current events be it through government shutdowns or budget problems. Through the local Pawnee government, Parks and Rec addresses some major concerns in reality.
The episode “Soda Tax” is a clear reference to Mayor Bloomberg’s banning of giant sodas in New York City, which was massively mocked by both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert a few months ago. Parks and Rec takes this event and puts it in Pawnee. Leslie wants to put put a tax on giant cups of sodas to lower Pawnee’s massive sugar intake. When Leslie pulls out the cup sizes from the local Paunch Burger, I was laughing very hard, especially at the child size cup (which is about the size as a liquified child).
What the show does so well is that instead of just using this for satire, it actually creates some character development. Leslie questions whether she should put the tax to help the town become healthier or be blackmailed by the restaurants , who threatens to lay off employees if Leslie passed the tax. We got to see Leslie debate which decision, and she, of course, goes to Ron Swanson for help. The confrontation between the two is not only funny but also profound.
I didn’t really like the Ben-April part of the episode, so let’s move on to Andy’s training. Chris Pratt is very underrated in his role and I think he deserves more attention. There were some big laughs when he tried to run around the track and Tom’s cart was pretty funny too. I didn’t like the subplot with Chris, but it wasn’t bad.
Though “Soda Tax” isn’t my favorite Parks and Rec episode this year, it’s a solid hit. I’ll be checking into Pawnee each week and will review most episodes.