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<i>Parks and Recreation</i>: Who Made the Comedy Grade Last Night?

And we're back. "The Comeback Kid" returned us to Leslie's city council campaign, Ben's unemployment and... that's pretty much it. I look forward to the minor characters' storylines for the rest of the season -- mostly Tom, because things have been quiet on the Haverford front since the collapse of E720 -- but for now, I'm fine just catching up with Knope 2012. Before we jump in and grade everyone, I should make the disclaimer that these letters are assigned sans the ice-walking scene, because otherwise everyone would have an A+. And as for harsh criticism of the episode, all I'm saying is, I sincerely hope there's more Donna next episode. She was also missing from the fabulous Parks & Rec short shown at the People's Choice Awards!

Leslie: B+
I have no choice but to grade Leslie against herself, because Amy Poehler is so funny, week after week. I loved watching Leslie breakdance and trying to climb onto that tiny stage, but despite how thoroughly cute she was throughout this entire episode, she didn't particularly outdo herself or anything -- not that she has to bend over backward for anyone, as men in uniform already love her.
Best Line of the Night: "It's true, I no longer have highly-trained professional campaign managers. So what? Are most murders committed by highly-trained professional assassins? No, they're committed by friends and coworkers... That analogy was way better in my head."

Ann: A
Nurse Perkins -- who is so talented, she can and will one day resuscitate a human heart in her bare hands -- is always at her best when she's playing No. 2 to Leslie. She looked great and very professional all night in that pantsuit, and her relationship with "Pistol" Pete could not have been more satisfying. Most importantly, I'm glad she's learning that there's more to the Internet than just naked guys.
Best Line of the Night: [On Pete's dad] "I actually think he did the best he could as a single father, but I may be too close to the situation."

Ron, Tom and Jerry: C+
These three were just kind of there in "The Comeback Kid," and I feel like the writers are a little bit too comfortable with their characters. When I saw everyone packed into the front of Ron's truck, I wondered if they would get pulled over, so that was pretty satisfying. Otherwise: meh. And let it be known that "pulling a Jerry" on Parks & Rec is about equal to a "Britta'd" action on Community.
Ron's Best Line of the Night: "I don't want to paint with a broad brush here, but every single contractor in the world is a miserable, incompetent thief."
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "Oh, what's this in my shoe? Red carpet insole. Everywhere I go, I'm walking on red carpet."
Jerry's Best Line of the Night: "Well, well, well. Look who's ahead of the curve."

Andy, April and Champion: B+
Adding a plucky three-legged dog to Andy and April's life is an excellent call. Also great: Andy's joy from getting to honk the car horn (shame it was in a hospital zone), and the look on his face when Pete totally ate it on the ice rink. They don't quite get into A-range this week because they messed up on the campaign front, no thanks to April's serious weakness for hating stupid people and Andy's error resulting in The Jetsons of the Knope banner.
April's Best Line of the Night: [On Andy's comment about Champion being just as capable as a four-legged dog] "Except for digging, he's really bad at digging!"
Andy's Best Line of the Night: "Leslie, I tried to make ramen in the coffee pot and I broke everything."
Champion's Best Line of the Night: "Shut up, Ann. I told you never to talk to me!"

Chris: A-
His herb belt was totally clutch, his pronunciation of calzone was hilarious, he helped Ben get out of his depression and he hates the taste of all of the gross health food he always eats. Chris episodes don't get too much better than this.
Best Line of the Night: [On Ben using low-fat ingredients]: "Game changer."

Ben: A-
You know, I have never really considered Ben's skills as a campaign manager, but this plot development makes perfect sense to me. As far as watching Ben's emotional deterioration this episode, everything from the Low-Cal Calzone Zone to his Letters to Cleo shirt was pretty amazing. I'll forever call Claymation "Clay-maysh," and honestly watched "Requiem for a Tuesday" a bit more than a few times, even if it wasn't exactly this year's Avatar. The tiny soundbite of R.E.M's "Stand" was dead-on, too.
Best Line of the Night: "Depressed? I'm the furthest thing from depressed! I mean, look at what I've accomplished. [Holds up Claymation doll] Do you see him? Do you think a depressed person could make this? No."

Honorable mentions: Gloria Estefan, for writing "Get On Your Feet" -- though that song will never be the same for me again-- and "Pistol" Pete (I love Tuc Watkins, and it's always nice to see a Desperate Housewives actor in something that is actually good), who shared the sage wisdom: "Sometimes life dunks you."

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