Parks and Recreation: Season 3, Episode 16

Li'l Sebastian (19 May 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
8.7
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While the department sets up a memorial service for Li'l Sebastian, Ron finds out about Leslie and Ben, Tom considers taking a job in the private sector, and Chris deals with his own mortality after he discovers that he has tendinitis.

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Leslie and the parks team put together a memorial service for a dearly departed friend. Meanwhile, Tom makes a big life decision, while Chris reacts badly to a health problem. Written by NBC Publicity

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Comedy

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19 May 2011 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Ron Swanson: Hello, Leslie. How long have you been sleeping with Ben?
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Connections

References Thelma & Louise (1991) See more »

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Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
(uncredited)
Written by Robert John Lange and Shania Twain
Performed by Shania Twain
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User Reviews

S3: A more confidence, steady and consistently funny season
5 September 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After a changeable season 2 which seemed to settle into some sort of comfortable place to work from, this third season continues in the same vein with significantly fewer cameos and a more consistent tone and flow. The plots revolve around the Parks & Recreation department and the characters within it – their relationships, their character quirks and, to a lesser degree, the work they do. As before, it continues to be delivered in a mix of sitcom and fly-on-wall documentary style. This season is also the one where the couple of episodes I have seen on planes have come from – the ones that were funny and made me think I should watch more of it.

Season 3 is not perfect but it is the best so far and it has some very funny episodes as well as generally producing a lot more laughs per episode. It does have the feel of a show trying to repeat The Office US but in a different situation – but to be fair so many shows do now. What made me relax into it as a whole was that it was a lot more settled and was a lot funnier than previous seasons had been – not to suggest that they hadn't hit high notes (because they had) but that they hadn't managed to sustain it as well as needed. With this season it does still have its best material to the second half of its run, but generally it does benefit from stable characters and a clearer narrative arch which involves lots of characters that feel like they will be around for a bit longer (unlike some cameos who felt fleeting).

In terms of that narrative I did feel like they rushed a lot of things; Andy and April for instance go from 'will they won't they?' to being married in a very short period of time, and likewise Leslie and Ben develop quite fast to where they end the season. Although the speed of these does feel a little manufactured and forced, it does seem to give the season a confidence and stability that it builds around very well. So maybe the plot developments are a necessary evil because they do seem to be part of making the show steadier and funnier as it goes along.

With stronger and more consistent material the cast do well. Poehler is a likable heart to the show but also gets lots of laughs too. Jones feels less like a narrative device and more like a character, with lots of relevant involvement here. Offerman continues to run with his character and gets all the best throwaway moments. Ansari may not be to my personal taste, but he does bring a lot of energy to his pieces. Plaza and Pratt may only have one card to play each but both do it very well and I do enjoy them as characters and performers. Lowe remains by far the best addition and he is very funny with his timing and delivery; Scott is less well used mainly because he tends to be the narrative device for a lot of the season, thus giving him less freedom in his material.

I won't say it is a perfect season but it is definitely the most consistent thus far, with good laughs, steady narrative and a stable and confident feel to the whole show. It does rush things along in terms of characters but this seems like a price worth paying for the strengths that it seems to encourage as a result.


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