“Emergency Response” is one of those great episodes of television that acts as a kind of entertainment ninja – distracting you with its flash bomb of comedy so you never see the its shuriken of emotion flying at your face. Despite being the first of a two-parter, this episode felt mostly self-contained. An efficient and effective (if not tried and true) plot structure included a story of Leslie dealing with a surprise emergency response drill (facilitated by the criminally underused UCB alum, Matt Walsh via Councilman Jamm) on the day of her fund raising black tie gala for the beautification of Lot 48 into the Pawnee Commons. Naturally, during the majority of the episode we watch Murphy’s Law wreak its havoc all over both situations only to be suddenly resolved albeit in clever ways. Although it’ll be very tough to top the Leslie Knope Channel 4 news broadcast, and even tougher to top “You’re On with Ron” (a show I would watch on an infinite loop Clockwork Orange style if I could), I really liked “Emergency Response” for the manner in which it left open its two more emotionally weighted plot points – the fact that Andy probably isn’t a realistic candidate for a police officer and Leslie and Ben’s spontaneous decision to get married right then and there at the gala – presumably to be picked up in the next episode. I absolutely love Leslie and Ben as individuals and as a couple so watching their nuptials will be wonderful I’m sure, but I don’t expect anything other than a cute and probably pretty funny (and uniquely Pawnee-esque) wedding episode. Andy’s dilemma on the other hand is more intriguing. Past episodes have hinted that Andy may not really be cut out for real police work and I’m very curious to see if this arc will be resolved in typical sugar-coated fashion with Andy’s heart of gold somehow winning him the position he seeks despite the aforementioned hints, or if the show will take the road less traveled by and force Andy to confront his limitations and evolve. I certainly would prefer to watch the latter, but I trust Parks either way; until then I’ll bide my time rubbing the scratches out of my chair legs with walnuts and replacing my parents’ Chihuahua with a real dog.
This article was first posted on February 16, 2013