Tonight, my most favorite line up of shows are all repeats. Depressing as that is, the episode of Parks and Recreation they are replaying inspired me to write. It's no secret that I have a deep love of this show, but this particular episode, Ron & Tammys, is possibly my least favorite since season 1.
The problem I have with it is that Ron describes his first major relationship with Tammy 1, played by Patricia Clarkson. Apparently, Tammy 1 was not only his first wife, but also the nurse at his birth and his math, Sunday school, and divers' ed teachers...aaaaaand they started their relationship when he was 15. For fairly obvious reasons, this piece of Ron's past was disturbing to me. And unfortunately unfeminist in an otherwise feminist show.
It kind of baffles me why they felt the need to write this story line for his life. Extreme age differences trouble me. Ron is fictional. We vaguely know he has a toxic past with Tammy 1 before this episode, but they could have made it anything.
Ok, I get that she's the villain of the episode so they're not necessarily condoning her behavior, but they have April continuously sing her praises as a bad ass woman. While I can appreciate the humor that Ron's a hard core manly-man who is intimidated by not 1 but 3 Tammys (2 ex-wives and his mom) I still don't see why his story needed a pedophiliac back drop that is supposed to mean that Tammy 1 is kind of cool, in a tough broad way.
Pawnee Rangers. In this episode Ron leads a group of Boy Scout-esque Pawnee Rangers who have one rule: Be a man. Because the Pawnee Rangers are boy exclusive, Leslie starts the Pawnee Goddesses. With this group, she has created a girl friendly, fun, culturally inclusive, and intellectual environment. It's basically a highly exaggerated depiction of the differences between the national Girl and Boy Scout organizations. And it's hilarious-especially if you're familiar with girl services.
At the risk of spoiling it all, I'll keep it sort of vage. Basically, as the episode progresses, Leslie realizes that she has created a group of mini-Leslie Knopes, who stand up for what they believe in. And the biggest lesson is that Ron's group wasn't perfect for ALL boys; it was perfect for any kid who liked to learn extreme survival tactics. And Leslie's group wasn't perfect for ALL girls; it was perfect for any kid who liked crafts, learning, and the indoors. (Personally I'd choose to be a Pawnee Goddess any day-which is why I'll be one for Halloween!)
Simply put, the message that kids are individuals, not gender stereotypes is a pretty great one. And, I think, a secondary message is that Leslie and Ron make a really great team, and that positive teams draw upon different individuals' strengths. Again, a damn great message.
Just please no more dark stories from Ron's past.