Parks and Recreation: “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show” Review
One of Parks and Recreation’s greatest aspect is its format — more specifically, its mockumentary format. Yes the show was cut from the same cloth as The Office and, though it doesn’t take itself as seriously as The Office does in maintaining the documentary style, I would still argue that it’s a critical aspect in making the series what it is. After all, where would Parks be without its many amazing talking heads, from Leslie Knope talking about Pawnee’s many mottoes to Ron professing about his love of Chuck E. Cheese? Yes, I would argue that some of my favorite moments in this show’s history wouldn’t have been accomplished if it wasn’t for the fixed documentary style. But would it still be able to reach incredible high’s without it? “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show” is here to answer that question.
And answers it with a resounding “fuck yeah!” Because man, what a pure blast of joy “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show” is. It’s goofy and weird and sometimes doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it’s still by far one of the funniest half hours that this show has ever delivered, and pretty much an instant classic.
Just the decision of framing the entire episode around the final episode of Andy’s Johnny Karate series was a brilliant one in and of itself — it made this episode stand out more from the get-go, and added a level of wacky humor to the proceedings that you would never be able to get in the mockumentary style (like the black and white noir style of the Burt Macklin segment, or the absolutely glorious theme song.) It was just refreshing to see all these characters in a different light, and playing different characters within-the-show.
And even if the episode wasn’t as unique as it was, it was still a prime example of both the writers and the cast firing on every fucking cylinder. Not a minute went by when I wasn’t laughing at a scene, or furiously trying to type down all the amazing lines within the episode (hint: there’s going to be a lot of them.) And though the whole cast did excellent in “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show” (what a fun title!), this could have easily been titled the “Chris Pratt Power Half-Hour” and not have had to change a damn thing. Andy is a wonderful character brought to life brilliantly by Chris Pratt and, though there’s of course three episodes to go before the show says farewell, this definitely felt like Andy’s big “tribute” episode.
And it was pretty damn amazing, all of it. “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show” was a hillarious episode of Parks and Rec surely, but it also had the emotional core that make so many of Parks’ previous great episodes so great. The final moments between April and Andy (where the show embraces the mockumentary style for a brief moment once again) totally landed with me, a perfect mix of pure happiness at seeing this wonderful couple expressing their love for one another in a perfect way, and infinite sadness that I’ll only have a few episodes left to spend time with them before I’ll have to say goodbye. And by a few episodes, I mean one week, as the final one hour installment of Parks and Recreation will air next Tuesday. God, I’m really not ready. If this episode got to me emotionally, I can’t imagine what’s in store for “One Last Ride.” Even if it somehow magically turns out to be a dud, I’ll relax feeling content that this episode exists — and then proceed to watch it like five more times.
- Like I said, a lot of Loose Ends are coming. Buckle up.
- “I don’t give a crap Batman, you work for ME!”
- “Dang it, you’re right again Macklin, and I’m sorry. You’re the best agent I’ve ever seen, and I worked with James Bond.” Classic Andy Dwyer screenwriting there.
- “That instrument is worth literally $900 million.”
- “Drop kick sadness into outer space” is the only line I caught in the theme song because I was laughing at it so hard.
- “And Donna Meagle as The Chief.” Donna gets the “And” credit! Good for her.
- The kid dressed as Burt Macklin in the audience is my hero.
- “I’ll be moving to Washington D.C., it’s the capital of the entire world.”
- “It’s this crazy statue of a giant monster sitting on a chair representing all of America’s enemies.” I fear what the kids who are viewing this as “education” will become. Andy Dwyer is a lot of things, but an educator ain’t one of them.
- “I took it out, I couldn’t find it, and – oh, that happened.”
- “Loose animal in the studio” title is the best. It’s happened so often they created a thing for it!
- “I didn’t read this disclaimer!”
- “Hey Carpenter Ron, how are you doing?” “My contract is very specific, I don’t have to answer that question.”
- “Always remember kids, when you find something new, you must lick it…before you eat it.”
- Ron once the hug graphic popping up “You are mistaken, remove the graphic!”
- “Boring buzzer.” Ben as Professor Smartbrain is like one of my favorite things now.
- The one pissed off Professor Smartbrain fan in the audience got a huge chuckle out of me.
- “Not the fastest, what about teleporting?”
- “For the past ten years –” “It’s time to karate chop something!” Shame, I was really looking forward to where that letter was going.
- “I don’t know what to say – literally, because normally I have a script to stick too!”
- “Hire Very Good building company for your construction needs…or do not, I am not a beggar.”
- “End of commercial.” This commercial was perfect, absolutely perfect.
- “Coinsy the Wolf.” That is all.
- “Slowly taking back our money from white people, one quarter at a time.”
- “Phenomena means “to explore a cave.”
- “I was super wasted.” “It’s a kids show, Andy…”
- “Hopefully there’s a pit in Washington D.C. I can fall into!”
- Andy’s note on his hand of things to do. “Tape Final Show.”
- “Oh no, Day Planner’s gone, I can’t find it anyway!” Ben’s look of complete befuddlement of where the hell the planner disappeared to has to go in the pantheon of glorious Adam Scott faces.
- “Sir Edgar Covington, British Man.”
- “Technically only the Queen can do something, but I’m so ritch the Queen let’s me do whatever I want.”
- Ben saying “winter is coming” when he’s getting knighted is such a Ben thing.
- Ben looking at his hands after the event though was hilarious to me.
- “Healthy food is for suckers.”
- “It tastes like garbage, and if you say you like it, you’re a chump, and a liar.”
- “Put it in your body, or you’re a nerd!” The Paunch Burger ad was glorious. Just glorious.
- “I would have chugged that whole gallon of milk, if I didn’t start puking everywhere.”
- “My name is Burt Tyrannosaurus Macklin.”
- I demand a Burt Macklin movie. Make it happen, NBC-Universal.
- “I don’t know what the problem is Sargent – just drain the ocean!”
- “Officer Randy Killnose.” Did the writer’s have a bet to come up with the weirdest cop name? I hope they did.
- “President Jimmy Carter stole my guitar, but why?!”
- “From the information I got, I assumed you would be like two years old.” John Cena’s continued bid to become a comedy star rocked well here.
- “He got my cuffs – wait, what the hell is this?” WHERE DID THE PLANNER COME FROM? This episode is absolutely bonkers guys, but I kind of loved it all the more for it.
- “This has been the greatest job I’ve ever had.” This legitimately felt like Chris Pratt talking about his role on Parks and Recreation — you really felt the truth in his statement.
- “I once found a rock that looked exactly like Santa Claus, hat and everything.”
- “My wife, April Ludgate Karate Dwyer.”
- Andy is April’s new favorite TV host: “Even better than my all time favorite host Tom Snyder.”
- “You’re my Verizon Chipotle Exxon.” I don’t even want to imagine what this future conglomerate is. Coming from Andy, it was one of the sweetest things ever said.
- Jared will likely be complaining about how I didn’t give this episode a perfect 10 or something but, guys, I’m saving the 10 for the finale. I don’t want another “To’hajiilee/Ozymandias” situation on my hands.