Parks and Recreation S7 E5, “GryzzlBox”

The episode opens with Leslie and Ben brainstorming ways to defeat Gryzzl, and we see a very rare occurrence: defeat on Leslie’s face. “Forget it, it’s impossible, it’s not going to work in a million years, it’s pointless, I give up,” Leslie says. As depressing as that seems, it is kind of true. Leslie is literally asking Jessica Wicks Newport to give her land valued at $100 million for free “because it’s nice.” But Ben, the world’s greatest husband, gives her a pep talk – until they’re interrupted.

Gryzzl RobotLeslie gets a text on her GryzzlPhone instructing her to open her door, where she and Ben are greeted by a flying Gryzzl robot carrying a GryzzlBox. Apparently, she and Ben are not the only ones being visited by Gryzzl’s Skypals. Donna received a package from them, too, containing honey bears and sugarplums – private nicknames that she and Joe share. Even though she technically works for Gryzzl, Donna is infuriated by the violation of personal privacy.

SCOTUSLeslie finally opens her GryzzlBox to find Joe Biden’s book and a poster of the Supreme Court justices sipping the Friends milkshake. Ben figures out what’s up: Gryzzl is data-mining the citizens of Pawnee, searching through texts, phone calls, and emails to learn everything about everyone. And that is strictly against the contract he negotiated with them when they brought wifi to the town three years ago. Donna is pissed and joins forces with Leslie and Ben to take Gryzzl down. Suddenly, they have a much better chance at winning the Newport Trust.

Leslie, Ben, and Donna hold a town meeting about Gryzzl’s mass invasion of privacy, where everyone in attendance is, for once, on the same page. Everyone is infuriated that Gryzzl seems to know all the intimate details of their lives, even if they like the contents of their boxes.

Parks and RecreationSecrets divulged in the meeting included a man’s genital issues, another’s hobby of collecting toy pigs dressed like movie stars, and that a teenage girl likes to read (gasp!).

Leslie, Ben, and Donna decide to try to recruit Ron to help them with the Gryzzl issue by taking him out for some hefty breakfast food at J.J.’s Diner. Oddly enough, however, the most private man on earth sees nothing wrong with Gryzzl’s tactics. Donna, however, is still on Leslie’s side, and she gets a private tour of Gryzzl’s headquarters for Leslie and Ben.

Roscoe, Gryzzl’s Vice President, gives them a tour and openly admits that not only are they data-mining everyone in Pawnee, but the cameras on their phones are always on and recording. When Leslie outright asks about this, Roscoe’s only response is “Hells yeah!” He goes on to explain that Gryzzl isn’t actually scary; they just want to know everything about everyone and track them everywhere they go. No big deal, right?

Parks and RecreationLeslie suggests a televised debate, and so they relocate to “The Perdple’s Court” with Judge* Perd Hapley. Right before they go on, however, Ron reveals that Gryzzl isn’t actually in the wrong. Even though Ben made sure that there was a section specifically stating no data-mining in the original contract, Gryzzl managed to sneak in incredibly small print that allowed for it. It only passed Ben’s notice because the final negotiation was on December 18, 2015 – the same day that Star Wars Episode VII was released.

*Not actually a real judge

Is this Ice Town Part II? Has Ben ruined everything once again?

Leslie has no other option but to go on air, even though she now knows that Gryzzl wasn’t actually doing anything illegal. She waffles for a moment before Ben finally gathers his courage and charges in. Ben throws some serious allegations around. Even though what Gryzzl is doing isn’t technically illegal, it definitely isn’t chill. He even points out that they had to know it wasn’t chill because otherwise they wouldn’t have felt the need to sneak it into the 27th revision of a 500-page document. And if Gryzzl isn’t chill, then they’re nothing.

Judge* Perd is stumped by the case and cannot render a verdict. Although it isn’t a win like Leslie had been hoping for, it is still helping to spread the information and expose Gryzzl’s sneaky and decidedly not-chill tactics.

*Not actually a real judge

Ron SwansonBen and Leslie are back to finding new ammo to use against Gryzzl when their doorbell rings and they find Ron Swanson, holding a rifle and what was formerly a working Gryzzl Skypal. It managed to track down information about his son John on Diane’s computer and sent a GryzzlBox for him to their house. This, apparently, pushed Ron over the line. Even more than he prides his own privacy, he cares for his son’s. “I want to help you take them down,” Ron declared. The dream team is back together once again!

Parks and RecreationOver at Tom’s bistro, Andy is taste-testing a new dish for the restaurant. And by “taste-testing” I mean inhaling an entire plate in a matter of several seconds. Tom’s trying to distract himself with work while Lucy visits her boyfriend in Chicago. Andy suggests a new distraction – in the form of his contract with the television station.

The station manager certainly took advantage of his popular but dim-witted star. They want to own the Johnny Karate character and pay Andy only $100 per week – for writing, producing, directing, and acting in his own TV show – and Andy’s only objection is that he wants to own the character. Tom takes on the new challenge and becomes Andy’s agent.

Dax Shepard on P&RTom and Andy have a meeting with Hank Muntak, the station manager. At first, he continues to try to take advantage of Andy, but Tom plays hardball…

… And so does Andy, apparently. When Hank won’t budge on giving him the rights to Johnny Karate, Andy walks away.

Eventually, Tom is able to renegotiate the contract so that Andy gets $500 a week (and doesn’t have to be the janitor at the station). After sobbing in Muntak’s office, he even convinces Hank to let Andy keep Johnny Karate as his own.

Lucy returns from Chicago in the final moments of the episode and reveals that she broke up with her boyfriend. Tom doesn’t make his move just yet, but I can see it coming. These two are just too perfect for each other – she’s even eager to debate pop culture with him.

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