PICK OF THE WEEK: 'Parks and Recreation'

Ron Swanson's mustache is one of the best characters in an ensemble cast that includes Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari and Rob Lowe.

Though his mustache is great, his beard in last week's season four premiere was somehow better. "Parks and Rec" came steaming back into primetime last week with an episode that included Ron hiding from his first wife in an isolated cabin, spending his days drinking liquor, shooting fish and growing a caveman beard more lush than virgin rainforest.

While Leslie managed to work through a nasty breakup with Ben, Ann (Rashida Jones) dealt with a plague of cell phone pictures of genitalia sent to her by concerned city employees. It was amazing.

The show continues to move further away from "The Office," which it was supposed to be spun-off from originally. It's now a regularly absurd festival of punch lines delivered by actors talented enough to be human when the script calls for genuine emotion.

Ben, played by the pitch-perfect Adam Scott, has become the straight man the show badly needed. Scott's new character is good enough that I'm almost ready to forgive him for leaving "Party Down."

"Parks and Recreation" can be viewed at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays on NBC.


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