"Pawnee: first in friendship, fourth in obesity."
[8.5/10] One of those episodes that does great with the pure comedy stuff. The opening list of Pawnee’s former slogans is just such a great example of how the show’s rapid-fire comic lines can work like gangbusters. On top of that, you have the “crackpot convention” of a public forum, which may be the height of the show’s absurd, Springfield-esque town hall meetings. The byzantine debates among the populace over what should go into the titular time capsule is the show at its absurd best.
But all the Twilight-related humor works very well too. Taking as absurd a premise as a guy chaining himself to a Parks Dept. pipe in order to get a Y.A. vampire novel into a time capsule, and giving an emotional undercurrent of a divorced dad trying to connect with his daughter is a deft choice. As always, Will Forte is great, combining both his everyman qualities and his vein of pure lunacy into the perfect well-meaning nutbar proselytizing bad vampire fic. The way that he, Tom, and Donna get into and start having their little book club is pitch perfect.
That leads nicely into the B-stories, with the weakest one being Tom sulking about why Lucy broke up with him. There’s some solid material there, with Tom himself relating everything to Twilight, and it shines a light on his own emotional insecurities and fixation on Ron. It’s just undercooked and not as sturdy as the rest of the episode.
But the side-story peak is the unexpectedly delightful pairing of the different flavors of high energy that are Chris and Andy. Chris’s enthusiasm for helping Andy with his Eduardo problem is a lot of fun, and the fact that Andy being nice and being in a band (as Chris wrote on the whiteboard in their brainstorming session) actually are what helped Andy to sideline his rival is a great twist. Plus, the grace note with Andy talking up Ann to Chris rather than trying to destroy their relationship, however ineffectually, a la Mark is great too.
Overall, a very good episode of the show, with plenty of laughs and the sort of Pawnee craziness that makes the show and its oddball denizens so memorable and enjoyable.