Monday, October 8, 2012

Wow, Ben Wyatt's taste in music on Parks and Rec is... so Ben Wyatt

April hasn't held a CD in her hand in three years.
In last week's Parks and Rec, April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) was trapped in a car in sweltering D.C. weather with her boss, congressional campaign manager and Star Trek: TNG fanfic author Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), and she glumly glared at the camera as she regretted putting on one of Ben's mix CDs, which he called "Benji's Cool Times Summer Jamz Mix." The audience heard only one of Ben's jams, Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop"--as did April, whose consciousness must have left her body by the time that Salt thanks her boo's mother for a butt like that--and now the show's official Facebook page has gone the extra mile and posted the rest of Ben's "Summer Jamz Mix" on Spotify.

These are songs you play at a wedding, where overplayed pop songs go to die and where "Call Me Maybe" and "Gangnam Style" will go to die soon. The uptight Ben is like a Top 40 station stuck in 1996.

I love the attention to detail regarding the characters' musical tastes on Parks and Rec. Ben's CD collection in his car consists mostly of '90s mixtape-style soundtrack albums like the Pulp Fiction CD because Ben loves how those albums are like mixtapes from his favorite directors, a detail that seems to be lifted from Scott's past as a teenage film geek. The actor has admitted in interviews that he admired filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee so much as a teen that instead of bedroom posters of athletes or half-naked starlets, which is what most teenage guys prefer, Scott would put pictures and clippings of his favorite directors up on his bedroom wall.

The apathetic and snooty April is a Neutral Milk Hotel fan, just like Parks showrunner Michael Schur. Her not-too-bright husband Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) leads the unsigned Pawnee rock band Mouse Rat, which, according to its fake site, "takes inspiration from the greats--Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, and recent (but solid) discovery Train--and then spins it out of control" (I once had a job where I had to rummage through small-town rock band sites and post links to them on my company's sites, and all those bands' bios of themselves sounded exactly like Mouse Rat's, especially during the description of acts like Train as "great"). Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), who's unabashed about his libertarian politics, isn't as unabashed about his secret off-hours life as saxman and Eagleton smooth jazz sensation Duke Silver, a hit with the (older) ladies of Eagleton. Former Entertainment 720 CEO Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), an Indian American who thinks he's the Diddy of Pawnee and lists Flo Rida as one of his heroes, has, of course, a weakness for the Dirty South sound and '90s R&B.

Like April, Tom finds Ben to be terminally uncool. I wonder what Tom's reaction to Ben's "Summer Jamz" CD would be (Tom would probably say, "You still listen to CDs? Ha!"). I also wonder what a Tom Haverford Spotify playlist would look like. It would likely include Soulja Boy's "Turn My Swag On," which Tom rapped along to at the Snakehole Lounge while kickin' it with former Indiana Pacer Detlef Schrempf, and T-Pain's "I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)," which Tom briefly sang while in costume as T-Pain.

The day when Entertainment 720 was shut down, Tom's glass of Henny was repossessed and replaced with a Hi-C juice box.
(Photo source: Uproxx)
But what would the rest of that playlist look like? It's time to step into Tom's mind and think like a man who thinks he's so baller.

"Joints That Tom Haverford Probably Bumps on His iPhone" tracklist
1. Soulja Boy Tell'em, "Turn My Swag On"
2. T-Pain featuring Mike Jones, "I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)"
3. Montell Jordan, "This Is How We Do It"
4. Fat Joe featuring Lil Wayne, "Make It Rain"
5. Ginuwine, "Pony"
6. Ginuwine, "Differences"
7. R. Kelly, "You Remind Me of Something"
8. R. Kelly featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley, "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)"
9. The Isley Brothers featuring R. Kelly and Chanté Moore, "Contagious"
10. R. Kelly, "Summer Bunnies"
11. R. Kelly, "Ignition Remix"
12. Jodeci, "Get on Up"
13. Johnny Gill, "Rub You the Right Way"
14. H-Town, "Part Time Lover"
15. The-Dream featuring T.I., "Make Up Bag"
16. Jay-Z, "Change Clothes"
17. Mystikal featuring Nivea, "Danger (Been So Long)"
18. Ludacris, "Southern Hospitality"
19. Rick Ross featuring Styles P, "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)"
20. Flo Rida featuring T-Pain, "Low"
21. Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain, "Blame It"
22. Waka Flocka Flame, "Hard in Da Paint"
23. Jay-Z and Kanye West, "Otis" (the video even features a cameo by Ansari as Tom)
24. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz, "Mercy"
25. Kanye West, Jay-Z and Big Sean, "Clique"

(Photo source: Flavorwire)

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