What episodes best showcase his talents, and set the stage for Pratt’s new role as a Marvel superhero? Here are a few favorites from Seasons 2 and 3.
Season 2, Episode 7: “Greg Pikitis”
This is a good way to ease into Chris Pratt post-“Guardians,” as it showcases unemployed Andy’s efforts to stay afloat after the events of Season 1, and also introduces Andy’s fearsome alternate persona: Burt Macklin, FBI. (Includes a bonus appearance by Louis CK, who is not in any of the Marvel movies, but would make a very interesting if slightly low-energy superhero.)
Season 2, Episode 10: “Hunting Trip”
It’s not Pratt doing any of the hunting in this episode — instead, he gives piggyback rides and establishes a bond with April (Aubrey Plaza) that becomes a core part of his role on the show. He also (not for the first or last time) sings on camera; Pratt’s performing chops aren’t just a key part of his character, they’re an indelible reminder of how Dave Matthews warped an entire generation.
Season 2, Episode 16: “Galentine’s Day”
Speaking of singing, Pratt does a lot of that in this Valentine’s Day episode featuring Mouserat, the greatest band in Pawnee, Indiana. Instead of performing classic Mouserat tunes like “Sex Hair,” they cover 1940s jazz standards, but it still makes an impression.
Season 2, Episode 23: “The Master Plan”
New characters are introduced here, but it’s Andy’s relationship with April that grabs the most attention of this episode. Watch through the closing credits for one of TV’s great original love songs.
Season 3, Episode 2: “Flu Season”
It’s Andy’s relationship with Ron (Nick Offerman) that’s the selling point for this episode: Football is played, burritos are eaten and political views discussed. Also, when Andy looks up Leslie’s flu symptoms online, it leads to one of the funniest lines in the show’s history — which according to producers, was an ad lib by Pratt.
Season 3, Episode 7: “Harvest Festival”
This is one of the most important episodes of Season 3, so it’s worth watching no matter what, but while it’s a showcase for the entire ensemble cast (which is one of the strongest in recent television history), Andy and April’s relationship also takes a big step forward.
Season 3, Episode 8: “April and Andy’s Fancy Party”
What actually happens at said fancy party is a fun surprise, but it convincingly makes the case for Pratt as a strong romantic lead as well as a comedic one. Make that a slightly unconventional romantic lead — he does spend most of the episode in a Colts jersey.
Season 3, Episode 11: “Jerry’s Painting”
Pratt’s easy to typecast as the quintessential Seth Rogan-esque manchild — the 30-something guy who hasn’t stopped living like he’s in college yet — and this episode is a perfect showcase for that part of his persona, while also giving him the opportunity to show a deeper maturity. It’s pretty similar to his arc in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” except for a disappointing lack of talking raccoons.