Ain't no party like a Leslie Knope party cause a Leslie Knope party has costumes and roller skates and filibusters. Yeah, so Leslie is throwing Ben an early-90s-themed birthday roller skating birthday party, because it's his favorite era and he has a thing for women in skates. Everyone has a thing, okay?
“You only get one chance to make a second impression.”
Leslie Knope is the biggest fish in America's smallest pond: Pawnee, Indiana. She’s a pushy, ambitious, know-it-all with a heart-of-gold, single-handedly pushing every single one of her friends to be their best selves – all day, every day. Like a tiny, blonde Oprah. And she wouldn’t want it any other way. Why go to D.C. when you can make a difference in your hometown, America’s fourth most obese city? Like an idealistic teenager, Leslie believes passionately in the ability of government to improve people’s lives. Only, unlike most idealistic teenagers, Leslie has spent most of her adult life working as a civil servant mired in bureaucracy. At least, until an activist group pushed her into pursuing her dream of running for office and after a long, hard-fought election against Paul Rudd, Leslie finally reached the apex of her political career: a victory speech spoken at a frequency only your tear ducts can hear and a seat on Pawnee’s city council.
Leslie Knope's Episode Guide
Last night's episode of Parks is my favorite kind — the kind where nothing really contributes to moving the over-arching plot forward but everything is delightful anyway. I suppose Donna accidentally tweeting a fireman about tongue baths from the Parks Dept Twitter account could bite Leslie in the ass more severely later on, but for now it's just kind of a device to get into Donna's private Twitter, where she has a few choice words for her boss.
Pawnee and Eagleton have officially merged, and Leslie has to figure out the best way to bring together the various governmental departments (except for the Department of Infinity Pool Design and the Department of Horse Dancing, because they have no counterpart). This of course includes the Parks Department, which means bringing in buddies for everyone, a la The Office. It also means Leslie will have to decide who's getting the ax, as there's just not room in the budget (or building) for three extra people.
Eagleton is broke (and sucks), and only Pawnee can save the day — but will it?
The Parks and Rec gang heads to London for some fish, chips, and ironic postcards.
A lot has happened this season. After all progress is paramount in Pawnee. Ron got a girlfriend, Chris suffered from and then recovered from a mental/emotional breakdown of some sort, Tom started his own thriving business, Andy didn't become a cop despite caring a lot about people and things, April did become all sorts of things despite not caring a lot about people and things, Ben discovered he's highly employable, Ann decided she wanted a baby, and Leslie completed her first year in the Pawnee city council and married the man of her dreams.
After the season three finale, "Li'l Sebastian, aired, showrunner Mike Schur discussed his strategy for writing season finales: "Write the juiciest, most exciting cliffhanger-y possible scenario you can write, and then you have all summer to figure out how to get yourself out of it." Schur seems deadest on sticking to that system with the season five finale of Parks & Rec.
Parks & Rec was a little more thematic in that it featured Leslie defending a publicly subsidized park that gets everyone outside into the great outdoors. It seems Ron Swanson, in his recent slash at the budget, has decided the city's Putt-Putt course must go. Leslie, upset by this, ends up in a head-to-head with her boss in which they putt for the vote of the much loathed Councilman Jamm. Meanwhile Andy rediscovers his love for music and Ann turns down the offer of a three-way with Tom and Mona-Lisa Sapperstein.
We were gifted with a Parks & Rec double header in which Leslie and Patton Oswalt lived together in a historical house for a few days and Jerry retired. Let’s break it down in the grades.
This episode reminded me a lot of late season two and early season three, which, as far as I'm concerned, is super high praise. The feeling of nostalgia probably had a lot to do with the characters that populated this episode. There were the inept animal control guys, first encountered in season two’s “The Possum,” Dr. Harris who was introduced way back in “Rock Show” (the season one finale that felt more like later seasons than the entire rest of the season combined), and then Dennis Feinstein, Pawnee’s cologne-master whom we first met early season three in "Indianapolis." With this episode, Parks & Rec united the old standbys with the new people we’ve met in recent years (notably Jamm), and although it wasn’t the funniest episode ever, it was a solid and welcome return to form.