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PARKS AND RECREATION Recap: Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to the Pie-mary

Gosh and dag nabit, Parks and Recreation — you’re not going to make this easy on us, are you? These last few episodes have been delightful little sweet treats, a reminder of just how good network comedy can be! We’re going to miss you so much. And this week’s greatest hits centered around Leslie Knope’s tenacious enthusiasm and overall intensity. When put to the test, she gets the job done. Whether it’s finding a new career for April or eviscerating men’s rights ridiculousness, Knope knows how to make everything come up Milhouse.

Or maybe it would’ve been better to say White House, because — dun dun-na-nun! — that’s exactly where Leslie and April are, hoping to secure support for our national parks. There were Senators aplenty (because you just know everyone was clamoring to get a cameo in on this show), from Boxer to Gillibrand and McCain; members of the Polynesian folk music band Across the Isle — a.k.a. Senators Booker and Hatch — were there, too. Leslie’s new BFF Madeleine Albright was also on hand for waffles and pep talks once April admitted her desire to leave government work.

Not even two 5-year career plan binders could turn April into Leslie Knope 2.0; she needed something more. Andy, Ben, and Ron tried to find it for her in a consulting job in Pawnee, but ultimately it was up to April to find something that really inspired her.

And find it she did, thanks to both Leslie’s connections, and all the lessons April learned through her beloved mentor’s influence. The “because I knew you, I have been changed for good” moment was sweet and perfect in that way that only Parks can be — genuine and honest and endearingly slightly off-kilter. This whole episode showcased not only the incredible growth of April’s character (seriously well done, Aubrey Plaza). Ms  Ludgate-Dwyer’s come so far! I mean, heck, she’s leaving Pawnee and moving to Washington. We bet the intern April we met all those many years ago would be hard-pressed to believe that.

But not to fear: she’ll have a friend in town, as Leslie’s been promoted to a deputy director! With Ben’s election to Congress seemingly a lock and Leslie’s new gig (it comes with a confirmation hearing!), the couple will be splitting their time between Pawnee and DC. Aww!

Before we transition over to the next episode (and oh how excited we are for that), Ron Swanson. Or, should we say …Don Swanson? Because — holy cats you guys — Ron Swanson has a brother named Don Swanson that no one ever knew about. Nor did Don know about Ron’s job at the Parks Department. (Say whaaaaa?) And we’re not entirely convinced that Lon and Bob aren’t Swansons, too. I mean those beards, man! What else could they be. Oh Swanson, you old secretive scallywag, you!

OK we’ll move on.

To the Pie-mary, of course! And oh, how wonderful the political satire was in this episode. Leslie gets to have one more go at burning down some ludicrous thing. In this case, Leslie finds herself at odds with Men’s Rights groups, while simultaneously kicking in the more sexist teeth of the media. You tell ’em, Leslie!

With the heat of Ben’s congressional bid now decidedly on, the center of attention obviously became …Leslie’s identity as a woman. Because of course it did! What else do the single-cell organisms amongst the questioning class have to ask the wife of a politician? Especially a smart one with opinions, and thoughts, and her own robust life and career? Besides, there are pies on the line fer crissakes!

Yeah: that’s what we meant by Pie-mary. It’s the lady-fied version of the big boy’s actual political primary (tee hee). Naturally, Leslie found the whole thing sexist and offensive — “the last loser was women” — but by opting out of the affair she unleashed a maelstrom of trumped up sexist bullshit. Moms were up in arms! So she agreed to do participate, but that only that pissed off the women’s group, and then The Male Men showed up to really bring down the metaphorical house. (They’ve had a very rough go of it just recently.) But that’s what makes this object of ire such a worthy foe; its so inane in the real world you can’t over-satirize the nuttery. “Can we have one conversation about feminism in which men are in charge?”

But the quest to Free Ben Wyatt would not be won by anyone but Ben himself — telling everyone to shut the hell up and respect his wife. Leslie’s speech on the matter dropped the mic on everyone’s unfair obsession with how and why and when women act, look, and exist they way they do. Leslie said it best: “You’re ridiculous and men’s rights is nothing.” All in all, the whole thing was, hyperbole warranted, perfect. Three cheers for The Feminine Mesquite!

We also got another good Swanson Scavenger Hunt — mostly due to Ron’s sadness over April’s eventual departure from Pawnee. Sigh. This show is perfect and we never want it to end.

Can we also take a second to give a shoutout to the show’s continued exploration into the dark recesses of their random-side-characters-room corners? There was Harris and Brett (who have graduated from animal control to living in the basement of City Hall — high five?), Marcia and Marshall Langman, Barney Varmn the accounting guy — so many gems. Keep ’em coming.

Best Things:
– The ideal place for full-moon werewolf transformations
– April majoring in Halloween Studies.
– “I keep a local binderkeeper on retainer in DC.”
– Steven is one of the kids names.
– “None of your business and thank you for noticing.”
– Hartwell’s goosebump prevention campaign (Take a Sweater).

Opposite of Best Things:
– Where was Tom?!

What’d you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments.

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