Parks and Recreation, Havekins it is!

In a recent article about Parks and Recreation on Grantland, Andy Greenwald made an interesting point about the show.  As rule, sitcoms usually exist to some extent in a state of stasis, but Parks is a show in a nearly constant state of change.   Andy and April dated and got married, Tom left and started a new business, Chris and Ben were introduced as new parts of the Pawnee government, then Ben lost his job, Leslie’s goal of being elected to public office wasn’t just an unrealized aspect of her character but something the show set out to do, hell even Lil’ Sebastian died.  Tonight’s leap day episode of Parks and Rec brought more of that change as Leslie’s work and campaign began to collide.

As the episode opens we see Leslie trying to maintain the separation of her campaign and her work in the parks office by popping in and out of the building so as not to do any campaign work in her office.  But things are getting missed, a weekly maintenance report, Jerry’s birthday (which of course is on leap day), and Ron begins to lobby for Leslie to take a leave of absence.   Predictably she resists and then over compensates by planning a surprise sweet 16 birthday party (he’s turning 64 which divided by 4 for leap year = 16) for Jerry at Donna’s unexpectedly huge lake house.

As the gang gathers at the lake house, a platinum record and a snap shot reveal that Donna is related to Genuine.  Tom’s joy at learning this is quickly overshadowed by his horror that Ann has no idea who Genuine is (“I know he’s Donna’s cousin …”). Like Ann I have never heard of Genuine and am not sure if he’s even a real person or not.  Anyway, it seems that Tom has a list of “Oh, No-Nos,” things that will make him break up with a girl.  Not loving 90’s R&B is number three on the Oh No-Nos List.    Soon a full blown fight has broken out between what was already a barely existent couple.   April who set them up and is insisting that she doesn’t care about anyone, is quickly dragged into their fight.  “At first I was annoyed, and then I remembered alcohol exists,” she deadpans.  In short order Tom and Ann have broken up and April has passed out drunk.

Meanwhile, Leslie and Ron realize another ball has been dropped; no one invited Jerry to his surprise party.  So Ron and Leslie head off and roust Jerry from his bath and hustle him into the car to head back to the party.  Along the way they spot another dropped ball; a Vote for Knope sign that doesn’t have an image, just a URL.   This prompts a detour to the print shop where the bored clerk reads the URL letter for letter off the printer order saying, “I print what’s on the order.”  In the background, holding the messed up sign, Ron can barely contain his glee at being right (which in Ron’s case means the slightest of grins).    After replacing the signs, running out of gas, going for a walk, and getting more gas, Ron, Jerry, and Leslie arrive to find the party has evaporated.

Eventually the group reconvenes to tell only positive stories about Jerry.  Tom takes this opportunity to tell everyone that he and Ann are back together and have chosen their relationship name, “Tan,” which Ann quickly declares dead, leave Tom to settle on “Havekins.”   We also get a reminder of how lonely Chris is these days as he looks around and sees that all of his friends have someone else in their lives.  Before long the over taxed Leslie falls asleep on Jerry.   The next morning Ron and Leslie sit beside the idyllic lake and Ron talks Leslie into taking a sabbatical.  Well, a Leslie sabbatical, of only 10 hours of Parks work a week.

  • We get one question answered this week when Leslie tells Ron that she can keep working for the parks department if she wins, since city council is only a part time job.  So it seems like it may actually be possible for Leslie to win.
  • Tom’s other complaints about Ann: here T-Shirt Cotton sheets, not liking Paul Walker movies, not caring about Blue Ray, and “I have more Uggs than she does!”
  • A Ron Swanson pearl of wisdom, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.”
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