Parks and Recreation: “Ms. Knope Goes to Washington”
Leslie and Andy take a trip to our nation's capital.
September 23, 2012 3:03 amSam Lindauer
When we last left the Pawnee Parks Department, Leslie had just won the city council election and Ben had accepted a job on a senatorial campaign in DC. How the show dealt with the separation between lovebirds Ben and Leslie was one of the bigger cliff-hangers of the season. Of course with a show like this, I knew they’d be above having Ben or Leslie meet a seductive person of the opposite sex luring them away. Leslie and Ben love each other and that clearly hasn’t changed after watching “Ms. Knope Goes to Washington”.
This episode was shot on location in DC and Leslie is pulling double duty. She’s visiting Ben and also presenting a proposal to get federal funding to help clean up Pawnee River which is basically a river of green sludge. While Leslie and Andy (who is visiting Ben’s intern, April) are in DC, the rest of the Parks crew is back at the office. Having turned down a promotion from Chris, Ron has some extra duties now that Leslie is going to preoccupied with some other things. This week, Ron takes on the Parks Department employee appreciation BBQ. To Ron this is a humorless time of consuming delicious meats, while the rest of the office is used to a more fun, Leslie-planned event. Things will surely go smoothly.
Leslie quickly finds out that getting something through to the Federal Government is a bit trickier than she thought. She learns there isn’t even just one Pawnee, there are like six fantasy towns across the country. Her frustration builds seeing Ben being pulled in multiple directions at work, being a real power-player in DC while she feels smaller than ever. A party Ben brings her to with REALLY big-time DC folks, like Senator Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe, exacerbates this. They each do a fine job, though Snowe earns MVP for her "meh" hands after Leslie, too downtrodden to truly enjoy the moment, babbles through a cordial hello before excusing herself. There’s a great gag as Leslie is brought to tears in the coatroom where John McCain comes in to grab his jacket, unbeknownst to Leslie, who basically tosses him out without ever knowing its him.
The big laughs in the episode for me came in the barbeque. Ron is at his more rugged, bringing a live pig (whose Christian name is Tom) to slaughter at the event. Besides that problem he’s taking forever to grill, there’s nothing but meat to eat (and that isn’t even coming out) and everyone is miserable. Ron eventualy drives off in a huff when he can’t take the complaints.
In both of these storylines, I’d rather say the show is reliable rather than predictable in that we know how these problems will work out. Andy gives Leslie a pep talk after she worries she isn’t big-time enough for Ben and Ron gets a stern, but smiley talking to from Chris. Leslie realizes that she really is “Kick-ass Leslie” as Andy calls her and decides to clean up the river herself every Saturday for a few hours each week. Ron learns a bit about compromise letting everyone know that they’re appreciated and he bends to his “No fucking vegetables” rule by providing corn (and a cooked Tom) to the office. Like most weeks of this show, it was sweet and funny and the type of optimistic show that I (and I think most people) need. I say this after every season premier, but I am thrilled to be back with these characters and I look forward to what the season holds.
Some things I liked:
- Ron’s note to the park ranger saying, “I can do what I want. – Ron”
- “It’s nature’s candy” – Chris on raisins, I loved everyone’s disappointment.
- There was a storyline in there about Tom and Anne breaking up, but pretending to still be together. I’m glad the show had the good sense to end that bad relationship and not drag on the faux one beyond this episode either.
- Andy trying to understand amalgam was also a fantastic moment this week.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10