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Before I get to the nitty-gritty, can I just say how much I hate NBC for depriving us of Parks and Rec for the past few weeks? My Thursdays just aren't the same without this show. On the bright side—as I am a glass half full kind of person—watching “Filibuster” and “Recall Vote” back-to-back made a lot of sense in terms of storyline progression.
The recall vote has been hanging over Leslie’s head since the end of last season. It’s quite heartbreaking to see her fall from grace, especially when it’s evident that she would do anything for Pawnee and its citizens. We've seen episode after episode of Leslie putting her all into various town projects, and of course, this impromptu filibuster is no different. Her desire to continue the stalling tactic, roller skates and all—despite the potential threat to retaining her city council seat—encapsulates her dogged faith in the political process and her desire to preserve the people’s right to vote. Heck, she even turned down a margarita in 90 degree heat and put off going to her husband’s early-‘90s themed birthday party to spoil Jamm’s emergency session! That’s the kind of person I want to represent me on city council.
When Leslie successfully stops Jamm from continuing to pursue his bill, it warrants a triumphant fist pump in the air. This is the Leslie we've come to know and love over the years—someone who won’t yield to pressure, especially from a clown like Jamm. There’s potential in the air and a sense that the fight isn't over. She could still win this recall election, despite those ungrateful former Eagletonians! Yet, as Leslie (in all her Princess Buttercup glory) dejectedly tells the impressionable young children at the haunted house after she loses: nothing gold can stay.
That’s why pairing these episodes worked so well—because they’re two sides of a coin. On one side, Leslie’s vindicated by her job as a city councilor. Despite the real threat of losing her position, there’s something to be said about her relentless pursuit of something “bigger than her.” It’s Leslie’s idealism that often drives the show, and it makes her loss in the election that much more glaring in the next episode, especially since we didn't get a week to savor her triumph over Jamm. Instead, we’re immediately swept into a depressing world which has Leslie and Ben questioning whether they've already peaked. (Aren't these two just meant to be together?) From there, it turns into a downward spiral, beginning with Leslie eating a Paunch burger and ending with an ill-advised, booze-induced trip to the pawnshop turned tattoo parlor. Care to sample some goodies from the pill bucket?
However, Leslie can’t stay down for long. She just isn't’t built that way. And it’s her best friend Ann, the “poetic and noble land mermaid,” who helps to pull out of her funk by writing a sweet note for Leslie to read aloud: “I am more than a city councilor. I am an unstoppable force of energy.” It’s actually the first time where I’m genuinely sad at the thought of losing Rashida Jones a few episodes from now, because—despite her other questionable character traits, like her odd taste in men—she has been a wonderful counterbalance for Leslie’s neurotic behavior.
And it’s not just Leslie and Ben wrought with questions of peaking too soon. Andy comes back for 19 hours to tell April he can’t go back to London because he’s in over his head. Of course, April, who’s suddenly wise beyond her years, dispenses some very Ron Swanson-like advice about how no one knows what they’re doing in their jobs and everyone just fakes it until they figure it out. It’s a sweet moment for these two, book-ended, of course, by Andy jumping into the dumpster. Chris Pratt is a master at physical comedy, isn’t he? It was fantastic to have his loveable goofiness back in the fold, if only for a moment, but I’m ready for him to come back full-time. Poor April is all over the place without him, even going so far as to call Ann and Chris cute. For shame!
Meanwhile, Tom has to deal with the failing Rent-a-Swag, which Dr. Saperstein is willing to buy out for $40,000. And to think, Tom must have been on such a high after his fun date with Nadia at the roller skating party, minus the whole stealing a giant stuffed bear from a pregnant woman thing. As with Leslie, Ron does well to let Tom vent about his problems in his office, complete with extra tiny marshmallows for his hot chocky. And it’s strange, despite Ron and Leslie not sharing any scenes together, he still seems to find a way to dispense words of wisdom in relation to her situation when he tells Tom that there’s no shame in failure, especially if you gave it an honest effort. Of course, this is coming from the guy who’s the talk of the town thanks to phonebook model turned lifestyle guru Annabel Porter, who’s the just kind of fun/crazy you expect from someone living in Pawnee (after, of course, having lived in Kate Bosworth’s pool house for four months.) But I digress. It is sound counsel both for Tom and Leslie, and it will be interesting to see where this show goes now that Leslie is on her way out of city council. But, hey, it’s Leslie Knope! If anyone can rise above being voted out of office (like a toddler bouncing back from a nap), it’s her. Let the 30 days begin.
Notes and Quotes
- Ben: “I know this is a dire situation, but I swear to God, this is like a crazy sex fantasy for me.” Count on Ben to have a “women in roller skates” fetish. But yes, it is better than those freaks who kiss mannequins.
- Seeing April in a pilgrim costume didn’t faze me in the slightest. The 1690s for the win!
- April: “Now be the Chuck Norris of making out with me.”
Andy: “I’ll karate punch your face with my tongue.”
- Tom as Kris Kross: “You look wiggidy-wiggidy-wiggidy wonderful.”
- I loved all the little early-‘90s touches, from Leslie’s “I heart NKOBT” pin to the “I would walk 500 miles to Ben’s birthday” banner to the “Wyatt Ben can’t jump” graphic in the slideshow. Same goes for the great props in “Recall Vote,” including the adorable papier mache Li’l Sebastian and the incredible pumpkin carvings. Whoever’s in charge of props needs a raise!
- Ron: “It’s just that I prefer to win, and when I don’t, I get furious.” I loved Ron and Donna’s whole hunting side plot, especially the A.S.S. initials he put into the video game. More antics from these two, please!
- What does an Eleanor Roosevelt/Pat Benatar tattoo even look like?
- I imagine a YouTube blazer to be made of crushed red velvet.
- Forget orange is the new black. Mozambique cashmere is the new cast-iron stove.
- Where can I subscribe to Bloosh?