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Parks and Recreation – Leslie and Ben Review: I Love You, and I Like You

I love weddings – dressing up, watching two people declare their undying love for each other, and of course, watching the hilarity that ensues when people inevitably exceed their alcohol limit. And what kind of television fan would I be if I didn’t enjoy a good sitcom wedding? My all-time favorites include the nuptials of Chandler and Monica on Friends and Jim and Pam on The Office. The latter, happening early during the show’s sixth season, showcased a perfect blend of comedy and sentimentality.

After years of will they/won’t they drama, Jim and Pam’s wedding turned out to be a wonderful expression of what makes them such a loveable couple. From their private vow exchange on a ferry near Niagara Falls to the equally joyous celebration with their friends and family, it culminated with a hilarious viral video reenactment as everyone danced down the aisle. Now I can add Ben and Leslie from Parks and Recreation to that list. Their wish for a spontaneous wedding after the gala met several obstacles along the way but viewers find that true love really does conquer all. I laughed, teared up and did a happy dance to the sweet stylings of DJ Roomba. It was li-terally perfect.

Ben and Leslie get married
Part of the worry in joining two beloved characters in holy matrimony is the potential to ruin their dynamic, but I have no doubt that these two will be just fine as evidenced by the exchange in the cold open when Ben jokingly mentions that he wants Leslie to take his last name. “It’s a dealbreaker,” he says, as he smirks to the camera. Of course he has no intention of making Leslie Knope disappear so there’s no reason to think the writers will slack off now that these two crazy kids are hitched. Let’s just hope we get the chance to see them live happily ever after for many more seasons to come.

This episode had plenty of zingers as the gang came together to make the dream wedding happen in two hours. Everyone gets their assignments from “Turtledove,” Leslie’s adorable codename which matches Ben’s “Falcon.” Ann’s in charge of the dress, hair, makeup and cake; Chris, the rings; Andy and April, the marriage license; Tom, getting ordained online and performing the ceremony; and Donna and Jerry will hold down the fort at the gala.

But as much as this episode was about Ben and Leslie, we also get moments with the other important people in their lives; Chris and Ron, respectively.

Three years ago, Chris went to Pawnee with Ben to evaluate the Parks and Recreation department. Although they had a decent working relationship, it has slowly developed into a wonderful friendship. A bromance, if you’re so inclined. Only a true bro would dig through a jewelry and nails tray at a pawn shop and touch jewelry formerly known as nipple rings. But the most heartwarming scene for these two is when Chris gives Ben a present – the letter from the State House with their Pawnee assignment, which turned from an eight-week stint into three years and counting. Adam Scott and Rob Lowe have become two of my favorite parts of the ensemble since they came on the show at the end of season two, and although Ben is set to start his new job at Sweetums, let’s hope we get more Ben and Chris hijinks in the future.

Ron walks Leslie down the aisle

As the wedding begins, Ron walks Leslie down the aisle. Even though I hate Pachelbel’s Canon with a passion (it’s a long story), the lovely moment makes me grin from ear to ear. Leslie and Ben are finally getting married! But as with most weddings, someone has a little bit too much to drink and makes a complete fool of themselves. In this case it’s Councilman Jamm, sloshed and still angry over losing Pawnee Commons to Leslie. “Here comes the boo all dressed in boo,” he singsongs.

My first thought? Honey Boo Boo’s in Pawnee! Or not. Naturally, his yelling gets old fast, but after releasing two stink bombs into the crowd, Ron isn’t taking it anymore. Ron gives Jamm a warning before swiftly coldcocking him in the face. Although this lands both men in jail, it allows for a great moment between Leslie and Ron. Like Ben and Chris, their relationship has transitioned from being work colleagues into a genuine friendship. They get what makes each other tick and Ron provides the male presence that Leslie lacks without a father or brothers in her life. Rightfully, she refuses to get married without Ron walking her down the aisle. The man made their wedding rings out of a sconce he ripped off Ann’s wall. Honestly, Ron is the best character on television right now.

 In all the commotion, they miss the window of opportunity to get married as the gala shuts down for the night. But in a move reminiscent of The Office, they scale everything down to the bare essentials and have a small ceremony inside their office at City Hall. Even Champion’s there! It’s only fitting that they get married where it all started, right? Fireworks, three-course meals and jazz bands are well and good, but when it comes down to it all you need are the people who love you.

Ron walks Leslie down the corridor and offers his sentiments in the most Ron-like way possible: “You are a wonderful person. Your friendship means a lot to me. And you look very beautiful" .At the end of the night everyone minus Ron ends up passed out drunk in Leslie’s office – the signs of a smashing soiree. In the words of April, “Yay, best wedding ever!”

Notes and Quotes
-- Leslie to Ann about her dream look: “I was thinking the sensuality of Eleanor Roosevelt combined with the animal magnetism of Leslie Stahl.” Should we have expected anything less?
-- In Tom math, a Steve Harvey vibe plus straight up Seacrest equals Steve-crest.
-- The Indiana celebrity look-alikes at the gala included Orville Redenbacher, La Toya Jackson, Axl Rose, and David Letterman. Popcorn for everyone!
-- Donna: “Did you just pee your pants?”
Jerry: “Just a dab. I better go clean up.”
Donna: “You nasty, Jerry.”
This entire exchange had me rolling on the floor, but it didn’t end there. When he goes to see Tom in the next scene, he says, “Third time this week.” Oh, Jerry. Never change.
-- There’s always time to do the Tim Gunn voice: “Designers, make it work!” As for the wedding dress, Ann did a great job of filling out the skirt with all of Leslie’s greatest hits. Also, Hillary Clinton’s face!
-- “I’m not married. I was on a date tonight. It went well. He’s sleeping over.” Ethel Beavers, you saucy minx. And now you are also Andy and April’s adopted grandmother.
-- I checked Amazon, and they actually sell stink bombs! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because they sell literally everything. But seriously, someone revoke Jamm’s Amazon Prime membership, stat.
-- Chris gives Andy some fatherly advice, and Ann, of course, is within earshot. Potential baby daddy alert!
-- That entire closing tag, with Ron welding the wedding rings, was priceless. It only took him 20 minutes to make the rings, and he even patched up the wall where he ripped out the sconce!



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