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Parks and Recreation - Episode 6.03 - Pawnee-Eagleton Tip-Off Classic - Review

Leslie likes a lot of things. Leslie is passionate about a lot of things. Leslie is devoted to a lot of things. But Eagleton is Satan’s butthole.

Eagleton is the one thing that sends Leslie into a spiral of unapologetic hate. Still feeling betrayed over the 200-year-old secession of Eagleton from Pawnee, Leslie takes every opportunity to bash the much richer fraternal twin of Pawnee. To help garner support in light of the recall, Leslie plays the classic strategy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and encourages Pawneeans to hate Eagleton, so that maybe they’ll hate her a little less. She’s not proud of it, except she is, because Eagletonians are monocled, caviar-consuming stupid fart faces and she hates them. As Eagleton deals with its bankruptcy, Leslie just piles on, insulting them even in a PowerPoint presentation, which Eagletonian councilwomen Ingrid de Forest proclaims is “just being nasty.” And Eagleton certainly brings out the nasty in Leslie, but Leslie being Leslie can’t refuse to help those who need it, and so she proposes a solution that makes…well, mostly everyone unhappy: merging Eagleton back into Pawnee. The bottled water-pool folks and the “greasy, denim-clad angels” all together in one town. That’s certainly going to be an interesting adventure, and I’m sure we’ll see how that affects the newly-expanded town, and the Parks folks, in the future.

It was great to see Kristen Bell on the show this week as Dr. Ingrid de Forest, (she has a PhD from the Sorbonne. And yes, fashion was a component), but it would be nice to see her return and have a little more for her character to do, especially concerning the reabsorption of Eagleton by Pawnee. Unfortunately, due to House of Lies, that probably won’t happen. As it stands in just this one episode, Ingrid seems like a nice, albeit snobby, Eagletonian (although “snobby” is probably redundant when the next word is “Eagletonian”). However, she didn’t get the chance to do much, aside from act as an insight into the odd, financially irresponsible, ways of life in Eagleton - such as buying HBO for the whole town (“It’s not TV”). Since Leslie is the only female councilmember in Pawnee, it’d be great to see her get to actually work with another one - if only she could put aside their town feud.  Also, just out of curiosity, does anyone think she’s friends with Lindsay Carlisle (Parker Posey)?

Ann takes April to vet school orientation in Bloomington, just cementing their one-sided friendship/one-sided eternal enmity. While Ann likes Bloomington, April doesn’t seem so taken with the school, and decides not to go. She tells Ann that she follows her gut and it hasn’t led her wrong yet. This leads Ann to have a gut feeling (NOT a contraction, Chris), and consider raising their child outside of Pawnee. What will happen when this inevitably moves forward (as Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe are leaving midseason), and Leslie finds out? Leaving Pawnee? Blasphemy!

Did April’s reaction feel a little odd to anyone else? While spontaneous decisions are April’s MO, she acting a little weird about the whole vet school situation. Is she afraid of trying something she actually wants, or perhaps leaving Pawnee and Parks? Or is it just April being April?

Ron, in his never-ending effort to retreat from the world that threatens to invade every crevice of privacy, decides he needs to get off the grid. And by the grid, he means the mailing list to The Penny Saver. He bribes Donna and Tom, two of the most plugged-in people in Pawnee, into helping him disappear from record. He’s removes vaguely labeled photos from restaurants and shreds documents, and almost buys a RV with gold to make his home. Luckily his wife (!) is there to talk some sense into him. She doesn’t need him to be on THE grid, so long as he’s on THEIR grid. Ron has a grid now - a pretty far reach from the Ron that used to hide from humans at his undisclosed cabin in the woods. Not only that, but he now lives with Diane and her daughters. He’s officially becoming a family man.
What’s Ron’s family version of “the grid”? Wearing a cell phone WITH BUTTONS, for which only Diane and the girls have the number, on a BELT CLIP. Needless to say, Tom’s disgusted.

The first three episodes of this season have set up this Leslie-in-transition as she fights her own town for the ability to keep serving them. Leaslie Knope, who willingly, and often happily, endured countless public forums full of nothing but complaining citizens, is struggling to deal with the constant onslaught. As Leslie freaks out that Ben’s going to help Eagleton, there’s a nice little call back to “Smallest Park” when she talks about Ben’s “tacit agreement,” similarly to when she told Ann she appreciated her tacit endorsement of all her behaviors.

That episode was another moment in the series when Leslie felt out of control; then it was about her relationship, now it’s about her job. Leslie’s default when things feel out of control seems to be to assume ultimate control, or at least try to. She puts on “steamroller mode” and does what she wants, because she can’t get what she really wants. It’ll be interesting to watch her over this recall arc to see how she reacts to the constant opposition, and what she can really do to fight her “powerlessness”. Hopefully she’ll turn to Ben and her Parks friends instead of turning ON them.

Next week we see some more stupid Eagletonians as Pawnee and Eagleton consolidate. Are you excited to see the Parks department’s counterparts?

Waffle Toppings:
- “Doctor Buttons! I mean, my old calculator -- it doesn’t have a name.” - Ben, everyone’s favorite accountant
- Ingrid de Forest tips Ben. In euros.
- April forcing Ann to play the part of her grandmother at Bloomingdale Vet School.
- Eagleton keeping Michael Bublé on retainer.
- Leslie shooting Ben with a t-shirt gun - “Why do people assume I’m ready to catch things?”

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