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Finally, we get to see what it’s really like for Leslie without her best ethnically-ambiguous brilliant innocent mermaid starfish (etc. etc.). Most likely the show ignored the absence of Ann and Chris for the past few episodes to prove that they could survive without them, but now it is time to examine whether Leslie can, and so we got “Special Guest-Star Rashida Jones.” This episode features Leslie pulling a Leslie and going over the top crazy trying to pick her new bestie through rankings derived from a “totally casually definitely not a competition” Galentine’s Day. This is one of Leslie’s biggest flaws, and something we’ve seen time and time again as she confronts situations which she desperately wants to change, and yet has no power to do so. Without her best friend Leslie sees no other option than to basically force someone else into that role, and anyone with friends knows, that’s not how friendship works. (Unless you’re a world-class hypnotist - though in that case you’re probably interesting enough just to make friends normally, stop hypnotizing them. They’ll like you for you).

After Leslie’s crazy tailspin at brunch leaves her with only a sad Shauna Malwae-Tweep, badly in need of some therapy, she heads over to see beautiful Ann and her newborn son Oliver. Ann points out the craziness of Leslie’s ways and reminds her how much her other friends really do care about her in their own way. Although Ann’s right and Leslie sees that she can’t ask Donna or April to be replacement-Ann (and she certainly couldn’t ask Evelyn - her performance at brunch was way below Ann-level), it’s always hard to come to terms with separating from someone close to you. It’s likely that Leslie will move on as the show has; leaning on April for some things, Donna for others, and heading back to Ann once in a nostalgic while. It’s nice that some of the more sideline characters, like Donna and Larry, have gotten the chance to step up in the past few episodes. A change in dynamic, especially after a few years of sameness, can be good for a show. (And though this is a controversial opinion, personally, I will miss Rashida Jones’ presence). Maybe they’ll bring in a new character or two for their now-official seventh season, who knows?

Nice to see that Leslie and Ben have still got the hots for each other. They might not be able to discuss Sandra Bullock’s skirt length, but Leslie still wants to “jump [Ben’s] bones,” so they go do that instead.

Speaking of Ben, he makes a new friend this week, though potentially at the cost of losing all his old ones. Building off of a few weeks ago when Ben and Larry celebrated Ben and Leslie’s one year anniversary, Ben has started to see Larry in a new light. That is, more like a real human and less like the office joke. Although Larry warns Ben about publically admitting that he likes him, Ben does it anyway in a move that causes the whole office to cringe for him, and then cringe at Larry’s resulting farts. It was interesting to see Larry’s side of the constant barrage of jokes at his expense - he lets everyone around him say what they’d like, because it makes them feel better when they can blame him, in part, for their problems. This week at PaleyFest Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur talked about his insistence that Gary/Jerry/Larry have a happy family life, because that’s the only way he could feel alright about the ruthless office teasing. It looks like with the space left by the recent exit of Chris and Ann, they used the opportunity to try and lighten Larry’s load a little more with a friend, or at least an ally, at work. Every once in a while he gets his shining moments, and in this episode Larry gets to be the hero when he discovers code violations for the tent place from which Ben and Tom were trying to procure tents for the unity concert that I quite honestly forgot was happening. Three cheers for Larry! Hip hip -- Larry, did you fart again?!

Ron continues his fatherhood journey as he tries to get some time away from Doc McStuffins (which is apparently a real children’s show), and instead finds himself watching after the 30-year-old child who fell off the monkey bars (aka, Andy Dwyer). Although he wanted some peace and quiet away from his children, he realizes that Diane (who appears in the show less than adults in Charlie Brown TV specials) probably wants some time away too. It was a simple story, but it was nice to see the change in Ron from the every-man-for-himself sort of attitude he’s had, to accepting his role as a caregiver and a partner. It was also a nice reminder that Andy hasn’t changed a bit, nor will he ever do so.

In a piece of exciting news for some and “couldn’t care less” news for others, the show returned to its old format of three acts and a tag, instead of its newer three act + little fourth act structure. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s feels more natural in this form. Anyone else notice or care? Or am I the only one who’s a sucker for tags?

Line of the week goes to Leslie for her desperate attempt to be cool when talking to April: “ What’s the 411 little momma? What’s the hot goss? Who you crushin’ on these days?”

What did you think of the episode? Was it nice to see Ann again, or would you prefer Leslie stay away from her favorite beautiful tropical fish? Do you think Leslie will make a new best friend? My money’s on Ethel Beavers.

About the Author - Kimberly
Kimberly is a college student studying Writing for Film & TV, and a big TV nerd - willing to talk any show, any time. Her tastes are various and sundry, but she’s got a soft spot for comedy. She currently writes the SpoilerTV reviews for Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.


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