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Parks and Recreation - Episode 6.06 & 6.07 - Filibuster & Recall Vote - Review

Since we were blessed with a double helping of Parks this week (albeit after a mini-hiatus, but it’s fine, I’m over it NBC. just kidding, I’ll never forget), this is a combo review. Bear with me if it gets confusing and long-winded. Who are we kidding? It’s me, I can tell you know it’ll be long-winded. Buckle up folks, let’s do this.

It’s hard to face the reality that you might never get any higher, better, farther, than you are right now, no matter how hard you try, and no matter how much you want it. Leslie comes face to face with that question in “Recall Vote” after finding out the townspeople she served decided they didn’t want her fighting for them anymore. This whole first arc of the season has followed Leslie as she encountered this resistance, and yet even in her disappointment kept doing what she believed in. (Soon-to-be-Former) Councilwoman Knope has nothing if not her steadfast beliefs, which is why she sacrifices her time and comfort, and ultimately her city council seat, in order to insure that everyone of voting age in the newly-expanded Pawnee will have the right to vote. Luckily, this episode seemed to be the beginning of pulling Leslie out of her out personal pit of despair (see what I did there?), and bring back some of her optimistic pluck. But first she gets hammered.

DRUNK BEN AND LESLIE ARE FUN. Which leads me to my next point of discussion, the other half of the Leslie Knope Emotional Support Task Force, Ann Perkins. Ann hasn’t done too much since she announced to Leslie that she was planning on leaving Pawnee, so it was nice to see this sweet moment between the best friends. Although Ben and Ann both committed to keeping Leslie’s spirits high, Drunk Leslie managed to pull Ben down with her, as he realizes he might have peaked when he was 18, leaving Ann to do the real work. She helps Leslie in the only way she can - by having Leslie help Leslie. (She also sends Ben away, saying “Wyatt, walk it off” - which gave the illusion that they were players on the same team. Which they are. Team Leslie.)

Leslie (drunkenly) reads Ann’s sweet note aloud to herself, acknowledging the hard truth that she was voted out of office, and the truth that she’s an “unstoppable force of energy.” The mutual support between Ann and Leslie throughout the past 6 years of their friendship has been so fun to watch, and this episode was a little bittersweet as it served as a sad reminder that the position of Leslie’s best friend will be vacant come early next year. While Ben and Leslie’s relationship is wonderful, you “never send a husband to do a best friend’s job,” and I’m sure there will be a noticeable absence of this best friend - but for now, let all of us enjoy that poetic land mermaid while she’s still here.

Ron had some great little stories in these episodes. Although the main focus was obviously on Leslie as her future hang in the balance, Parks always does a good job of utilizing the whole ensemble, and these episodes were no exception. “Filibuster” had a fun, and weird, little story with Ron, Donna, and a deer hunting game at the roller rink. As Ron predictably goes to show Donna how to really hunt in the game, he found that he was horrible at the game. So of course they actually head out and go hunting, catch some game and eat it by the fire. The best part? They’re still in their early-90s attire. And then they head back to the roller rink with blood on them (“don’t worry, it’s not human”) so Ron can beat the game and mark his Top 10 score with the initials: A-S-S. Oh giggly Ron Swanson, you never cease to amuse.

In “Recall Vote” Ron helped Tom out by trying to get him into “Bloosh”* - as Ron’s chair made it into the trendsetting web mag. This mentoring side of Ron is a nice reminder that while he does look out for himself and hates most people, he’ll look out for those that he cares about - even if it means talking to a crazy woman who speaks in a pretentious whisper while claiming that her family eats “food teases” every two hours instead of meals.  Any contrast with pop culture/slang/technology and Ron is always amusing, and this “Bloosh” story provided some lighter moments to offset Leslie’s drunken spiraling.

Ron and Donna are a great, and rare, pairing on the show, as they are sometimes as different as can be (regarding glamor and consumerism) and very similar (“don’t give a ****” attitude) - both of which were showcased in this double feature of episodes.

(*So “Bloosh” = “Goop” right? It amuses me to no end that a small, though admittedly very ritzy, town like the (former) Eagleton has its very own trendsetter. Though Annabelle Porter was a phonebook model, so we really shouldn’t be surprised at her success.)

April and Andy’s relationship has come so far over the course of the series, and it was nice to see them together for an episode (“Filibuster”), and sad to see April so downcast as she missed her husband (“Recall Vote”). She gave Andy a convincing pep talk (yes, April Ludgate gave a pep talk), about how nobody really knows what they’re doing, and encourages him to get back to London. There were lots of sacrifices in these episodes, and April giving up some of her happiness to support her husband was one of them. Her longing for Andy in “Recall Vote” meant that her emotions were almost as accessible as normal people’s, and she even commented that Ann and Chris were cute - although taking it back of course once their love became too cloying for her.

One of the great aspects of Parks and Recreation (and there are many) is that it is never afraid to move forward and change. None of the characters are in the same place they were in first season, or even last season. April used to be a disinterested college intern and now she’s happily married and slightly more interested as she runs the Animal Control Department. Ben transitioned from slightly grumpy budget slasher, to successful campaign manager, then head of a large (candy) charity, and of course Leslie’s soulmate. Garry (formerly known as Jerry) is now called Larry. And Leslie’s bounced from project to project, only growing in ambition as she campaigned and won a seat in the Pawnee City Council.

Not only is the show not afraid of change, but they’re not afraid of failure. Andy didn’t get the job in the police department, Ben lost his job for his relationship, Tom’s businesses continuously fail, and Leslie Knope was voted out of office as a City Councilor of Pawnee. In Parks, the problem isn’t failing to achieve your dreams, it’s failing to try - something of which Leslie Knope will never be accused. Now with only 30 days to wrap up her projects as City Councilor, Leslie will try to get as much done before that final buzzer. And after that, I’m sure Leslie will have another goal, another dream that she won’t trying to achieve. I can’t wait to see what that is.

I’m sorry if I left out anyone’s favorite part - this show is too jam-packed (or should I say “Jamm-packed”? I shan’t.), to cover everything. What was your favorite part? Are you sad for Leslie, or happy to see her try and start something new?

Waffle Toppings:
- Even Larry’s onboard with his new moniker, correcting Andy when he unknowingly calls him “Jerry.”
- Nadia + Tom are actually adorable together - it’s weird to see Tom as a normal person, but at the same time, I like it.
- Ingrid de Forest made a brief reappearance, complimenting Leslie on her filibuster (not her forceful urination), and letting her know that she’s been nominated for City Council against Leslie - hopefully this (and Kristen Bell) will come back.
- Ben’s thing for girls on roller skates - and Leslie’s suggestion for how to make up for missing his birthday party.
- Andy’s idea that the moon over London is NOT the same moon over Pawnee. Obviously.
- Leslie’s tattoo ideas: portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt (tastefully done) who herself has a tattoo of Pat Benatar, and then “just write Ben.”
- Westley and Buttercup Halloween costumes? Yes.

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