Parks and Recreation
Season 6, Episode 17: Galentine’s Day
Posted by Sage
My phone will now autocorrect “Valentine’s” to “Galentine’s.” My phone knows what’s up.
Leslie Knope’s official celebration of ladies and their lady business (actual business, not downstairs business) has become a part of my personal holiday calendar. Leslie and friends celebrate it on February 13th to leave room for all that icky couple stuff the next day. But I’m not married to Ben Wyatt. Not even a little bit. So my Galentine’s takes place right on the 14th. I’d even settle for someone who could fill out a striped crewneck sweater like Ben Wyatt, by the way.
And we need Galentine’s. Not to stave off loneliness or because the prosecco washes away our Sylvia Plath head-in-oven fantasies, but to toast each other. As far as I’m concerned, Barney Stinson’s Desperation Day, “where a Ten has the self esteem of a Four and the depraved enthusiasm of a Two,” isn’t a real thing. I’ve yet to see any of my single friends fall apart at a mere date on the calendar.
The G-Day brunch debuted in Parks season 2 – last week’s is the second episode to carry this title – as the “Lilith Fair minus the angst and plus frittatas.” Leslie’s admiration of her gender is so wide and welcoming, it envelopes women from all parties, stages of history, and levels of fame. If you’re awesome, Leslie appreciates you. April Ludgate and Hillary Clinton are equal treasures as far as she’s concerned.
Which is why it’s so disconcerting to watch Leslie abuse something so pure. Ann Perkins hasn’t been Taken, or even Taken 2 (“That’s exactly what they’d make you say.”), but she’s still away, and kind of busy giving birth to her child. So she’s not available talk Sandra Bullock skirt length or to snap Leslie out of it and remind her that whipping up an impromptu Galentine’s Day to covertly rank the other women in her life is a gross idea. Look how excited Donna got at the very prospect of the party! What would St. Galentine’s think?
No one can take the place of Ann – not April, not Donna, not Shauna Mulwae-Tweep, not even Ethel Beavers (“a dark horse”), and certainly not Fake Ann. But she’s not gone forever. Ann is still in Leslie’s life, happy to patiently talk out her best friend’s problems even though she just squeezed a baby out of her hoo-ha and maybe it should be her turn now. Leslie’s not doing herself any favors by trying to force her other friends into an Ann-shaped hole. They love her “crazy ass” too and it’s not fair for her make them feel like second-class companions. She’s alienating them and ignoring the unique gifts they bring to the table. Gifts that not even Ann may have. She’s not perfect after all – she almost bought a toe ring the other day.
Ben also gets schooled in proper friendship this week. The magic weaved by Boy’s Day Out is still in the air, and Ben has a newfound appreciation for Larry. We end up in some sort of She’s All That/Can’t Buy Me Love situation, where Ben secretly values the big guy and Larry (SOUL CRUSH) lets him keep up appearances in front of the rest of the cool kids. The Jerry/Larry/Garry joke has been stretched mighty thin through six seasons; it’s a relief to have someone recognize what a good, solid person he is and finally stand up for him. No, literally: Ben stood up for him. On a chair. Dead Poet’s style.
My Ron and Andy feels center was already quite tender after “New Slogan,” and this week’s B-story just made it worse. I don’t care that his kid is still a newborn, Ron Swanson has always been a dad. It’s a responsibility that he thinks he needs to escape from every so often, but finds he just doesn’t want to. In theory, Ron believes in free will and making your own mistakes. But he can’t sit idly by and watch Andy ruin his smile just because he’s got the long-term vision of the average Doc McStuffin‘s groupie. On behalf of all the members of Concerned Citizens Who Need Chris Pratt to Get an Emmy, thanks Ron.
We take responsibility for people we love, not because we have to or because we don’t trust them, but because we’ll all better off that way. So Ron calls Andy “Andrew” and makes him – figuratively – take his medicine. It’s his job. He’s a parent. He’s always on duty.
- “Awww, babe! You’ve gone crazy.”
- Ben let Tom stop by his storage unit before the tent meeting to get his “straighforward deal fedora.” Ben is a good man.
- Mini-Human Giant reunion with Aziz and Rob Huebel as Harvey, the man monopolizing Indiana’s tent industry.
- “It costs extra to have people inside the tents? And what’s a ‘flap tax’?”
- “I found all three differences.” “Those are two completely different pictures.”
- “I’ve gotten two annulments: one for pleasure and one to cap off a long con I was running against Keith Sweat.”
- Tweeping Up Appearances. Who hurt you, Shauna?
- “Though there is a tiny part of me that always thought it was Chris talking into a mirror.” I now accept this theory, because it makes moments like this bizarrely make sense: “We’re both in serious relationships now You have Leslie and I have my therapist, Dr. Richard Nygard, who I see 15 times a week.”
- Welcome, Oliver Perkins Traeger! Sorry about your lack of screentime, but this isn’t really about you.
- “Let me just wolf down this peanut brittle real quick.”
- Okay, but the rule of the Friday Night Lights fandom is that you have your ultimate guy but love all the rest too. Being judgey of Tim Riggins? I’m surprised at you, Leslie.
- “Sweaty Roger’s Pants Tent.”
- “Also, I’m the Zodiac Killer.”
We can’t be the only Parks fans inspired to celebrate our own Galentine’s Day. (Friendly reminder that we spent our last one with My Future Wife Billie Piper). How do you mark this lady-centric holiday? Let us know in the comments!