Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 21: Swing Vote
– Posted by Sage
Ron and Leslie, you guys. If Leslie/Ann is the lady friendship against to measure all other TV lady friendships, Ron/Leslie set a similarly high bar for friendships between colleagues.
In “Swing Vote,” these two went toe to toe again, this time to decide on the fate of the Pawnee Palms Public Put-Put. You’d be hard pressed to find another pair this evenly matched in determination and idealism, which makes for a stiff competition. Ron sees the course as a drain on the taxpayer and has proposed cutting it completely, while Leslie sees it as a public service that enriches the community and, of course, seeks to save it. The other City Council members are divided, which makes our pal Jeremy Jamm the swing vote. Just like Kevin Costner! (That was a thing, right?)
Leslie’s savviness has a limit. This first year in City Council, she’s been surprised to uncover (gasp!) a deep well of cronyism and corruption (mild as it is) in local politics. And when she has her heart set on an outcome, she finds herself engaging in the same questionable behavior as her less savory colleagues. Do the ends justify the means? Ron doesn’t think so. He calls Leslie out on her schmoozing and borderline bribery (via snow cones and mylar balloons, of course) of Jamm. He gives speeches about principles and ethics until Leslie is ready to take him out with the fat Hawaiian guy’s putter. But after Jamm promises his vote to Ron and then comes to her ready to re-sell it, she realizes that she’s become a part of cycle. We’re all dreaming of Knope 2020, but could it be possible that Leslie isn’t cut out for this line of work?
Leslie goes to Ron’s office to apologize, and it’s one of my favorite scenes ever between them. She confesses that she thought that political conflicts would be more like dealing with Ron – people having strong opinions and hashing them out until they reach a compromise. Or, until someone gets hungry and gives up. She also says that Ron’s principles drive her completely nuts, but also that they are one of the reasons she loves and respects him so much. Somewhere in that yellow head, she knew that using gifts to influence Jamm was wrong – that’s why she was so frustrated with Ron calling her out. Ron never lets Leslie off the hook, because he knows who she is and what she’s capable of. Now, that’s a mentor.
Andy is dealing with his own unwritten code, when he finds out that Burley and the rest of Mouserat have been performing without him. Yes, Ratmouse is gigging and Andy accidentally stumbles on them at celebratory drinks with April and his boss and reluctant DD, Ben.
When confronted, the guys tell him that they’ve been trying to get a hold of him. He’s just been so busy with his job that he hasn’t made rehearsals. After a somewhat triumphant solo performance (a “swan song” where Andy=a swan), Andy gives up music. He equates being a successful adult – and he is successful at this Sweetums Foundation thing – with letting go of the passions that keep you from leaping out of any open window. (“I don’t need the stress of playing guitar with my friends a few times a week.”) Luckily, he’s got April, who – even though Mouserat hardly compares to German Death Reggae in her mind – reminds him how much he loves his band and encourages him to apologize and ask to be let back in. Mouserat lives, now with two lead singers!
Finally this week, Jenny Slate as Mona Lisa Saperstein is back. Jean Ralphio’s sister is still dating Tom, though Tom is beginning to fear for his own safety. Jean Ralphio is harmless (annnnnd hot), but Mona Lisa is 10000% crazytown bananapants. Tom offers ex-gf Ann (remember that?) his very favorite blanket, Chenille O’Neal, if she will break up with Mona Lisa for him. Mona Lisa impassively pulls out a screwdriver when Ann introduces herself, and the night pretty much proceeds from there: Mona Lisa dumps Tom for being a “poorsie,” becomes best friends with Ann, gives Ann a dirt and glitter makeover, reconsiders Tom, catches Ann and Tom “making out,” and then, because what else would you do in this situation, suggests they have a threesome. When Ann says no, she propositions a willing blond. Best night of Tom’s life? Well, it would have been if Mona Lisa hadn’t gotten into a fight with the girl in the parking lot, smashed her car window, and stole all her birth control pills.
Ke$ha has already optioned the rights.
- Leslie tells Ron she is “rage-glowing,” not “rage-sweating.” Hmmm, glowing, you say? Could that be because of a little baby Knope-Wyatt?
- “Calm down, Ann. You’re proving my point.”
- I don’t know why I found this so funny, but I laughed for about two minutes when Jamm was bragging on the phone about bagging a “dead ringer for Courtney Thorne Smith.”
- Since when is Chris Traeger my favorite character? From little comic moments like his treatise on caddying to heartfelt speeches like his bucking up of failed policeman Andy, Rob Lowe has just been killing this season.
- “How did i not know that Diddy was on Instagram, you jagweeds?”
- Who DOESN’T love Bette Midler? Show yourselves.
- Leslie trying to psyche out Ron at the last hole: “Bean sprouts, tofu, Ralph Nader. Ayn Rand is a terrible writer.”
- Favorite callbacks: Donna’s crush on Andy (her face when he came into the office in a suit); Tom’s blanket (Ann’s most treasured memory of their relationship); and Andy’s obsession with bird imagery in his songwriting (“This is my swaaaan song, watch me FLY.”)
Upfronts are coming up soon, my friends! NBC has already announced their drama renewals, so we wait and cross our fingers for a 6th season with my precious babies. But, when the end eventually comes, we can be confident that their swan song will be just as majestic as Andy’s.