Parks and Recreation
Season 6, Episode 10: Second Chance, Producer’s Cut
– Posted by Sage
“Don’t be the kid that graduates high school, hangs out in the school parking lot. Be the woman who moves away, climbs the ladder, and then confidently comes back and has sex with her hot, old English teacher just for kicks.”
So adviseth Jennifer Barkley, campaign consultant and power broker, whose time is worth so much more than yours.
No, the recall vote wasn’t a sketchy beef-fueled bad dream after a particularly disgusting night out at Paunch Burger. It really happened, and now Leslie is mournfully showing Ingrid De Forest where she sits in Council chambers and advising her always to be facing Councilman Dexhart, lest a photo of her lower back show up on the Twitter account @LeeHarveyTeabag. She’s been pushed out of the nest, and we’ve all been there.
If we were stronger, more secure humans – which we’re not, being humans and all – the first instinct after the unceremonious shove would be to stretch those wings and fly up the hell out of that bitch. But it’s not. The first instinct is to scramble back up, scraping and clawing our way back into the nest and hopefully be rewarded with some regurgitated worms. I now realize I have taken this analogy too far, and so I will stop. The point is that Leslie, as she always does, has trouble letting go. No sooner has she completed her stages of grief, which include internet commenting and watching every episode of Murphy Brown, than she’s decided that she knows just the way to reinstall herself in that cozy nest. (Sorry…I tried.)
Councilman Dexhart aka Enrique Shockwave aka Anthony Wiener is the key, Leslie decides, as he’s proudly taken his most recent sex scandal public. (“I totally did all of it.”) And maybe he is prime to be taken down by someone who is intelligent and blond and loves Ben Wyatt, but he also plays dirty, and not just when he’s tex-mexting (“where you send photos of your junk from the restroom of a Chili’s To-Go.”). Leslie’s announcement to the campaign team who were falling over themselves, quite literally (“Get on your feet!”) to help her the last time is met first with silence. This isn’t a well-thought out plan, it is, though Leslie protests, “the work of a desperate woman.” She’s considering buying an apartment in Dexhart’s “racoon shanty-town” district. Her home-made campaign posters look like ransom notes. This run would, as April predicts, turn Leslie into the Joker. And nobody’s on board.
Meanwhile Ben, who’s been struggling with what to give as a “sorry you lost your job” gift, hits it out of the park twice. Knowing that Leslie will a.) steamroll the opinions of her reluctant friends and b.) said friends will commit to working on her campaign if that’s what Leslie wants, Benji brings in Jen. Jen, who sees the big picture; Jen, who “doesn’t care enough” about Leslie to lie. One of Leslie’s shortcomings is that things get foggy when she tries to look beyond Pawnee. Jen reminds her that there are other ways to affect a community than from within. Pawnee may be the greatest town in the world, but it’s not the only one. Leslie Knope for Congress, so she can improve Pawnee and another hundred towns just like it. “This is my dream job,” Leslie says. “Dream bigger,” Jen counters. Boom.
So Leslie drags poor Perd Hapley out of his studio for nothing, as her press conference turns into an announcement of her plans to go to J.J.’s with Ben and then make out with him on his face. (And if I had a Ben Wyatt, I’d do the same.) And little Benji Wyatt who got his adorable butt kicked in his second mayoral race is proud of his wife for graciously walking away. So proud that he takes her to Paris to see the bridge from Inception (“I feel…destiny?”) and give us a sickeningly adorable montage, complete with Mike Schur cameo. P.S. Tumblr has confirmed that the Beslie lock is still there, so I will choose to believe that these people are real.
All the while, the most symmetrical baby Dr. Saperstein has ever seen is still cooking in Ann Perkins, and do you think Domino’s delivers to this restaurant? With Chris and Ann, we get the inevitable “finding out the sex of the baby” sitcom storyline, massively improved by the presence of Jean Ralphio, who’s got a proposition for both of these fine specimens.
Jean Ralphio and his daddy have matching pajamas and Chris and Ann are having a little baby boy with an acorn penis. Everything just feels right.
I wished earlier this season that Tom would be integrated back into the Parks department, and thanks to the half evil, half lovable Dr. Saperstein, my dreams are coming true. Rent-a-Swag is officially bought out. And Tom, ever in motion, is ready to invest his skrill in the next big idea. But after soliciting pitches Shark Tank-style for really boring inventions like a phone-bacus and a source of clean, renewable energy (“Dammit, Jerry!”), he’s back at square one, half-heartedly pitching his own idea for a talking tissue dispenser. (“Blow that nose, playa!”) Unlikely success April advises Tom to carve out a place for himself, just like she did. Now Tommy is firmly installed back in the office as Pawnee’s Business Liaison. Hopefully he won’t waste a moment, because time, as we all know, is money.
Happy 100 episodes, Parks! We love you for so many things – The TV Mouse listed 100 of those reasons – and it’s no surprise that you made this milestone episode a transitional moment for characters we love rather than a dumping ground for celebrity cameos. Leslie dreams bigger. You dream bigger. Here’s to 100 more.
- Jet-lagged Andy: “I could be wrong, I haven’t pooped in three days.”
- “Stay away from wine. Wine is crying juice.”
- I love Councilman Dexhart more than anyone should love a lecherous white man in a suit. But I might love his wife more. Might I suggest giving her her own The Good Wife style spin-off?
- “Oh god, Shauna, no.”
- Me making decisions:
- AMY POEHLER IS A GOLDEN GLOBE WINNER, MY FRIENDS. Finally, finally, finally, our queen was recognized for her work on this show. That takes care of one of this world’s injustices. And what super-fan didn’t have a tear in her eye when she shouted out her “Paaaaaarks!” family?
Did the 100th live up to your expectations, readers? What do you think is Leslie’s next move? Leave it in the comments!