Posted by Sage
Leslie Knope has never been one to give up easily.
With National Parks and Gryzzl going head-to-head as Newport’s final contenders for the land they’ve put up for bid, Leslie is the dog with the proverbial bone. No stone is too small or weird or insignificant to remain unturned; she’s on a mission to find some kind of geographical/historical/anthropological evidence to support the preservation of the family’s fancy acreage. The creeping decrease in the population of Indiana Brown Ants won’t do the trick, nor will an impassioned plea by the Reasonalists. (“Hail, Zorp.”) Leslie decides that victory will come to her via Indiana’s own Ol’ Tippecanoe. Yes, William Henry Harrison – “Barely a President” – is a local boy and once owned a hunting lodge that stood on the land in question. Leslie wastes no time in throwing her boundless manic energy into fluffing this connection up enough to make it feel even a little relevant.
Leslie is a champion of lost causes. So much so that, during the course of this series, she’s nearly had to be dragged by her friends – kicking and screaming – away from projects that threaten to take over her life and leave her depleted. And that’s why it’s so painful to see her be as finished she is with Ron Swanson. Leslie, who can find the William Henry Harrison in anything, can’t find anything in this relationship worth salvaging. Or maybe it would hurt too much to try and then fail.
This stalemate is breaking Ben Wyatt. Ron and Leslie’s vow of avoidance sends Ben (and newly minted notary public Terry) literally around in circles, as they try to wrangle the ex-friends’ signatures for some point-of-sale paperwork. But much like the legendary Shailene Woodley/Morgan Freeman beef, this one is leaving emotional turmoil in its wake. It’s also just plain inconvenient. To not see someone – in a town this small – requires a lot of pre-planning and footwork that leave poor Ben exhausted and confused. Where’s his Pawnee family? I think it distresses him to see them splintered. And I’m willing to bet that he can tell the difference between a Leslie who counts steady Ron among her most trusted advisers and the one without regular access to Swanson wisdom.
Ron and Leslie even each other out. They soften each other’s edges. They’re like those organisms that need each other to co-exist. Without their respective checks, both of them have just become more them. Ron has retreated back into himself. He’s made sure his only “work proximity associates” are ones he won’t be in any danger of forming an attachment to. (Like Roscoe, the VP of Cool New Shizz.) And Leslie has gone Full Leslie, psychotically clinging to the Newport land and dragging her team along with her. She’s latched her star onto Pawnee historian Bill Hagerty, author of a book so boring the description alone made Andy cry.
Per Bill’s WHH revelation, disappointment after disappointment threaten Leslie’s relentless positivity. The only signs that a historic hunting lodge once stood on that land are a few rocks, a bag of old cheeseburgers, and Harrison’s old wig, which has gone a little stiff. Undeterred, Leslie sets her sights on the town’s museum to the dead president, and it’s the kind of bizarre, useless landmark that only an April Ludgate-Dwyer could love.
Strapped for content, the museum features such exhibits as “If He’d Worn A Coat” (postulating that The Wire would have gotten its Emmy due if only Harrison had served more than nine months) and “Other Things That Were Famous For A Month” (the Harlem Shake, Joe the Plumber). There isn’t much for Leslie to scrounge for besides a giant tin and paper ball that Harrison’s supporters rolled down country roads during his campaign. (Yes, we can!) April, meanwhile, sees another opportunity to find her passion. Unfortunately – for her and for them – all of the museum’s employees are volunteers. Her destiny is not to be curator of this cabinet of (barely) curiosities.
April isn’t alone in her quest. As Kim eloquently wrote about last week, Ben has already offered his support. This week, Andy steps up. And nails it.
Andy has been through this murky time before. (Never forget his sweet, sad, determined face when Chris promised him that they would figure his life out together.) He found his passions thanks to friends who believed in him, especially his wife. April encouraged Andy not to give up music, and not to be so tied to his high school idea of being a cool rock star that he ignore the gift he has for being adored by children. Andy owned the stage at the height of the 2014 Unity Concert – a turning point for the whole town. And he didn’t let that moment go to waste. His advice to April is simple, but judging by the look on her face, it might be just the kind of simplicity she needs. Instead of pursuing her short lists of likes (dogs, birthmarks), she should figure out why she likes those things and add a new specialty to her repertoire. I can imagine that April’s true calling was a much-discussed topic in the writers room, so I’m expecting a monumental resolution. No pressure.
Never to be outdone, and certainly not by anyone as square as Leslie Knope, Gryzzl aims to heighten its profile even further to impress the selection committee. They’ve got the cash and the (possibly sentient and murderous) products, what they need is some celebrity cache. A short list composed by Tom is a who’s-who of Pawnee, including Derry Murbles, Pistol Pete, and a mini-horse lucky enough to resemble ‘Lil Sebastian. The big get would be Annabelle Porter, tastemaker, angora-toothbrush user, and even more powerful in a future that predicts a new Pulitzer category for “listicles.” So while Leslie nearly bursts a blood vessel trying to draw a connection between the land and the kind of American History anyone gives a flying fart about, Gryzzl does the same with their brand and Bloosh’s buzz-wordy vapidity. Leslie stands onstage with a tin ball and a bluegrass band, saying nothing of substance. Ron orchestrates Annabelle and the Somebody’s Daughter Dancers doing the same. All of their friends are embarrassed.
Ben has had it. After their knock-down, drag-out at the presentations (“You are the most stubborn person I’ve ever met and I’m never going to change my mind no matter what anybody says.”), Ben dangles Leslie’s greatest hope for her children in front of her if she’ll just go with him to Ron to get the damn signatures. He’s like a kid trying to get his parents back together, except Ben Wyatt would never be so selfish. Pawnee itself can’t survive another year of Ron and Leslie being at odds with one another any more than Game of Thrones can survive another season of Pirates of the Caribbean crossover. Something must be done to bring these fools back to each other, and back to themselves. Drastic times, they say…
To be continued.
- “One day, Magnus. I will wear you as a jacket.”
- I hope Elton John’s lawyers are doing some research on chicken biscuit futures.
- Outside of “breath” tattoos, cursive is useless.
- “Camp Wamapoke, you got a boner! We’ll catch up.”
- Is anybody gonna eat those veggie pizzas, orrrr?
Everything hurts and I’m dying. Kim’s recap of the second half of Thursday’s two-parter (ALL THE CREYS) will be up soon.
Everything hurts and I’m dying. I can’t say goodbye to this show.