Now that Tammy 1 has been sent back to Hell or… wherever she’s from (Indianapolis?), "Parks and Rec" is back on the Knope 2012 campaign. Like every single other politician in the world, Leslie has written a book. Rather than write about what a wonderful visionary she is (again, like every single other politican in the world), Leslie has written a comprehensive history of Pawnee… with her picture on the cover for some reason.
To promote the book, Leslie is making the Pawnee media rounds—apparently opting out of her favorite radio show Crazy Ira and The Douche for classier pastures, a goofball hyper-liberal public radio show hosted by… Dan Castellaneta? Huh. Glad to see that he’s getting some extra work in light of the recent woes from the cast of The Simpsons, but anyway—digression. Things seem to be going well for Leslie until her appearance on that beacon of hack journalism, Pawnee Today, when host Joan Calamazzo reveals to all that, contrary to what her book says, Leslie was not, in fact, born in Pawnee. GOTCHA!
After the smoke clears and the Gotcha Dancers leave the stage, the hapless yokels of Pawnee demand, of course, to see Leslie’s long form birth certificate. Frustrated, Leslie enlists Chris and Andy—excuse me, Bert Macklin, FBI—to help settle matters by heading to *shudders* Eagleton to raid the hall of records. It’s a funny bit over all, one that allows for some choice physical comedy from Andy (can anyone hop over a desk quite like him?) and mines Leslie’s vindictive side against the much hated neighboring town.
But what started off as a goofy send-up of the birther movement takes a turn when Leslie finds out that, because of an unfortunate raccoon infestation at Pawnee General when her mother was in labor, Miss Pawnee Spirit was actually born in *gags* Eagleton.
Leslie changes her mind often about most subjects, but if there’s one thing that’s been consistent about her is her undying love of Pawnee, Indiana. The news of her alien birth is devastating, and Leslie worries that it means the end of her political career. Ron, of course, disagrees. “The only thing voters need to know about you is your name, and even that I go back and forth on.” But it’s Chris who puts the situation into perspective for her. Where your born doesn’t matter, it's a piece of trivia, it’s where you’re from that matters to voters.
Energized by Chris, Leslie gets back on Pawnee Today and gives a heartfelt apology for accidentally misleading the people of Pawnee, and proves her Pawneeness with anecdotes about breaking her arm behind the rubber nipple factory, and how she went to school with the show’s pants-peeing, woodchip smelling producer. This season’s quota for stirring speeches from Miss Knope might already be at capacity, but that seems like kind of silly thing to complain about when they’re delivered with so much heart. The episode closes with Leslie reading from her book, a love letter to a goofball town with some pretty good waffles, maybe even the best. As for her and Ben? Well, their relationship was never mentioned in this episode save for one single, heart-wrenching glance they share in the office at the tail end of the episode.
Speaking of romance, Joan Callamazzo got a divorce! Bad news for flirty Tom Haverford, who may have to finally cash in on the creepy, cutesy relationship he’s built with the TV host over the years. With Ben in tow, Tom takes Joan out to dinner to persuade the host to allow Leslie’s book into her Oprah-esqe book club (I forgot to mention that detail earlier), but Joan clearly has other things in mind. Dirty… gross, sexy things with Tom and Ben.
I like that now that Tom’s flirting has come back to haunt him he immediately puts it upon Ben to solve the problem for him. Urging Ben to talk about something nerdy to throw cold water on the mood. Ben responds flatly by bringing up that they’re making a sequel to Star Trek, pauses and then goes on a too-thought-out rant against Spock and Urhura’s flimsy relationship in the first of Abrams’ Star Trek (“Let’s just say the message boards are going nuts.”). But even Ben’s nerd powers aren’t enough to cool Joan’s libido, who drunkenly propositions both of them. Rather than run for the hills, Ben and Tom, being the nice guys they are take Joan home and put her to bed—her bed in her bedroom full of nude velvet paintings of herself.
Then, finally, the C-plot, or as we should probably start calling it “whatever Anne is doing.” Anne’s plot involved her attempt at sparking a conversation with the two people in the Parks department who have never given her the time of day: Ron and April. The gumpy pair’s rapid-fire rejections of Anne’s small talk were a riot (“Hey April, I was looking to get some new music and I was wondering if you could recommend anything.” “The internet.”; to Ron:“You’re stranded on a desert island what is the one thing you bring with you?” “Silence.”). Anne does eventually crack the two of them, drawing both of them in with a gross medical story.
Anne has really fallen behind the rest of the cast this season, with the writers giving her crumbs of storylines to work with. I feel the same way about Chris, who played a larger role in this episode, but overall I think that both of them are starting to fill the role that Mark played in season two… and we all saw where Mark went (Mark isn’t on the show anymore, if that needs any clarification)
“I really like your hair cut, where’d you get it?” “Prison.”
Gothaaaa don’t it hurtchaaa
“Now I can get some real work done” *pulls out stick to whittle*
“Is she going to powder her vagina?”
“Anne was getting too chummy. When people get too chummy with me, I call them by the wrong name to let them know I really don’t care about them.”