Parks and Recreation: That's What Friends Are For

By Michael Svoboda

May 11, 2012

Parks and Recreation S04E22: "Win, Lose, or Draw"


Our dear Leslie was so tired by the end of the city council race that she tried to eat her iPhone. Even with a healthy dose of cream cheese, that was one hard bite. But it didn’t compare to the B, S, and T that Leslie and her team of friends poured into her bid to be the first female city council chairperson in Pawnee history. And beside the fact that she was running against a rich, child-like idiot and a porn star, et al., Leslie (mostly) kept it positive throughout the race and behaved like a true stateswoman. With that preamble, I am happy to report, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, that the winner is…

Wait, this just in... Pawnee is going all topsy-turvy! In true season-finale fashion, "Win, Lose, or Draw" gave us much to ponder over our summer va-cays. Let’s play out a few of the possible future scenarios presented in the episode...

“Officer” Andy Dwyer patrols the streets of Pawnee on his mountain bike. April is strangely attracted to her man in a uniform, but also must contend with the fact that she is now sleeping with the “law”. What’s a punk-rock girl to do? Will Andy make the streets safer or just a little more—how do I put this lightly—simple? Will Burt Macklin make a semi-permanent return and take over Andy’s body, mind, and soul?

Ben moves to Washington and works for cray-cray Jennifer. Could it be Ben’s turn to dream? Did Adam Scott get a better offer? Maybe the show is thinning down the herd to save money? In any case, a happily settled couple is rarely funny. Throwing a wrench in the works of love always makes it more interesting and palatable. I see inappropriate long-distance phone sex in Leslie and Ben’s future.

Ann Perkins and Tom drunkenly vowed to move in together. I see Tom mortgaging a huge McMansion on the outskirts of Pawnee to impress his lady. Will there be mornings in a sunny breakfast nook with our newly cohabitating couple canoodling over coffee and grapefruit halves? Maybe Ann will insist on separate beds, a la I Love Lucy. I give this storyline two episodes into next season to resolve itself, either through mediation or murder.

Jean-Ralphio returns! As happens in these types of city jobs, people tend to move up a notch. Will Jean-Ralphio take the lowest rung and be an everyday fact of life in the Parks office? If the show is going to bring someone back to stay, I vote Jean-Ralphio. Tom is at his most fun when he has a partner in crime.

Hold on... Yes. Yes. We are getting word that... It’s official...

After a recount and much hand wringing, Leslie Knope has won the election!

A surprise indeed. This will make things very interesting for our troop next season as Leslie steps out of the Parks Department and into a position of greater Pawnee power. But what does this mean for the show? It's called Parks and Recreation, not City Council. It will be interesting to see how the writers weave Leslie’s new position into the established fabric of the series.

And can we talk for a second about that lovely moment when Leslie voted for herself? That, dear friends, felt like a “real” moment. A moment we had been leading up to. Win or lose, Leslie had taken the chance, put herself out there, sacrificed much, and achieved her goal, even before she won. Those felt like real (fake) tears, and I for one was touched.

But that seems to be the real shift the show took this season. We saw much less slapstick humor and absurdity, and a lot more heartfelt moments and real-world parallels. Does this make for a better show? I say maybe; the vote is still out on that one. This is an amazing ensemble cast, but I do long for them to have more energetic silliness to play with again. There seemed to be a lot more “speechifying” this season, and a lot less rapid-fire funny. I cast my vote for the comedic gut-punch to return. Maybe this can happen now that the election business is settled.

High Point: It's a tie between the reveal that according to Pawnee law, in the event of a tie, the male will win and the female will be imprisoned. And a true Ron Swanson-ism, “clear liquids are for rich women on diets.”

Low Point: The April/Andy storyline this week. Was there even a chuckle?

Talking Points:

1. Were you surprised that Leslie won?

2. Who’s with me that Parks and Rec should pay Paul Rudd lots of money to stay on the show as Bobby Newport!?

3. Were you surprised that Chris is a “screamer” in bed?

4. Do you think Ben’s days are numbered on the show? How do you want to see the various possible future scenarios play out?

Until next season then, I say… “Dammit Jerry!”

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  • AddieHansen May 13, 2012

    I actually thought Leslie cried in the booth because of what Ben just told her. I may have misinterpreted that.. Anyway I kind of miss the old Parks and Rec, this whole "running for office" storyline has been fun, but let's just say it's not the reason I watch the show. Another thing I really didn't like about this season was the Tom/Ann relationship. It's not credible - Tom looks (and acts) like a freaking 10-year old!

    But overall, Parks and Rec is currently one of my favorite shows on TV, so keep up the good work!!

  • MouseGirl325 May 13, 2012

    1. I wouldn't have been surprised by either result, but I'm happy she won.

    2. I'd love to see Paul Rudd back, but there's no way the show can afford to make him a regular. Bobby is a character probably best seen in small doses anyway.

    3. The only thing that surprises me is that you thought this would make for an interesting talking point.

    4. I certainly hope not! I love Ben as an individual character and Leslie/Ben as a couple. I think he'll just be gone for the first few episodes next season before returning to Pawnee.

  • thorthorsen May 12, 2012

    1. I was surprised she won. As indeed the series is called Parks and Recreation I thought they would return to the Parks department next season, as with the campaign this season there was less action over there.

    2. I would definitely like him to return from time to time.

    3. Chris takes care of his body in an OCD like fashion, so no.

    4. I hope not. They have showed this season they can have a beautiful, sometimes awkward relationship when they are both very busy. I think their long distance relationship could work very well for this show.

    P.S. I love how they ended the season with a "Dammit Jerry!"

  • Ka113 May 12, 2012

    Although a solid episode I found it lacked a bit in the joke department. It was a tad to serious but how much fun can you make of an election?

    In the words of Richard Marx "If Chris Pratt is on the screen, I'm laughing". I really liked the Andy/April part. It was sweet and heartfelt. April let us catch a glimpse behind her mask as she showed she really cared about Parks and Rec. If she didn't she could've just shrugged and walked out of the office instead of hiding under the table. And the character of Andy has been needing a real calling instead of the "just hanging around the office while doing almost no work". I'd like to see him actually become a really really kick-ass cop. I was expecting a bit more on that in this episode looking how they deliberately had cops walking around him during the party. I was so sure he'd go up and talk to one of 'em about going into law-enforcement. Maybe they cut that scene due to time restraints?

  • mad-pac May 12, 2012

    It's funny because in the two previous episodes, I thought we had had an overdose of Andy and his clown antics. But his time he was just right, and in tune with the rest of the cast. I loved it when he said to April in the most assuring voice something like: "First of all, you did the right thing to hide under the table." WHAT???? LOL

  • Tjsmooth0 May 12, 2012

    Andy's list of places to live, including Chicago, the Florida Everglades, the Moon, and Winterfell was pretty awesome.

  • mad-pac May 12, 2012

    Yeah, if I were him I'd be in serious doubt between New Caprica and Winterfell... I had to freeze frame there and take a look at all names.

  • pcsjunior002 May 12, 2012

    -I was a little surprised that Leslie won. But it does show ambition on the part of the writers. It would have been much easier for them to just write her losing.

    -Would love to see more Paul Rudd on the show. Give him the job that Ron decided not to take as a promotion. That would be hilarious.

    -No comment.

    -I like Ben, I do not want his character to go away.

    And I just plain LOVED the April/Andy storyline, I don't know what you're talking about and I laughed a ton. Freeze frame on the list of places to live: "Winterfell, USSR (crossed out)/Russia, Moon, Amazon Village, New Caprica" AWESOME stuff there.

  • KevinG87 May 12, 2012

    apart from Ben leaving (even though they'll probably pick up 5 months later if the show comes back and then he'll visit and move back a few episodes in) and the whole Ann/Tom storyline (which is totally unrealistic), this was one of the best season finales I have ever seen.

  • JustinJohnson9 May 12, 2012

    April/Andy storyline a low point?! Seriously?! They were freakin hilarious!! Especially when Andy tried to repair the computer the way he does his Xbox?!! LMFAO!! Plus, April hugging Donna and April hiding under the table like that would make her safe! LMFAO! There were no low points in this episode at all! Everybody was hilarious! EVERYBODY!! Well done, Parks and Rec!

  • JT_Kirk May 12, 2012

    Sappiest thing I've seen on tv in years. Utterly predictable in every move and almost every joke. And then it stopped trying to be funny at all at the end. I am impressed that they're willing to go beyond the show's chief concepts with these moves, but it does feel a bit like a 3-camera the way they got it there in so few moves.

  • torque_smacky May 12, 2012

    Smell my feet.

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