Parks and Rec: Congratulations Are in Order

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Leslie Knope wasn’t the only one surprised by the startling events of Thursday’s Parks and Recreation: I went into the episode blind and was stunned by the turn it took. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch before reading this. It’s on Hulu. I’ll wait.

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So, yes, April and Andy got married. At first it struck me as a terrible idea—both for the characters and for the show. But as the episode progressed, I warmed up to the couple’s adorable thoughtlessness and came to appreciate Parks and Rec’s ability to casually slip in a major milestone event. When was the last time you saw a wedding on TV that wasn’t hyped to death? There’s something really refreshing about being caught off guard.

While I’m not confident the April-Andy marriage is going to last, it makes sense for the characters. They’re both very much in love with each other—and have been for some time—and they both make really poor decisions. Andy is kind of a lovable oaf: It figures that he wouldn’t think marriage through. He acts first and deals with the consequences later. April is clearly the brains of the operation, but she’s also apathetic enough to roll with whatever comes her way. She greeted Andy’s half-proposal with a shrug, so they went through with it. Because, why not?

And there is something romantic about being impulsive. April and Andy are two kids in love doing a stupid thing. (And it’s not having an oops baby, so points there!) These two provide the perfect counterpoint to Leslie, who is so aggressively rational that she can’t get anything done without making a pros and cons list. At the end of the episode, Leslie was able to ask Ben to stay in Pawnee, precisely because she saw how well April and Andy’s free-thinking worked out.

The episode also provided some of the sweetest moments we’ve seen on Parks and Rec, made all the more poignant by the fact that we didn’t see them coming. I’m not even gonna front—I got misty as soon as April told Leslie that she loved her. Who knew someone so dour had it in her? I even thought the vows the couple exchanged were emotionally satisfying, in addition to being hilarious.

Kudos to Parks and Recreation for doing something so unexpected, and to NBC for airing the episode without a barrage of “guess who’s getting married!” promos. [Ed. note: Apparently many viewers were accidentally spoiled by a teaser that aired several weeks ago after a mix-up in the NBC promo department. If, like us, you didn't blissfully miss said teaser and knew about the nuptials before the episode aired, check out show co-creator Mike Schur's apologetic explanation at Hitfix.] It was important that the audience experience what Leslie felt—that initial sense of “WTF?!” followed by, “Hey, this actually kind of makes sense.” And it’s nice to know a series can still do something like this without using it as a ratings ploy. April and Andy got married because they felt like it, not because Parks and Rec needed a surefire way to bring in new viewers.

Now that April and Andy are happily wed, I can concentrate on my other ship, Leslie and Ben. Seriously, Leslie is long overdue for a serious relationship; her brief stints with cop Dave and lawyer Justin hardly count. I want to see Leslie make it work with someone— and then spend several seasons of Parks and Recreation planning the wedding.

What did you think of April and Andy’s surprise wedding? Can these two crazy kids make it work?

Follow writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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