Parks and Recreation: That's What Friends Are For

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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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