Parks and Recreation

Season 4 Episode 11

The Comeback Kid

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jan 12, 2012 on NBC

Episode Recap

The Comeback Kid


The episode opens with Leslie choosing Ann as her new campaign manager. Ann admits that she has no experience or know-how in running a campaign and recommends Ben since he won an election for Mayor at age 18. Leslie thinks that publicly associating herself with Ben is a bad idea since her affair with him is the reason her campaign has taken such a bad turn already. Ann accepts the job.


Now that Ben is unemployed since he resigned in disgrace to protect Leslie, he is trying to find ways to occupy his time around the house. While reading a book, a three-legged dog limps into the living room. April and Andy enter and explain that they adopted the dog, whose name is Champion. The couple enjoy bringing this dog with them everywhere throughout the episode. Meanwhile Chris comes by the house to check on Ben. Ben is very excited about several projects he has been doing with his free time, like making low-fat calzones for a business venture and a Claymation video. Chris reads through all of these distractions and sees that Ben is depressed; the next step is to get Ben to admit it to himself. Ben insists that he is not depressed and wants to show Chris the amazing work of his Claymation movie. However the video is only two seconds long. Ben can't believe that there is not more to the video since he's been working on it for three weeks, and realizes he needs to be doing something else with his life. Chris makes Ben an herbal smoothie and gives him a pep talk.


Leslie and Ann strategize about their new campaign slogan and decide that everyone loves a good comeback story. The Parks department crew is holding a rally for Leslie's relaunch at the Pawnee Sports Center the next day. April is in charge of renting the venue, Ron will build the stage, Tom is adding a red carpet for a sense of luxury, and Jerry will handle inviting the voters. Also there is a surprise endorsement from a local Pawnee celebrity - Pistol Pete, who did a game-winning slam dunk when he was in high-school and became a local sports hero.


On the day of the rally, Ron rents a truck to haul the lumber he needs to build the stage. April, Andy, Tom, and Champion all pile into the truck's cab with him to go to the Sports Center. Andy is having a great time and blasts the truck horn for fun, which gets them all pulled over by a cop car. Ron in his libertarian attitude is respectful to the policeman but does not think they deserve to be pulled over. The cop outlines that the number of passengers exceeds the number of seatbelts, which none of them are wearing, they were speeding and blasting the horn through a hospital zone, debris is falling out the back of the truck, and Ron does not have a commercial license to drive the truck. April calls Leslie on her cell phone to notify her that the team is about to be arrested.


The crew need Pistol Pete to dunk at the rally, but when he shows up at Ann's house to go to the event, he tells Ann and Leslie that he is tired of being known as an athlete and wants everyone to stop talking about the slam dunk. He'll give his endorsement as a citizen, but not as Pistol Pete. Leslie gets the phone call from April and leaves Ann to convince Pete to dunk at the rally. Ann lends a sympathetic ear and Pete talks about his life.


Leslie charms the officer and promises to pay all the fines. He says he'll let them go for the day, but he can't overlook that none of them are licensed to drive the hauling truck. The team have to make do with whatever lumber they can take in other cars.


Before the event is ready to start Leslie asks her team how everything is going. April reveals that the venue is no longer a basketball court, but an ice rink. Ron only had enough lumber to build a tiny platform instead of a whole stage and no stairs to get onto it. Leslie's banner is only a strip of canvas with a photo of her eyes and the first letter of her name on it. Ann bursts in to say she was able to get Pistol Pete to the venue but can't say for sure whether he'll get out of the car and dunk for the rally. Leslie thinks it would be best to cancel the event since nothing is going right. She asks Jerry if he did his usual screw up and didn't get anybody to show. Jerry announces proudly that there is a packed house out there. Everyone groans that the one time Jerry succeeds is when they wish he hadn't. Leslie sees that she will have to make the speech and everyone insists on going out there as her campaign team.


The doors to the ice rink open, inspirational pop music blasts over the sound system, and Leslie marches with her team on the red carpet over the ice. But Tom couldn't afford enough carpet to make it all the way to the stage so everyone has to slip and skid over the ice to reach the tiny platform for Leslie's speech. As there are no stairs for Leslie to climb the platform, everyone tries to gain enough purchase on the ice to give her a boost. The inspirational pop song plays intermittently throughout the debacle, made all the more hilarious by its lyrics, "Get on your feet," while the political team struggle for balance over the ice. Leslie's speech is horrible as well since her cards got out of order. But her bad luck seems to change when her surprise endorsement shows up after all. Pistol Pete appears on the rink in his old jersey and carrying a basketball. The ice rink staff set up a portable hoop and Pistol Pete says the line, "A vote for Leslie Knope is a slam dunk." The audience cheers and Pete moves to dunk the ball. However the ice gets him off his feet too and he breaks his arm before he can make it to the hoop.


At the end of the day, Leslie and her team show up at Ben's house and admit that they can't run a campaign as amateurs. Leslie fires Ann, to her relief, and asks Ben to manage her campaign instead. She doesn't care that they should not be seen together anymore; it is more important that Ben knows what he is doing as her campaign manager. Ben is done exploring new ventures and sitting around the house, so he gladly takes the job.


The credits scene is Leslie and Ann visiting Pete at the hospital. They bring him cookies and balloons, asking if there is anything else they can do for him. He asks to take Ann to dinner. Leslie is excited for her friend, but Ann says that she can't date someone because she is married. Leslie doesn't take the hint and reveals that Ann isn't married. Pete and Ann then share an awkward silence.