I’m covering both episodes in this article, because real life got in my way this week. Apologies, I hope I do them both justice.
Leslie winning a political debate – slam dunk, right? Well, I think you know where this is going.
The whole half hour focused on Leslie and her showdown with Bobby Newport. The fact that there were actually three others running for town council surprised me. That’d be quite the twist wouldn’t it? Imagine if Brandy Maxxxx somehow pulled ahead and won the race – stealing it from both Leslie *and* Bobby. Hmmm. (not a hint, I truly don’t know)
Ben was amazing, making sure Leslie stayed upbeat and in charge before the debate started. Once they were in the middle of things, the simpleness of Bobby’s answers made him seem almost sweet in comparison to Leslie’s determined responses. Things went spinning slowly out of control, but she managed to pull ahead by grasping on to Bobby’s threat to take Sweetums’ jobs out of Pawnee – and appealing to the town’s patriotism. When she finishes, even her opponents congratulate her on an ‘awesome’ debate.
Meanwhile, Andy, April, and Ron held a party for Leslie’s biggest donors, at which they planned to watch the debate. Ron gives one of his patented ‘Swanson pep-talks’ where he tells the donors, “You are here because you gave us money. Now – we will give you ribs. Also, you will watch the debate. If you like the debate, you’ll give us more money. That is all. Ron Swanson.”
However, the party is put in peril because Andy has forgotten to pay the cable bill. While Andy recites his favorite movies to keep the donors entertained, Ron saves the day by pilfering the cable feed from their neighbor.
The short but sweet side story involved the Ann – Tom – Chris ‘love triangle’ that never was. Ann finally breaks up with Tom after he gives her a ‘shout-out’ on a local radio show. When the three of them are assigned to be Leslie’s spin doctors, Chris and Ann work seamlessly, leading him to believe they’d make a good team in love as well. She decides in the end to stay single, and I think everyone is okay with that.
The campaign continues when Leslie and her team rent a tour bus so they can take their message to the voters. The gap between Bobby and Leslie has become a hair’s width, and the tour is their way to overtake him before voting day.
Ben works Leslie’s stump speech until he has it timed down to the second – 10 minutes, 40 seconds to be exact. He also discovered that the speech doesn’t matter as long as they fire t-shirts into the crowd with shirt cannons.
While taking questions from a reporter, she offers her opinion of Nick Newport – after which, she learns that the man died that very morning. She gives her official statement expressing regret, but uses her usually tagline – and that cues the dancers and shirt cannons. The tour is almost brought to a standstill, but after discussions with her advisers, she decides to apologize to Bobby and continue campaigning.
Her timing is impeccable (oh sarcasm, how I love thee) in that she arrives – in the tour bus – to apologize, only to find herself barging in on Mr. Newport’s memorial service. She meets with Bobby anyhow, and tells him a story about how she tried to impress her mom by doing well on the track team. He then uses it as his own story when talking to the crowd about his father. Well, mostly. He manages to switch around the details to make himself a winner.
He pulls Leslie up after his fabrication, and tells everyone to vote for her if they decide against voting for him. How he manages political suicide despite his non-effort is beyond me.
Burt Macklin is back in the form of Andy Dwyer’s overzealous campaign bodyguard. When Jerry takes a pie to the face during a tour stop, Andy decides to get to the bottom of things. After re-enacting the event several times, he turns to the footage – taken by his lovely wife, April. He comes to the conclusion that because Leslie is well in front of the actual ‘pie-ing’, it was meant for someone else. That someone being Ben.
He sees Sewer Joe lurking about, and confronts him. He was indeed the culprit, trying to get back at Ben for firing him after the whole emailing of his private parts incident. Can you blame him? (answer: yes, yes I can)
The episode was packed full of P&R chewy goodness – with two more small side-stories. Mike O’Malley takes a break from his regular gig on ‘Glee’ to play an enterprising (read: sleazy) fleet rental owner. He makes a deal with Leslie’s team to supply vans for their initiative to get seniors to and from the polling places. However, when Bobby’s people offer him ten grand to let the vans sit in a lot for the day, he switches allegiances. After some negotiation, to which the man never budges, he bumps Donna’s Benz. She retaliates by backing rapidly into the front of his truck, and tells him she’ll take compensation in a day’s worth of van rentals. You go, Donna!
Last, but not least, Chris has fallen into a very shallow pit of despair over the dismal year he’s been having. Breaking up with Milicent, Ann and Andy’s professor rebuffing his advances, and the potential loss of his job. He makes himself busy, doing tasks normally assigned to April. He pesters her throughout the day, and she finally turns on him – giving him her own brand of pep-talk. Needless to say, as inspiring as it is, it still doesn’t work.
Jennifer finds him alone in the Newport’s dining room, and propositions him. He counters by saying he doesn’t want to be disloyal to Leslie. She ends up convincing him to join her in a secret liaison by offering him ‘just sex’. I gotta say, he kinda deserves a little somthin’ somthin’, am I right?
Join me next week as we discuss the finale – Parks & Recreation, “Win, Lose, or Draw”.