In two delightful pieces of news, Kathryn Hahn is rebounding from the cancellation of Free Agents by signing up to star as Leslie’s City Council opponent on Parks and Recreation, and Louis C.K. is will reprise his role as Leslie’s ex-boyfriend Sergeant Dave Sanderson. These strike me as good developments in this slightly sentimental season for two reasons.
First, Leslie deserves a real race. One of the joys of Parks and Recreation is Leslie’s hyper-competence, but it’s become a little bit too effortless as she’s conquered everything from the Pit to Joan’s Gotcha Dancers. It’s time for Leslie to stretch, and to stretch over something other than a boy. Running for office is the dream of her life, and it should be a heroic quest, not just another one-off episode. And after avoiding the mechanics of the campaign, I’m excited to see the mechanics of the race kick into play, to see Chris write speeches for Leslie in a West Wing nod, to see Tom to find his purpose not as an entertainment mogul but as a different kind of public servant. And I want to see Leslie face a realistic obstacle, rather than an entirely ridiculous one.
Second, I think it’ll be intriguing to see Leslie at least temporarily reunited with a boyfriend who gave her the option of coming with him when she moved, but who left anyway when she said no. Is this whole season going to be a refutation of the idea that you have to make tough choices in order to achieve your dreams? Or will Dave be a counterpoint, someone who looks back on Leslie fondly but is certain in his decision?