This post contains spoilers for the May 3 episode of Parks & Recreation.
One of the things I’ve always liked about Pawnee is its slight crackedness, part English small town wacky, part All-American grievance factory. I like that one of Leslie’s stump speech promises can be “to expel the violent gangs of geese in Detwiler Square.” And I like that Pawnee contains a the Newports’ gloriously ludicrous mansion, which in keeping with Bobby’s status as an overgrown child contains both a rich-dude’s game room with a bowling alley, and an elegant crystal bowl fully of gummy bears.
It also contains its very particular villains, in this case, a van rental dude played by Glee’s Mike O’Malley who, having initially agreed to rent Leslie’s campaign his fleet for election day for $900, sells out to the Newports for $10,000. He proves immune to all sorts of inducements, including a promise of free publicity, and Tom’s offer to let him in on his latest business idea: alcoholic frozen Yogurt Platinum (which I would totally eat). He’s even resistant to Ron Swanson’s Code of Manliness. When Ron tells him “Where I come from, a man’s word is sacred,” Van Guy spits back “Okay, what’s your stance on pinky swears, George Washington?”
So it’s up to Donna and her beloved ride to save the day. I always appreciate when she and Jerry get a chance to be heroes, and while Jerry’s expression as he gets hit in the face with a pie for science and FBI Agent Bert Macklin is priceless, this time, it’s Donna’s turn. She’s been along for the ride more than anything else on the campaign, fascinated by Jerry’s love of menial campaign work, but with the same clear line she always has between work and the rest of her life. So it’s nice to see her commit all the way, even on the last day of the campaign, when it matters most. In a Towanda the Avenger move, she crushes Van Guy’s fender, has Tom and Ron act as her witnesses, and informs him “We can settle this right now. I will accept payment in van rentals.”
Even though Leslie’s attempts to apologize to Bobby after insulting his father only to learn that he’s died was ostensibly the A story tonight, I was actually most intrigued by something she said in the open. “If we win,” she said of the campaign bus, “hopefully it will be the home that Ben and I share forever.” Ben’s sacrifice of his job solved the problem of whether the two of them can stay together during her campaign. But now that we’re close to knowing whether Leslie will win or lose, it’ll be interesting to see if they can build a long-term relationship, especially when Ben has to find a job that doesn’t involved the advancement of Leslie’s life goals.
And I also want to know what’s going to happen to April Ludgate-Dwyer when she finds something she’s interested enough to stretch for beyond Andy. We’re still at a point in the show where seeing her be kind to someone is novel, even if being kind means saying things like: “First of all, dark places are awesome. Second, Ann is kind of lame so way to dodge a bullet. And Millicent is Jerry’s daughter. So two bullets. And you’re not alone. You’ve got lots of friends. Somewhere. I assume. You’re going to be just fine.” But at some point, that juxtaposition will cease to be striking. I can’t wait to see how April’s going to grow once she figures out what she’s going to grow into, and I do hope the show makes some strides towards helping her find that soon.