This post discusses plot points from the February 7 episode of Parks and Recreation.
When you’re single, the most irritating person on the planet can be the dear friend who wants you to know that you’re so spectacular that of course everything’s going to turn out fine for you. That friend means well, but their encouragement only serves to highlight the gap in between what’s actually happening for you and what they insist should be happening, raising the possibility that a) you’re doing something wrong, b) there is a fatal flaw, c) the Gods have a sick sense of humor. And on last night’s episode of Parks and Recreation, that person was Leslie Knope.
On finding out that Ann is not just dating herself as a way to have new experiences and thinking about what she wants in life, but is considering having a baby with a sperm donor, Leslie declared “You’re definitely going to find a wonderful man who loves you, and respects you, and fills your home with multi-ethnic genius babies.” It’s a nice vision, but it was even nicer to see Ann put paid to Leslie’s relentless optimism for her best friend. “Maybe,” Ann told Leslie. “Or maybe not.” Either way, Leslie’s dream for her best friend is beside the point. Ann doesn’t want to wait anymore, she isn’t being diverted into a different path from Leslie’s, she’s just choosing it.
That’s both an exciting development for a character who can be passive and malleable with regard to her personal life, and as it turns out, a nice choice for the show’s larger universe. I’d been idly wishing for Crazy Ira and the Douche to Parks and Recreation, spurred in part by the debut of the Kroll Show on Comedy Central, so I was delighted to see Howard’s return to the show last night, as one of the candidates to donate sperm to Ann. And the show had a great joke for him: it turns out, to Leslie’s irritation, that he’s a relatively decent guy. “I majored in semiotics, wrote a thesis on narrative forms in the digital world,” Howard explained to Ann when she asked about his education. Leslie, still skeptical, wanted to know “Then you became a shock jock and created the sport taintball?” He shrugged it off, explaining “I know it’s a silly thing to do, but it pays the bills.” And later, he hit all of Leslie’s buttons when she tracked him down in the parking garage. “I’ve thought a lot about having kids. It’s the next big step in this grand adventure we call life,” Howard explained. “You know, if we had a little girl, I’d name her Elizabeth, after my grandmother. She was this strong, amazing woman.”