Tuesday, September 12, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 12: Favorite Season Seven Episode

Via Wikipedia
It's always really sad to see a show you love go off the air, and when I found out that Parks and Rec would be ending after seven seasons, I went through mad withdrawal, even before it ended. I frantically watched all of my favorite episodes and both eagerly and cautiously waited as the countdown began. I love how they skipped ahead three years; it really did revitalize the show after Chris and Ann departed, leaving a lot of unanswered questions to be revealed over the course of the season.
The big question was, of course, why were Ron and Leslie at each others throats. A few hints were dropped along the way, mainly from Leslie's perspective, but it wasn't until the fourth episode that all was finally revealed. And that, my friends, brings us to my favorite episode of Season Seven: "Ron and Leslie."
Via Sports Alcohol
Recap: The crew has had it up to HERE with Ron and Leslie attacking each other (at one point in the previous three episodes, Leslie pushed Ron into a cake), so they locked them in the old Parks and Recreation office (completely redesigned by Craig, naturally) overnight, so the two could discuss their issues and hopefully move past whatever was going on. Ron is, of course, reticent, and after accidentally breaking the baby monitor that could have ended their torment, Leslie tries to annoy Ron into talking by doing the some of the following:
  • Covering Ron's entire body in Post-Its
  • Dripping water down Ron's moustache
  • Singing along to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," without knowing any of the words
It was this last action that elicited a response, and even though it was short-lived, it was the beginning of a very important reveal: Ron had arranged a lunch with Leslie to discuss getting a job with the federal government because he missed his friends after everyone started to go their own ways, and she had completely forgotten about him, due to how busy she was. Afterward, he left the government and started the Very Good Construction Company, which was contracted to build around Lot 48 (Pawnee Commons) and tore Ann's house down. Once the two finally talk, the walls come down, and while they return the Parks and Rec office to what we have seen over the past six seasons, their friendship is slowly repaired.

"Buddy" by Willie Nelson
This plays in the background as this scene plays.

Honestly, while this episode is hilarious, the core of why I love it is how Ron and Leslie reconnect. It's a sweet story, so true to the - I hate to use the word again, but it's so appropriate - sweet tone of the entire series. You just knew the animosity between the two wouldn't last, but knowing why Ron did what he did in the first place makes you realize that there are always two sides to every story*. His decision to demolish Ann's house wasn't out of anger with Leslie, and had she stayed for more than two seconds after ripping Ron a new one, Leslie might have discovered more about Ron's choice to go private sector. But like most drama, it erupts over all parties involved not actually talking and just letting resentment grow. "Ron and Leslie" showcases both Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman so well, and seeing them play off of each other is just magic. It's not Rashida and Amy magic - I mean, how could it be? - but it's perfect for these two characters. I'm glad the writers learned from the Ben and Leslie problem and only had this feud go on for three full episodes before fully delving into it because the show works so much better when the characters work with each other - even if a fight has to happen every now and then to get things moving.

I don't know if it is necessarily as accessible as some of my other favorite episodes, because you do kind of have to know a lot about their history to fully appreciate where the characters are at the beginning and the end of the episode, but I'm fairly certain you can pick up on all the necessary stuff to understand who Leslie and Ron are as people. Poehler and Offerman have such great grasps on what makes their respective characters tick, and you can see how well they work together.

Oh! And did you know that Amy and Nick are going to be hosting a new show?? The Handmade Project is like Project Runway, but with crafts! I'm ridiculously excited about it, if only to see Leslie and Ron together again.

And since I'm writing this while I'm at work (sorry, boss, it gets boring at the gym at 6:00A), I'm going to finish this and go watch this episode again. I could call it research!


BACK TO CHALLENGE

* Except when there are Nazis involved. Fuck Nazis. 
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