“Parks and Recreation” is becoming NBC’s version of “Modern Family”: It’s often hilarious, giving us quotable moments of pure pleasure, but it’s also one of the more consistently funny shows on TV from week to week. Like “Family,” a “bad” episode of “Parks” is usually still pretty good. Last night’s episdoe was one of the best ones of the season, and one of the reasons was the rekindling of the romance between adorable policy wonks Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott).
Keeping Ben and Leslie apart but still working together was only really semi-working this year, but given the stakes involved — if the interoffice romance was revealed, the two of them could get fired and Leslie’s run for city council would be dead before it even got started — it was intriguing to try to figure out how Mike Schur and company would be able to write their way out of it.
What was great about how it shook out is that it played to the strengths of the two characters. Leslie’s a steamroller, as Ben told her and Ann (Rashida Jones) confirmed (“I once had to eat an entire cheesecake so she wouldn’t look bad,” Ann told Ben), and she tried to steamroll her way to a friendship with someone she was obviously in love with. Meanwhile, the more emo-ish Ben just couldn’t handle working side by side with someone he knows could be the love of his life. It was painful and funny and realistic all at once, which is why it was gratifying to see them kiss in that postage-stamp-sized park they created.
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But what does this mean for Leslie? Well, it’s going to be a lot of fun finding out, isn’t it? First there’s the episode where they have to tell Chris (Rob Lowe) and what the consequences of that can mean. Then there’s the city council race; you’d think an office romance, even in a situation where one is technically the other’s boss, wouldn’t sink a campaign in 2011, but this is Pawnee, where there are still people who think having a basketball court will attract the wrong element. It promises to be a funny second half of the season just on those two stories alone.
Of course, the episode was a lot more than just Ben and Leslie. We had Tom (Aziz Ansari) readjusting to having a government job, where his grandiose ideas just don’t have a place. Luckily good ol’ Everyday Jerry (Jim O’Heir) and his boringness was there to help him. Plus: Who knew the Parks and Recreation department’s logo was the same as the one for the show? Then we had Andy (Chris Pratt) trying to figure out what community college class to take, with Ron (Nick Offerman) helping him out. “Of all my co-workers, he is one of a small number who I don’t actively root against,” he said in Swansonesque fashion. “There I go, getting all sappy.” Aww, Ron’s just a big old softie… am I right, folks?