Let’s welcome back everyone’s favorite beautiful tropical fish, Heather, who was kind enough to share her thoughts on this week’s episode of Parks and Rec (since I was busy watching Captain America and Black Widow save the world last night).
Two-Sentence Summary Organizing a high school prom brings back memories of the Parks Department family’s own prom experiences and brings up uncomfortable feelings for some. Leslie is determined to mold a promising high school student into a future Parks and Rec employee, while Ron attempts to stop her before uncovering the real reason for her obsession.
Favorite Line “Blueprints for the future are a fool’s errand. They’re like blueprints for a house—nice to have, but any foreman with a brain doesn’t need to look at them. One day—this year or maybe the next—you’re gonna be somewhere else, so enjoy yourself now.” (Ron)
My Thoughts As a whole, this wasn’t my favorite episode of the season. It wasn’t as funny as previous episodes have been and, despite the episode being shaped around and largely taking place at the prom, it felt disjointed to me. However, it did have Ron giving life advice to Leslie and a good look at Andy and April’s relationship, so I still ultimately enjoyed it.
While much of Leslie and Ron’s interactions with Allison felt like a rehashing of their many arguments over their ideological differences, it served a purpose. Ron has always been there to give advice to Leslie (and Ben) when they are uncertain about their futures. He is very good at knowing what they need to hear, and that largely comes out of his respect and understanding of Leslie as a person.
A scared Leslie is one we haven’t seen much of before. She’s always been very good at what she does and has gotten used to that feeling. She knows that the Parks Department runs smoothly because she is there, and she worries about what will happen to it if she’s not. Even if she’s outgrown it, she loves it and wants it to be in good hands if she leaves, but because she is Leslie Knope, she expresses that in ridiculous ways. She doesn’t like uncertainty, but it’s a part of taking chances. I think Ron gave her some good advice, and I love that she recognized it.
I’m excited for Leslie to take this new job and move on to bigger things in her career, even as I’m uncertain of what that will mean for the show. It’s been officially renewed for a 7th season (yay!), and it seems hard to imagine this show without Pawnee. But at the same time, I don’t see a good reason for her not to take the job. I don’t know what the writers have in store for us, but after six seasons, I trust them enough to do the right things for the characters and the show as a whole.
The other noteworthy portion of this episode focused on another pair of differences—those that exist between April and Andy. They may not have much in common—and they probably would never have given each other any thought in high school—but they met later and fell in love, and that’s what matters. It doesn’t matter that Andy was popular and April spent high school making fun of everybody. Donna said it best: Andy loves a lot of dumb things, but he loves April the most. They don’t need to love the same things to love each other and to want to make the other happy, and I love that they realized that. This show now has two happily married couples who disagree about things, but they never let those things drive them apart. It’s refreshing to see happy couples in the media that aren’t in danger of breaking up, and I love this show for that.
Ben and Tom’s DJ plot didn’t work as well for me as Ron and Leslie’s or April and Andy’s. I like watching Ben and Tom interact because they have completely different approaches to everything, but this felt like a bit of a retread of the same dynamic we’ve seen a lot of recently—except with things worked out in Ben’s favor instead of Tom’s this time. I think it was important for Tom to realize that he had bigger things to worry about than what high school students think is trendy. However, his music choices felt off to me, and I had a hard time believing it as his idea of what would go over well.