TV Time: Parks and Recreation 6.20


Title One in 8,000

Two-Sentence Summary When Leslie and Ben discover they’re having triplets, Ben tries to help Leslie stay calm while internally panicking about their family finances. Meanwhile, Andy tries to keep his knowledge of the pregnancy a secret from April, and Ron helps Donna deal with her ex-boyfriend, Joe.

Favorite Line “Live your life how you want, but don’t confuse drama with happiness.” (Ron)

My Thoughts Since this week’s Parks and Recreation review is up a little later than usual (thanks to a Scandal season finale that needed grading yesterday), I decided to break my thoughts down into a list of 10 quick opinions on “One in 8,000.”

1.) I’m a little worried about this whole triplets plot, if I’m being honest. I’m excited to see my favorite TV couple as parents, but three babies seems like a little much. (Although it was foreshadowed back in Season Two’s “The Set Up” when Leslie was told she could “go triplets right off the bat.”) I’m never one to discourage showing happy marriages and families on television, but I don’t want the Knope-Wyatt triplets to become something the show relies on too much. It could venture very quickly into sitcom cliché territory, but I’m still hopeful that this team of writers knows what they’re doing and won’t let us down.

2.) While I’ll admit that I spent the beginning of the scene in the doctor’s office wondering if he was going to be wrong about the triplets, I was happy I stopped stressing about this new plot development and decided to enjoy Leslie and Ben’s reactions in the rest of the scene. Adam Scott’s increasingly panicked “But what do we do?” was absolutely perfect.

3.) “One in 8,000” was another excellent episode for Scott in general. I was happy that Ben acted completely in-character for an accountant, showing his practicality by worrying about the financial ramifications of having triplets (and acknowledging the cost of their trip to Paris). Watching Ben freak out to the camera while trying to remain calm for Leslie was a highlight of the episode.

4.) Ben’s panic allowed Leslie to be the voice of reason and stability for the second episode in a row, and I loved it. After spending much of this season disappointed with how over-the-top Leslie was written, I’ve loved the balance the writers have found in her characterization over the last few episodes. Amy Poehler doesn’t get to play the straight woman often enough.

5.) Leslie’s acknowledgment that her sense of calm comes from the fact that she knows she and Ben can handle anything together was beautiful. Over and over again, we’ve watched these two characters “leap into the great unknown” together (in the words of Ron Swanson). They’ve been able to handle every curveball life has thrown at them because they know they have a partner in life who will support them through it all. That kind of stability and teamwork is what a great marriage is all about, and it’s what going to make them great partners in parenthood as well.

6.) Speaking of great parents, was there anything cuter in this episode than Ron being crowned King Sparkle of Cupcake Forest? Ron went from having no family to having three children in the blink of an eye, and his character has actually improved and deepened because of it. That’s why I have faith in the way the Knope-Wyatt expanding family tree will be written.

7.) I loved the way this episode added new layers to both Ron and Donna’s characters. Ron’s advice to Donna was perfect because there are too many people in the world who confuse the “excitement” that comes from drama with happiness. Sometimes happiness comes from simple things, especially sharing simple things with someone you care about. It was perfect advice for Ron to give, and it was perfect advice for Donna to hear.

8.) I loved that Donna was willing to give Joe another chance because he seemed so genuinely kind (and gorgeous). But what I loved even more was that she wasn’t going to change everything about herself to be with him. Good relationships are relationships where the partners accept each other for who they are, and Donna is someone who likes a certain lifestyle and shouldn’t have to give up everything she likes for a man. Instead, she was willing to compromise, and she was upfront about the things that are important to her. She shouldn’t have to stop being her fabulous self to find an equally fabulous man, but she also should be willing to grow. This episode was an excellent one for Donna’s character development, and it continued to prove my theory that no show on television cares as much about its supporting cast of characters as Parks and Rec does.

9.) I liked seeing April be nice to Jerry, even if it took a fake illness to make it happen. And my favorite Jerry-related moment this week was when he offered to share his girls’ baby things with Leslie and Ben and no one scoffed at him or rejected him. Both Leslie and Ben seemed genuinely touched by his offer, and that made my Jerry-loving heart soar.

10.) The end of this episode was right up there with the ending of Season Four’s “Citizen Knope” in terms of endings that have made me cry the hardest happy tears. No other show captures the joy of friendship like Parks and Rec. There was so much love in those final moments, and it reminded me that this show’s mission statement is “No one achieves anything alone.” Everything is a group effort on this show, and when the group is as great as this group of characters, it never stops being fun to watch. After six seasons, Parks and Rec is still able to warm my heart like no other show.

11 thoughts on “TV Time: Parks and Recreation 6.20

  1. Amy Poehler is good at all of the things, but if there’s one thing she doesn’t get to play often enough on this show, it’s calm. When Leslie is feeling serene, she gets all regal. It’s like “Jerry’s Painting” to the extreme. I loved her tone at the auction so much. And agreed–I’m so glad they’ve balanced her out these last couple of episodes. There’s so much more to her than her obsessiveness, as much as I relate to it.
    There’s a tiny voice in the back of my mind worried that this pregnancy could change the trajectory of her character, alter her ambitions, or just get really sitcommy in general, but I’ve decided to try not to let that voice have a say. I feel like if any show can make the ‘work-life balance’ theme feel new again, it’s Parks (and I’d bet big money that Ben will eventually be the stay-at-home parent).
    And triplets are actually making me feel better about this, in a way, because that makes the story different than the one most sitcoms choose to tell. Like, for instance, I have a feeling we’ll be spared the whole plotline where the mother gets really defensive about her kid and thinks the child can do no wrong. Leslie gets really obsessive when she’s one-on-one with people, so I think spreading her energy over three kids will actually help tone down a lot of the Leslie Mothers Someone plots. With triplets, I’m guessing the focus will be more on the chaos than anything else, and Leslie is so good at dealing with that. Plus, more frazzled Ben is never a bad thing.
    And yayyyyy for the Ron and Donna story!

    • We are currently sharing ALL THE THOUGHTS about this, which does’t surprise me at all. 😉 I’m also slightly worried about this changing Leslie’s ambitions and character trajectory, but, like you, I’m not letting that pessimistic voice have a say until I see how this all plays out. And I didn’t think about Ben being the stay-at-home parent until you said it, but now I’m almost 100% convinced this will happen. I feel like that has the potential for huge comedic payoff, and it’s consistent with his character in a really lovely way. 😀

      • I love when we share a TV brain. And YES, I just sort of realized as I was writing that comment, actually, that of COURSE it’ll be Ben at home. Of course it will. It fits him so well and opens up so many great possibilities for the story.

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  4. I was expecting the triplet thing to be some kind of joke, that it would turn out to be a false alarm. I haven’t watched recent episodes as closely as I usually do (hubby often uses Parks and Rec time to be making loud phone calls to his business partner 😦 ) but I was concerned about the big job offer and whether Leslie was seriously entertaining that still, because I like the Leslie-Pawnee love story as much as anything. But I guess if she’s having triplets she’s not taking a new job (if she hadn’t already decided that). Unless it’s a job she can do from bed rest – I guess we will be having Leslie fighting bed rest and having Ben take care of her for at least one episode? I’m not buying it if they don’t order bed rest for her at some point. But I’m not sure about how the gigantic fake belly and possibly months of bed rest will play, not to mention the babies. I know this show has been assuming it was almost done for a couple of seasons now – do you think the triplets might be a series finale happy ever after?
    Anyway, I loved the Ben panic stuff too, and Ron’s instant family. I missed a big chunk of the Donna storyline, but it sounds like it was a good one. And Andy and his secret-keeping… I hold that if you tell a married person a secret you should assume that they will share with their spouse. But it was funnier to have his try to keep it from April as well.

  5. Yay, I am finally caught up with Parks and Rec in preparation for the finale tonight!

    I had heard that Leslie was pregnant before catching up on episodes, but I had no idea about the triplets! Man, how overwhelming would that be? I am actually way more intrigued by story line of Ben and Leslie dealing with the news and the pregnancy than I am about actually seeing them raise triplets (as you said, it seems like family sitcom territory) but hopefully the show is able to navigate the story well (assuming there is enough seasons for it to get that far).

    The end scene was just perfect. Whats that saying about it taking a village? Leslie has a great village, which makes me wonder how she is going to handle this job offer thing. It seems like it would be a bit sad if we saw in this episode what a great support system she has only for her to leave it behind.

    After watching 3 eps back to back I just really appreciate how great of a show this is. Its definitely a “black sheep” type of show. Its doesn’t fit any standard mold of what a show should be, but it makes me happy, and it makes me smile, and it makes me want to get excited about things, and it makes me grateful for the good people and relationships that I have in my life. And really, how many shows can I say do that on a consistent basis? None that I can think of. This show is better than therapy.

    • I’m so happy you caught up because I love talking about this show with you, too! Your first two paragraphs made me smile because of what happened in the finale—especially the second paragraph because that’s exactly how I felt, and I thought the finale addressed that so perfectly.

      Like you, I don’t know any other show that consistently makes me feel as happy and motivated to be my best self as Parks and Rec. I consistently refer to it as my “happy place,” and it always makes me feel genuinely good after I watch it. There’s no other show that spreads happiness quite like this one.

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  7. OMG Katie, I was just randomly re-watching old Parks and Rec episodes and I watched The Set Up, which I’m not sure I ever saw before, and I yelped when Leslie was told she had “a good oven” and “could go triplets right off the bat”! haha. This awesome show. ❤ And I bet they either remembered that or planned it for the future (even though lovely Ben wasn't even on the scene yet), rather than it being a random accident of continuity like we see on certain other shows…
    I was going to message you but then I googled it first to see what people said about it, and google sent me here! lolol.

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