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.