Parks and Recreation is clearly trying to make its viewers keel over and cry with its barrage of emotions this week — not to mention all the cuteness that happens throughout the episode. In “Smallest Park,” we witness again the complications in the relationship between Leslie and Ben, but there’s quite a large ray of hope at the end of the episode.
Andy and April are looking up classes that Andy can take at Pawnee Community College, as Andy has never been to college. Ron, despite his hard exterior (most likely comprised of bacon rinds and a ridiculous alcohol tolerance), is genuinely interested in this endeavor, and he urges Andy to challenge himself. April disagrees with Ron and suggests that Andy take a class where he already knows the material so that he can receive an easy A, to which Andy agrees. He ends up signing up for an introductory guitar class, and as Ron said he would, ends up getting bored, as he already knows how to play guitar having once been a part of the rock band Mouse Rat.
Now we get to the emotionally manipulative storyline. Leslie unveils her plan to build the smallest park in Pawnee in the concrete lot where old telephone booths have been ripped up. Ben is there to help her, but he tells Leslie that after this project he is going to leave the Parks and Recreation department. Leslie, of course, is not a fan of this idea, and neither are the Ben/Leslie shippers (to be honest, my heart felt as if someone had stomped on it when Ben said this).
As always, Ann is there to listen to Leslie, who lets loose all of her feelings about how there’s nothing left between her and Ben besides work. It’s easy to understand why Leslie is so upset, as it’s obvious she still loves Ben and now the one thing they have together is being taken away from her. Ann, however, advises Leslie to back down and not push herself so much onto Ben. Being the strong-willed person that she is though, Leslie says that she’s going to drag on the project as long as possible so that Ben will stay.
Back in the college classrooms, Andy sits in on a class called “Introduction to Lasers,” which would be an awesome class to have here at Northwestern—if it didn’t actually stand for “light application by stimulation of emission radiation.” Andy is understandably disappointed, as he thought the class was about lasers. After this disappointment though, Andy finds a class that he does enjoy: Intro to Women’s Studies. However, after finding out that the class costs $940, Andy becomes hesitant. This is where Parks and Recreation’s writers decide to melt its viewers’ hearts, as Ron tells Andy that he’s won the Ron Swanson Scholarship.
Meanwhile, Ben feels completely overwhelmed by Leslie and the ways in which she tries to make him stick around. Ben tells Chris that he is not going to be a part of the Smallest Park project anymore. Crushed, Leslie goes to Ann again for some more cheering up, but she gets a wake-up call when Ann tells her that she’s “a steamroller.” It seems that this shock gets through to Leslie though, as she finally decides to leave Ben alone (cue the sound of my heart shattering).
Leslie meets Ben at the completed park to tell him that she understands where he’s coming from and apologizes for her recent actions. When all hope seems to be lost though, she actually tells him that she still wants to be with him, despite all the odds against them. Ben tries to talk her out of it, telling Leslie that she’s risking a huge scandal in the midst of her campaign, but Leslie, being the awesome person that she is, tells him she still wants to try again. And it’s pretty obvious that Ben wants this too.
There are literally not enough words in the English language to communicate just how awesome and amazing it is that Leslie and Ben have finally decided to get back together again. Hopefully this time it’ll last forever (as cheesy as that sounds, you know you want that too). Unfortunately, the next episode won’t air for another two weeks. Fortunately, NBC knows how to take care of its Parks and Recreation fans.