Parks and Recreation returned this week as part of NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup, and it did not disappoint. (It is Parks and Recreation, after all, how could it?) Picking up where we left off before winter break — with Leslie being tried for her relationship with Ben, and also seriously jeopardizing her campaign — tonight’s episode was all about Leslie Knope making her grand comeback into the Pawnee political arena.
Because Leslie is now polling at 1%, her official campaign managers have dropped her, causing Leslie to turn to her friends for help. Although Ann is excited to help Leslie in any way she can, she’s a bit hesitant to become Leslie’s official campaign manager. Leslie, being the persuasive person that she is, manages to convince Ann to take the position, and everyone else more than willingly says that they’ll do whatever they can to help Leslie’s campaign.
While all of this is going on, Ben is staying at home, as he took the fall for the scandal that caused all the trouble for Leslie in the first place. He isn’t doing too well though, and Chris, who pops in for a quick visit, picks up on this pretty fast. In fact, Chris flat out accuses Ben of being “massively depressed,” which Ben denies. It seems pretty evident that Ben isn’t all that happy, though, or at the very least, something’s gone a bit funny in his head, what with all his grandiose ideas of setting up a calzone eatery.
Back on the campaign trail, Ann has managed to get Pistol Pete, a local hero who scored a slam dunk in an apparently epic basketball game from ages ago, to sponsor Leslie. This is great news for Leslie, as the citizens of Pawnee completely adore Pistol Pete. In fact, Leslie is so thrilled with Ann’s campaign managing abilities at this point that she breaks into some form of breakdancing (much to the enjoyment of fans all over the country).
Unfortunately at this point, Ron, Andy, April, and Tom have managed to get into a scrape with the local police force, causing Leslie to have to come over and try to smooth things over. While Leslie is busy taking care of this mess, Ann discovers that Pistol Pete wants to move away from his past image and have people only refer to him as Pete. This is a bit of a problem for Leslie’s campaign, as Leslie wanted Pete to perform his slam dunk while saying that “a vote for her [Leslie] is a slam dunk.”
Back indoors, Ben finally comes to the realization that he is depressed after watching his own claymation video that he shows Chris. Having compared it to the likes of Avatar, Ben realizes that being inside all the time has messed with his head quite a bit. At least he knows how to rock the unemployed look, so all hope isn’t lost for him. At least, not yet.
After the whole debacle with the local law force is cleaned up, Leslie realizes that her comeback is going to be a complete disaster, what with the basketball rink being converted into an ice skating rink, her banner being messed up, and the stage not being properly made. In fact, the only person on her campaign team who actually did his job correctly was Jerry. Which is unfortunate, as it involved bringing people to watch make Leslie make her grand comeback speech. Needless to say, Leslie isn’t pleased.
But, because Leslie is one of those awesome people who sticks things through, she does end up going out onto the ice rink. And, as always, her friends are there with her. Resulting in one of the most hilarious political moments to ever air on television (and that’s saying something). Honestly, that was probably one of the best ways Leslie could have ever made her comeback. It also helped that Pete decided to take on his Pistol Pete persona for Leslie and make that slam dunk for her. Unfortunately, Pete not being as young as he used to be, the slam dunk didn’t exactly work out. While most of the onlookers cringed and gasped, it was nice to know that at least Andy found the incident incredibly funny.
Hopefully things will start looking up for Leslie’s campaign starting next week, though, as she and Ann decided it would be better if someone else took over as her campaign manager. Someone who actually ran for mayor when he was only eighteen years old and actually won. Ben, being the wonderful and amazing person that he is, accepted the position. At least now we won’t have to worry about him going off the deep end and making claymation videos about calzones. That’s the thing about Parks and Recreation, after all the laughs and goofiness, they still somehow manage to make it sweet and full of feeling by the end.