It’s been said a number of times in this space: As good as Leslie Knope is at most of her life, she can be pretty spectacularly bad at A) relationships and B) accepting no for an answer.
The latter quality sometimes serves her well in her job on “Parks and Recreation,” but when it’s combined with the former it’s a recipe for bad news in her personal life. Fortunately for us, though, it does make for great comedy — and in the case of “Smallest Park” this week, a really great ending.
Amy Poehler is at her best when she’s playing the obstinate, even childish Leslie, and that Leslie was in full force this week, whether it was stalling the process on the tiny park or selectively listening to Ann and then shutting her down — really, she had us at “Shut your beautiful piehole.” The show stopped just short of overplaying her bull-headedness this week (Ann helped out here too; her “You’re a steamroller!” was expertly timed), but it found the line and stayed there.
But even though Ben has been adamant about not wanting to spend time with Leslie if they can’t be together, it takes him seeing through her stalling tactics and explicitly telling Chris he doesn’t want to work with Leslie anymore, and Ann’s talking to, to make her confront her feelings head-on. And thank goodness for that.
The show has been pretty honest about playing out the complications of Leslie’s campaign forcing her and Ben to break off their relationship, but over the past couple episodes there’s been a feeling of, Just get back together already. So “Let’s just say screw it” may be the most romantic five words ever spoken on “Parks and Recreation.”
Leslie finally listens, and Ben finally opens up about what he’s actually been feeling. And then, after doing crazy Leslie for most of the episode, Poehler knocks that heartfelt speech into next week. It’s just really good stuff from her and Adam Scott.
Like them, we have no idea how they’ll deal with their relationship being in the open now, what it means for their respective jobs and her campaign. Love may not conquer all. But it’s just really nice to see Leslie and Ben back together.
The B- and C-stories didn’t add a whole lot to the episode this week, although Jerry dropping the hammer on Tom’s dreams and Ron’s pro-education streak — along with his apparent attraction to female teachers — both provided a couple of nice laughs. And if the network is smart, those retro Parks and Rec T-shirts and hats are available in the NBC store this very instant.*
*(Alas, they are not.)
That’s OK, though. That ending, and most of steamroller Leslie that came before it, is plenty for us.
What did you think of “Parks and Recreation” this week?