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PARKS AND RECREATION “Leslie and Ben” Recap/Review

As long as Leslie Knope is willing to change her to name to Leslie Wyatt, or Congresswoman Mrs. Ben Wyatt (it’s a deal-breaker), Ben and Leslie are set to be married the same night of the park fundraiser gala, instead of three months from now. Just kidding. Leslie wouldn’t change her name from Knope even if she could change it to Clinton. Leslie Knope is never un-becoming Leslie Knope.

“Leslie and Ben” was expectedly a far from typical Parks and Rec episode. All systems go to put on the impromptu, latest wedding of all time. Falcon and turtle-dove begin by going over everyone’s jobs. Chris will handle the rings, Andy and April will get the marriage license, Tom will officiate, and the remaining women will figure out what Leslie is going to wear because her dress isn’t ready three months in advance. Ben and Chris highlight the first half of the episode with their reactions to the ridiculous ring options. Option A is a pair of rather beautiful nipple rings…belonging to the tattooed 50-something man behind the desk. “They were yours. They were his. Let’s go.” Option B is a toe ring with a brown gemstone. “Is that a ruby that’s gone bad?” Also, they cry together. Ben for the first time, Chris for the 5th.

Maybe it’s a good thing that Andy and April haven’t been buddy-buddy through the entire season, it would have been exhausting. But once there is a wedding involved, you can’t not put them together. As usual, they were hilarious and would be completely unhelpful if not for Andy’s general underlying concern for other people. It’s clear that he wants to help Leslie, not because it’s just an excuse to hang out with his wife (as was his reason for doing things in the past), but for the same reason Ron is happy (more happy than he’ll ever admit) to actually be walking down the aisle. The reason, of course, is that they finally have a chance to do something for Leslie–to pay her back for everything else. And it’s going to get done. That’s why Ron rips Ann’s light off her wall to make rings. She won’t mind; it’s for Leslie and it’s ugly.

There have been a number of “love-to-hate” characters on this show, but Councilman Jam is not one of them. He is an annoying, selfish bastard that only the most forgiving people would feel bad for. The reason he’s not so lovable in his antagonism is because he’s not funny. I can’t imagine that they mean for him to be funny–how often does Parks and Rec swing and miss like that? But it is fair to feel bad for Jeremy Jam. When he takes swigs of his flask after Leslie takes Aunt Jam’s megaphone, you get the feeling that he has some real problems that go far past his strong will for an extra Paunch Burger. And then he ruins the wedding with a stink bomb. A stink bomb! Is he’s 10? Any sympathy toward Councilman Jam quickly vanishes after that, our only wish being that Ron did more than punch him once in the face.

Tom is the embodiment of our society that lives a little bit too much through pop culture references. First of all, if he’s going to recite something from a Will Smith movie, it should be The Pursuit of Happyness. Second, he should probably not use movie quotes to officiate a wedding. Jerry has the right advice: speak from the heart. The gang surprises Leslie with an office wedding that same night. When Ron extends his arm, I think she realizes what’s behind the door. Perhaps due to budget concerns, or because it just seems right, only the essential characters are there. They join in a collective rendition of MouseRat’s “5000 Candles in the Wind,” dedicated to Li’l Sebastian, whose ghost makes an appearance in the form of a regular miniature horse named Bucky. Touching upon what we can expect through the rest of the season–Andy’s squashed cop career, Ann wants a baby–the second best episode of the season comes to a close. Oh, and Donna can SING!

Notes:

I don’t think Jam’s aunt is getting her megaphone back.

“This is America. I want it now!”

Everyone’s reaction when Jam provokes Ron–they know there’s not a 0% chance of Ron just shooting him on the spot.

Swansonism: “I don’t think you’re supposed to punch a man in the mouth during the service.”

I was disappointed to learn that the “horse grenades” line was from Seabiscuit, and Chris Pratt did not just make it up on the spot.

So, then, July 57th is free?

–What did you like best about the episode? Tell us below, and please follow @MattBenincasa and @ScreenInvasion on Twitter!

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The Author

Matt Benincasa

Matt Benincasa

Matt is an actor and writer from NYC, attending Fordham University with a Major in Communications and Minor in Theatre.