Monday, September 24, 2012

Ms Knope Goes to Washington

By Erin Jackson

The episode of Parks and Rec opens with Leslie Knope saying "Romantic reunions, government meetings, self-guided museum tours? I mean, am I living the dream? I don't know. Did I also just walk past a food truck and buy myself a waffle sundae? Yes." And it seemed like she was finally in her perfect Leslie Knope element. As Leslie and Andy sightsee their way through DC, her joy and enthusiasm are at maximum levels.

 Things start to go south when Ben can't join Leslie on any museum tours, not even to see George Washington's farewell address candle stand. Then the Department of the Interior dude wouldn't meet with Leslie and she had to add her perfect proposal presentation (complete with ambient sound effects and video of frolicking river otters) into a large, dismal and overflowing pile. And as Ben introduced her to all the Hot Rebeccas and Barbara Boxers, she starts to see that DC views her as just another sad folder in a sad pile to be ignored and forgotten.

 Sad Leslie makes sad Erin. Leslie Knope is my number one TV hero on the air right now. If there were just one Leslie Knope at every level of government, this world would be an amazing place. So when Leslie is discouraged, when others make her feel like some backwoods rube for staying in her hometown and taking pride in her work, my heart aches. Oh, when they said "local government is SO important" I wanted to throw water in the faces of all those C-SPAN and Neiman Marcus love children.

 Meanwhile, back in Pawnee, Ron takes over a BBQ and Ron Swanson's it up with a live pig, no vegetables (not even corn), no plates, not activities and pretty soon neither he nor the Parks Department can take it anymore. He rides off with the BBQ grill in tow, leaving the others dusty, hungry and cranky.

 These were dark times for the Pawnee Parks Department. But in this group of beautiful, sweet people, you can only wallow in self-pity so long before someone is there to lift you out of it. Ron is put in his place by Chris, and Ron makes up for his Ron-ing up by giving a little indoor BBQ and corn feast. For Leslie, the lifter-upper Andy. Sweet, stupid Andy. He tells her that she's better than Hot Rebecca- she's kick-ass Leslie, and she never gives up because she's an amalgam (you'll get it right someday, Andy). That's just the thing Leslie needs to hear and by the end of the episode, she's out of that disgusting swamp of DC and knee-deep in the disgusting Pawnee River, only this time she's taking things into her own hands, making river-clean up her office hours so she can hear people's concerns while improving the river. Then I'm kind of bummed because I can't vote for Leslie Knope for everything.

But at least she is happy, for now. However, if Ben Wyatt doesn't get his butt out of DC and back into Leslie's arms, not only will Leslie punch his face, but I don't really know if they can make things work. I sure hope that I'm wrong, because Ben and Leslie make me happy and this show exists to make me happy. Perhaps the show will yet again show us that with the right people you can have very different folks making each other happy, no matter what.

Erin Floyd Jackson has been BFFs with TV since she was a wee one when she would play TV Network Executive. She went to school to learn about how and why TV is the way it is and hopes to someday tear someone's creative vision down and re-edit it to her liking. In the meantime, she and her husband live in Huntsville, Alabama and they occasionally "blog" here ( when they are not geeking out over all the SCIENCE! in the Rocket City.

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