Parks and Recreation Recap: “Ben’s Parents”–Non-Conflict Diamond

Leslie: Ben, on three separate occasions, I have used a quilt to mend fences. In ninth grade, a quilt ended an argument between my two best friends, and a quilt settled the Donna-Jerry Parking Lot Feud of 2006!

Ben: What was the third time?

Leslie: Right f***ing now.

Ben: Ok, I still don’t think it’s gonna work, but I am really attracted to you right now.

Leslie’s steamrolling again, y’all. She promised Ben that she’d cut it out, but steamrollers gotta steam. It’s ok, though, because Ben loves her just as she is. She means well, she really does: she just wants in-laws who can coexist. And Red Vines.

It’s engagement party time! In Leslie’s mind, no party is complete unless every human being who has ever cared about you is there to share in your happiness, so Ben’s parents each get an invite, which Ben insists is a terrible, terrible idea. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in Leslie, it’s just that he doesn’t believe in them. (“NO ONE can ever bring them together.” Like, ever.) Even on the night of the party, Ben’s still drafting escape plans.

Leslie: Hey! Glad you’re here. Let’s go over the plan.

Ben: Ok, you and I go stargazing in Harvey James Park while my parents slowly strangle each other in the living room.

Adam Scott’s inflections totally make that line. The way he speaks, it’s like everything around him is totally expected and totally ridiculous at the same time. He speaks like this face looks.

(I’d like to take this opportunity to direct you to this amazing blog, which pays tribute to Adam Scott’s enduring, timeless sexiness. Joel McHale can come too.)

How cute is it that Ben wants to take Leslie to a park, just the two of them? He even pays a cab driver to wait outside the house, just so they won’t be stranded there when the strangling goes down. But Leslie has a plan of her own, and it’s ninth-grade tested, Donna approved: the unity quilt. Everyone in the family is represented, from Li’l Sebastian to Joe Biden to the Smallest Park. Ben’s quilt square: Game of Thrones and a calculator with a heart in it.

It actually seems like Leslie’s plan might be working, at least until Ben’s dad shows up with his girlfriend. Slight speed bump, everything is terrible. Ulani wants in on the unity quilt, so Leslie gives her the waffle square. Waffles across the world revolt. Ben’s mom is so upset that she mangles Leslie’s coziest metaphorical art project with a pair of scissors. (Ulani, in perfect deadpan: “Oh I didn’t know we could cut that.”) Ulani is the hanging chad of unity quilts.

I think Leslie finally understands what Ben was trying to tell her. She climbs into the cab–because if the quilt can’t do it, no one can–and is ready to run off to Paris with her fiancé, but the two of them have apparently Freaky Fridayed, because Ben now understands what Leslie was trying to tell him. The quilt was AWESOME, and darn it, he wants his parents at their wedding!

Leslie and Ben together are more powerful than the quilt: they sit their parents down and give it to them straight. They will all attend the wedding, and as long as Ben’s parents don’t interact with each other, they’ll be free to enjoy the waffle tower at the reception. Because that’s happening, right? And no matter what family drama they might endure, Leslie stays focused on the important part: Ben. He’s the one she’s marrying, not his family, and Ben’s not crazy—at least not yet.

Next page: Bacon-wrapped shrimp!

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