Meanwhile, April comes to Leslie with a big project: a Pawnee dog park. Leslie’s like a proud mom. She’s always seen April’s potential, and now April sees it too.
Side note: What is Leslie’s camera?
There’s only one problem with all of this: Lot 48. It’s the perfect place for the dog park, but Lot 48 has been Leslie’s pet project since season 1. This is where things start to fall apart, because a season 1 topic is bound to bring out season 1 Leslie, and season 1 Leslie can’t share very well. Worried that she’s created a FrankenKnope, Leslie searches for ways to stop April. She tries to sell her on a plot of land that technically requires hazmat suits. She tries to bribe her. She seeks encouragement from her framed photo of Joe Biden. She even goes to Ron for advice. “How did you slow me down when I was becoming too me-ish?” Leslie Knope, there is no such thing as being too Knope-ish. You wash that mouth out with soap right now.
If I had one complaint with this episode, it would be this: “Leslie vs. April” doesn’t really seem to know what being Knope-ish means. April has learned from Leslie’s passion, enthusiasm, and drive, but Leslie seems to have forgotten that she’s also defined by her empathy. She made April want to care, and now she doesn’t seem to care about April as much as her own ambition. She actually boos April at the council meeting. April feels so betrayed that she takes her ideas to Councilman Jamm. If you’re looking to not be betrayed, Jamm is a bad ally. He turns on April and suggests that Lot 48 would be best used as the site of a new Paunch Burger. Anyone else missing Sue’s Salads?
Back in the Parks Department, Ann puts Leslie and April in the octagon to talk everything out. Leslie finally remembers that she’s the kind of person who puts others first, and she apologizes for shutting down April’s passion after years of drawing it out. All is right with the world!
Look at April’s little smile. She’s so reluctant to admit her affection for Leslie but so genuine at the same time. If only Ann weren’t in the room. (“I love you too. I don’t wanna do this in front of her.”)
Peace restored, the women head to Jamm’s house to execute Leslie’s “dick move.” Oh Leslie, I love when you speak. They invite Pawnee’s dogs and kids to Jamm’s front yard, proving that everyone needs a place to play. Jamm is so freaked out by the dog dry-humping his lawn gnome that he relents, giving them 90 days to draw up a new plan for the lot. You just got Knoped, Ludgated, and Perkinsed, buddy.
Please tell me that Leslie and company will all be collaboratively awesome from now on. They’re better that way. Leslie’s ready to get to work right now, but Ann wants to pause and enjoy the moment. Leslie hits her with my new life motto: “I just said, ‘Let’s get to work.’ How else do people enjoy things?” Never change, Knope.
Snaps from Leslie’s Camera:
“The bad feelings make me feel sweaty.”
“We specialize in making stacks on stacks on stacks on stacks.”
“He’s smart and he’s beautiful and I think of him in many ways as a daughter, but that would be crazy ‘cause he’s a man and his name is Ricky.”
“People still talk about Mulch Ado About Nothing!”
Leslie: “I love this show!” April: “What’s your favorite part?” Leslie: “The heavy-handedness!”
Tom’s escargot delivery service: Snail Mail
Ron: “In this office, we treat everyone with respect.” Jerry: “Hey April, how’s that dog park coming?” Everyone: “GET OUT, JERRY! THIS IS PRIVATE!”
So what did y’all think? Am I being too hard on our hyper-focused Leslie? Will Andy, Tom, and Ben succeed at their new jobs? Can we get Obama on the show too?!! Let’s talk it out at JJ’s. Friendship waffles are on me.