Parks and Recreation Recap: “Leslie vs. April”–Precious Cargo

So I know Ben and Leslie just bought a house, and it’s big and it’s nice and it has an Oprah Suite, but I think they’ve found an even better one.

parks leslie vs april 1

Knope 2024, America. Make it happen.

Ben and Leslie are back in DC to claim the last of his stuff, but they might as well leave it there. Sooner or later, this couple is bound for the capital. And you know what I love most? The thought of Ben as First Gentleman. Ben loves it too, because he’s smart and confident, and he supports Leslie’s ambitions.

So does Parks and Rec. Here’s a woman whose aspirations were once played for laughs, and now here she is talking about 2024 while a whole host of Americans cry out YES PLEASE. Fans have found in Lesile something we all need: the belief that optimism and empathy can still be assets, that hard work is important, passion is important, and public service is a noble calling. Leslie Knope at the White House has become its own kind of American dream.

“Leslie vs. April” is all about dreams, really, and none of them are bigger than the one Ben fulfills. He grabs Leslie’s hand and tells her that he got her an engagement present, and it’s better than a waffle tower. Just a little better.

It’s Joe Biden.

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Leslie’s celebrity sex list IN THE FLESH. She gets all giggly and swoony (“My name just came out of your mouth!”) and initiates increasingly inappropriate levels of contact. Ben’s face is my favorite—it’s a mixture of horror and curiosity, like what you might feel when your child starts climbing on a national monument. It’s not ok, but the pictures are adorable.

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leslie kissing biden

Biden is such a great sport. He rolls with everything Amy Poehler throws at him (politics and improv: basically the same?) and seems genuinely delighted to be there. And he IS delighted! Check out this quote:

My whole family loves Parks and Recreation and I had a great time filming that scene. It was a real honor that in my sitcom debut I got to meet someone like Leslie Knope, who believes so deeply in public service. She’s an example for men and women across the country that there’s no higher calling than helping other people.

Y’all, the Vice President of the United States of America filmed a scene for a sitcom and then stated that HE was honored to meet that sitcom’s FICTIONAL CHARACTER. This is what Leslie Knope means to people. Eventhe Obamas watch Parks and Rec as a family. I’m so proud.

As Leslie leaves, she warns a Secret Service agent—with a catch in her throat—to keep Biden safe. “HE IS PRECIOUS CARGO!” Amen, sister.

In 2024, I nominate Andy to head up Leslie’s Secret Service team. When his computer goes missing, he assumes that his friends took it to help him train for the police exam. “A game is the foot!” Fun fact: Donna took her talents to South Beach this weekend. Regular fact: Andy can’t tell when people are lying. That will come up in his police work. Unfun fact: his computer was actually stolen. It’s Chris who finally figures that out. Speaking of which, this is Chris Traeger’s face at rest.

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Thank youuuu, Rob Lowe.

When an actual cop arrives, Andy realizes that police work is a lot more routine than the action movies make it out to be. To help give him a taste of the real world, Chris offers Andy a job as City Hall’s weekend security guard. I’m really hoping this turns out well—I want Andy to catch his dreams. It’s just a question of whether he can learn and mature without losing his enthusiasm for life. Or his shirt.

In other career news, Tom is making progress with Rent A Swag. Ben agrees to help him with his business plan, because Tom didn’t use one R. Kelly lyric, and that takes serious restraint. They hit the town to find partners and publicity, but everyone’s more interested in hiring Ben. I love what a fully-realized world Pawnee is. Old friends always come back to play (hi, Jessica Wick!), and you really believe that in this small town, word of Ben’s big-city success would travel quickly. He even gets offered a job on live TV, which is great if you want to see him call Perd Hapley “Turd Crapley” every week. Which, for the record, I do.

Ben turns down the offers because he’s already got a new/ old job at the accounting firm, and they gave him a pretty sweet windbreaker. Tom, fresh off a round of rejection, scolds him for not taking advantage of these opportunities. Ben deserves a job that’s cool enough to be on A&E, and accounting is not that job. It takes a while for Tom’s advice to sink in, but as soon as Ben sees his name plate on the desk, he turns down the job.

Last time Ben did that, he landed on the couch. Now, he’s already tasted success, he’s in high demand, and he finally has the luxury to build something great with his career. Nobody in that accounting firm would ever hug him like Tom does. Then again, Tom can’t give him stability and a health plan and above-average pay…Commence Ben’s panic face.  You’re gonna be ok, Ben.

Next page: Knoped, Ludgated, and Perkinsed

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