Welcome back! My Parks and Rec recaps went into hibernation after joy-binging on waffles, so today’s flashbacky recap will be followed tomorrow by a recap of “Two Parties.” Stay tuned. It’s about to get K-razzy.
After seven years of waiting, Leslie Knope’s Ron Swanson google alert has finally hit paydirt. Our favorite mustache submitted his work to the Indiana Fine Woodworking Association, and he’s up for an award in Chair! Leslie invites herself to the banquet—even though Ron’s already taking Diane—because as his self-appointed emotional guardian, it’s Leslie’s “duty to love and support” Ron. Awwww.
The banquet is replete with bad puns (“wood I?!”), giddy star-struck Ron, and a slideshow remembering “the woodworkers who are no longer with us and the beautiful coffins they all designed themselves,” but that whole quirky world is just a backdrop for the women in Ron’s life to do their thing. Leslie vets Diane with some light getting-to-know-you questions about her hopes, fears, dreams, regrets, and Hogwarts house, and Diane passes, obviously. Two thumbs way up. Ron doesn’t need Leslie’s approval, but he LOVES Leslie’s approval.
This is actually the gesture I will one day make at Mike Schur, Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, et al, when I inevitably creep on them meet them under totally normal circumstances.
It’s all going well until Tammy 2 shows up to have a little fun with Ron—“and sometimes ruining his life may be a part of that, sure!” In classic Tammy tradition, she scandalizes every foodstuff/ inanimate object within a hundred-foot range, flustering Ron as he accepts his award for Chair (“This all good, night good…uh, there it is”). Fight the B-word, Knope. FIGHT IT. Leslie is determined to stop Tammy from ruining this beautiful little thing between Ron and Diane, but in the process, she becomes what Diane fears: the woman who has the most access to Ron.
Leslie knows Ron. She knows that his middle name is Ulysses (in retrospect, haven’t we always known that at some level?). She knows that he secretly loves artichokes and plums. She knows what happens when the Tammys get to him. Diane can handle your average hormonal psychopath, but she’s not sure how to handle Ron’s closeness with Leslie—not because Diane is petty or jealous, but because she sees the kind of man Ron is, and she’s worried that he can’t open up like that again. So it’s been proven: for all of the adorable soulmate couples in the Parks Department, the very non-soulmatey Ron and Leslie stand at the heart of this show.
Tammy waits in Ron’s car to seduce him, so Leslie takes his keys and spends the night fighting off the craziest piece of human garbage in Pawnee. At one point, Tammy grabs an axe, makes dinosaur noises, and runs straight for Leslie. This is the most I’ve ever wanted Megan Mullally to join this cast full-time.
Free at last, Ron takes Diane to Cozy’s and showers her with romantic reassurance, Swanson style.
“At this very moment, Leslie is throwing herself in front of a freight train named Tammy for me and you. Leslie is a wonderful, loyal friend who is very important in my life, but I would sooner visit Europe than have something romantic happen between us. Although, if you’d like to visit Europe, I like you so much I’d be willing to risk it.”
I’m already making noises that only dogs and small birds can hear, but we aren’t done yet. Ron shows Diane a part of himself that no one else has ever seen—not even Leslie.
He shows her Duke Silver.
DUKE SILVER HAS A DUCHESS NOW. I didn’t know how badly I needed this for him, or how badly I doubted it would happen, until he was standing onstage in a fedora and I was yelling as loudly as I did at certain episodes of Lost. Is this what it feels like to hug a pile of wet-nosed puppies on Christmas morning?
Don’t even think about killing Diane, jealous Duke Silver fangirl. We need her. Aside from Tammy 1, she’s the only person out there who intimidates Tammy 2. (Don’t mess with a Hufflepuff.) Diane is Ron’s emotional guardian now, and Leslie’s more than willing to hand over the title—as soon as someone rescues her from the trunk of Ron’s car. Emotional guardianship is hard work.
Next page: We meet at last, Jerry Filter.