All the best shows have special episodes in London, so I guess it’s official now. Parks and Rec is all of the best shows. All of them, all rolled into one. Welcome back, show. I feel like I’m home again.
Season six picks up right where we left off: in Ron’s office, with a positive pregnancy test hanging over our heads. There’s going to be a baby Swanson, you guys. A tiny baby Swanson in baby flannel! RON’S GONNA BE A DAD!
And he really goes for it. The moment Ron tells Diane, “Ok, here’s what I’m thinking,” you know exactly how it’s gonna be. Ron Swanson, who ran away from Tammy and hid in the woods, is not running away from this. He wants to be with Diane forever, no matter what, so he grabs a tiny wooden box and proposes right there in his office. That sound you hear is a lovingly carved canoe weeping alone in Ron’s woodshop. And since neither Ron nor Diane wants a big wedding, there’s really nothing to stop these two grown-ass adults from doing what they want and marrying each other right now.
This show throws together surprise weddings like sneak attack hugs, which is great, because (a) sneak attack hugs are the most spontaneously love-filled of all the hugs, (b) it’s ballsy storytelling, and (c) it freaks Leslie out. Leslie likes to acknowledge important moments, and she panics when too much importance comes at her all at once. (“This is like a waking nightmare of happiness.”) Still, she manages a brilliant highlighter bouquet, which I’m sure Diane’s daughters will soon rub all over Ron’s face.
Back in the real world, Pawnee is still trying to recall Leslie’s City Council seat. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS TOWN. Councilwoman Knope’s 40-phase defense initiative is currently in its pivotal 26th phase: No Problem Too Small. That’s the one where Leslie hears and personally solves the problems of every individual Pawneean, aka Leslie continues to live her life as usual, but with a banner. April has something else in mind. She thought outside the box and nominated Leslie for an International Coalition of Women in Government Award, and Leslie won. Parks Department, you’re going on a Love Actually bus tour.
The award ceremony is full of symmetrical faces and wolverine wranglers and hot damn, that green and black dress. Leslie’s overwhelmed. The town she loves doesn’t love her back right now, and raccoons aren’t nearly as hardcore as wolverines. What does she have to show for herself? We all know she has waffles, friendship, Ben Wyatt’s butt, and that green and black dress. But she’s under a lot of pressure right now, and she doesn’t have enough time to properly acknowledge the moment, so instead she just calls Pawneeans a bunch of pee-pee heads. As Knope speeches go, it’s a bit rough, and thanks to Jerry, the entire town just saw it happen. Ron sits Leslie down for a heart-to-heart in the cruel European air.
“You choose a thankless job, you can’t be upset with nobody thanks you. And by the way, April thanked you. She nominated you for this award…April respects you, and so do many others.”
RON IS SO WISE. Leslie knows he’s right, so she goes back home and does the small things. Her problems haven’t gone anywhere, because the real world doesn’t always reward you for doing what’s right, but she’s at least confident that her work is worth doing. Odie April brings it home with the best gift Leslie could ask for: the reminder that she has a purpose and she’s living it out every day. April proves it in the person she’s become.
Dear Award Committee: Where I live, there are a lot of apathetic people—people who don’t care at all about what they do or how they do it. They let the world wash over them and barely notice anyone else is even there. Leslie Knope is not one of these people. She cares about everything and everyone in our town. I don’t know how she does it; people come to her with the pettiest, stupidest problems, and she cares — like, really, actually cares — what happens to them. And, if you’re lucky enough to be her friend, your life gets better every day. She spends every waking moment thinking of new ways to make her friends happy. There is something wonderful about seeing someone who has found her true purpose on earth. For some people, I guess that’s being an astronaut or a hot dog eating champion. For Leslie, her true purpose on earth, her true meaning, is helping other people with their dumb problems. That’s what I love about her, and that’s why she deserves this award.
April Roberta Ludgate-Dwyer, you aren’t even a little bit apathetic.
And really, everyone should want to be Leslie Knope’s friend. Her friendship comes with a personalized European adventure! (I WANT.) Leslie’s wedding gift to Ron is a journey to the heart of the Lagavulin distillery, complete with sheep, landscapes, and the work of Robert Burns. No, I’m not crying, and neither is Ron.
And Ron’s not the only one whose stay in Europe gets extended. Ben and Andy (who gave up beer and is lookin’ fine) have a business meeting with a potential donor to their after-school music program. Lord Covington turns out to be an overgrown child with absolutely no idea how to spend his money, but he knows a sharp tactical mind when he sees one, and Andy is IT. Can Andy stay behind for three months to help kickstart a non-profit? April says yes. They can deal with the distance, and anyway, Andy shined shoes for two years and never made a profit. These two and their constantly reassuring physical contact complete me.
Next page: Who is Colin Firth when no one’s looking?