Parks and Recreation Recap: “Gin It Up!”–El Diablo

I love that Leslie Knope loves Pawnee even when it isn’t easy. She doesn’t take the town’s flaws as an excuse to stop caring; she takes them as a reason to care even harder. I love that this show portrays public service as hard work, but work worth doing, and I love that it insists that work worth doing should always be done, regardless of how many people appreciate you for it. I love that Leslie is up for that challenge. But sometimes I just want to take her to eat waffles in some other corner of the world and tell her that it’s ok to care for herself too.

Parks and Recreation

This recall isn’t going to be easy, but does it have to be quite so hard? Everyone’s following the herd and putting Leslie down because a few people in power don’t like her. That’s the way our country looks from far away, but look at any small town and you’ll find a network of people who care. Leslie’s given so much for her community. Shouldn’t she have a few more allies speaking up on her behalf? If Leslie Knope and the Parks Department are the only optimists out there, the only ones fighting for the right thing, then this is kind of a cynical show. And Parks is not a cynical show. So step it up, Pawnee. Start appreciating what you have, or so help me I will drag your councilwoman to Sweden and carve her likeness out of goat cheese.

Til then, the Parks Department will just keep on quietly doing the work, putting Don’t stickers on Recall Knope neck massagers and drumming up support on social media. The team hits a bit of a snag when Donna accidentally sends a personal tweet on the Parks Department account, and it’s Donna, so it isn’t tame. Use your imagination, but firemen, tongue baths, and an eggplant are forever changed.

chris traeger dark place

This kind of scandal (#twitterwatergate) is like a slow Tuesday for Councilman Dexhart, but he shows up to support his bestie Jamm in this time of great personal triumph, and also maybe to try to get with Donna after the trial or something; I don’t know how his mind works. Together, the Boys Club grills Leslie on the origin of the tweet before eventually calling Donna to the hot seat. They’ve got access to her private Twitter account. If you thought Donna looked miserable before, you haven’t seen the half of it.

Donna’s Twitter turns out to be more than just a True Blood fan’s paradise. It’s also where she blows off steam when Leslie has her on one of those inane tasks that only Donna ever seems to get stuck with. She actually calls her #BitchBoss, which is especially upsetting given that it’s Leslie’s second least favorite term for a woman. Leslie goes to Chris for guidance—is she really that bad?—and gets a neat little summary of her personality.

“I think that you ask a lot of the people that you work with. And I think that people do what you ask because they love you. But I also think that driving people as hard as you do can ruffle some feathers.”

That’s Leslie in a nutshell. She expects a lot of people, but she still makes them love her, even when she’s causing a stir. Chris has also found a few more tweets, ones that Jamm never mentioned because they wouldn’t help his cause. For every #BitchBoss, there’s a #BossBitch: a tweet celebrating Leslie for her strength and tenacity and the way she takes bullets for people. Just switch the order of two words, and suddenly they’re a term of endearment. A word that Leslie can’t stand has a totally different meaning to Donna. It’s almost like this show writes every woman with a unique but equally valid perspective, or something.

The words matter less than the work, and Leslie and Donna are on the same side there. So they make amends, maybe become nail polish twins, and join forces to stop the real troublemakers here: the councilmen, who’d rather drag someone’s name through the mud than build anything of value. Leslie’s done with this trial. She’s got a town to help. Now if only the town would return the favor.

Next page: the old Ds without Bs

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