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Recap / Parks and Recreation - S03 E08

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Leslie: You only get one chance to make a second impression.

After the success of the Harvest Festival, City Manager Paul holds a press conference to praise Leslie's hard work and express his anticipation for what she'll do next. As he calls her to the microphone, he suffers a major heart attack and grabs onto Leslie's breast as he collapses in pain. With Paul put out of commission from his heart attack and bypass surgery, Chris has been appointed as the new city manager. He too is excited to hear what Leslie's next idea will be, wanting more large-scale ideas to help generate revenue. Ann, who was dumped by Chris before he left Pawnee, is uncomfortable and awkward when running into Chris for the first time.

Feeling pressure to have another successful venture, Leslie announces to the Parks staff that they will go on a camping retreat to brainstorm ideas for their next project. The staff thinks that they shouldn't have to bother because Leslie always comes up with the ideas. When April complains to Andy about the camping trip, Andy promises to meet her at the site and set up a romantic date for them in private.

Ann laments to Leslie that she should be hating Chris right now. She thinks Chris was happy to see her, and wants to know Leslie's opinion on Chris' saying they should get together sometime. Leslie advises Ann not to get her hopes up and invites her on the camping trip. Ann accepts.

The team arrives at the campsite. Ron would prefer to skip the brainstorming and go fishing, Tom basks in his huge tent filled with items from SkyMall, and April, who hates the outdoors altogether, mopes as she waits for Andy to arrive. Ben has also come along but since he'd never gone camping before, he's brought only a sleeping bag. Later, Tom expresses confusion as to why Ben, a state auditor who had been helping with Pawnee's financial problems, has not returned to his old job at Indianapolis; Ben doesn't explain his reasons, but it is hinted he harbors romantic feelings for Leslie.

Andy has set up a romantic campsite, complete with balloons and champagne. He calls April to meet up, but his campsite is in a completely different area. He promises to come find April.

The brainstorming session doesn't accomplish much. No one attempts to come up with a good idea as they deduce Leslie's grand idea will supersede any of their ideas anyway. Ron proposes giving the Harvest Festival profits back to the citizens. Tom proposes an extremely expensive concert venue. Donna proposes a dog park for poodles only. Ben suggests investing the money, though Tom rejects this idea. Leslie calls out her team for not participating and sends them off for an hour to clear their heads and then she will tell them her idea. She confesses to Ann that she doesn't have any idea what to do and fears this is the best she'll be able to do.

Ron and Jerry go fishing, and Jerry annoys Ron with his family stories. April is getting frustrated at Andy's continued absence. Ben joins Tom in his fully equipped tent. As the team sits around the campfire at night, Chris shows up, on his nighttime run. He wants to hear what they've accomplished, but Ann suggests the two of them talk while the others work. Leslie confesses to her team that she has no ideas. The team decides to leave and go back home, but due to Tom having connected all his gear to the car's battery, the car won't start and the group is stranded.

Over dinner, Chris once again acts optimistic while discussing the break-up. Ann once again misunderstands him and thinks their relationship is back on and tries to kiss him but is rejected, severely embarrassing her. He kindly and clearly explains he's not looking to rekindle their relationship.

Everyone gets angry about being stuck in the woods, but Jerry mentions a nearby bed-and-breakfast, and they all head there. The bed and breakfast, called The Quiet Corn, is run by an old lady named Elsa, an over-the-top cat lover, which creeps everyone out. As April complains about the place to Donna, she hears music. Andy is outside, playing his guitar, having finally found April. The two of them slip into the tent Andy set up to have some alone time.

Leslie plans to stay up all night to come up with an idea, but Ron, recognizing how burnt out Leslie is, locks her into a bedroom to force her to get some sleep. With a rare full night's sleep energizing her, Leslie meets with Ron, Chris, and Ben the next morning and has whole a bunch of new ideas.


  • Actor Allusion: Ron wears a hat from a construction company in Minooka, IL, which is Nick Offerman's hometown.
  • Black Comedy: The very last scene shows Elsa playing the harpsichord for Jerry and Ben, though only the former enjoys it. Cut to Ben back at City Hall bluntly saying that she died about 20 minutes after.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kyle's identity has been stolen. Andy gets him to tell April about it, and Andy just can't stop laughing about it.
  • Camping Episode: It's right there in the name ("Camping").
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Tom's camping gear includes all sorts of amenities he bought from Sky Mall.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: The owner of the bed and breakfast has a lot of cats.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Tom leaves a TV and other electronics running off the car battery for hours. He's then surprised it won't start.
  • Fancy Camping: Tom brings a luxurious tent complete with an absurd amount of accessories and electronics. When asked how he affords it all, he says he buys it from Sky Mall and then returns it the next day, claiming that it's defective (and while crying). He powers his electronics with the car battery, which quickly kills it and strands the group.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: Everyone except Leslie and Ron hates camping. It just gets worse when Tom drains the van's battery with all his gadgets, leaving them stranded.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Leslie yells at her team for not coming up with an idea. She then confesses to Ann that she doesn't have any ideas either.
  • Lots of Luggage: Tom brings a ridiculous amount of state-of-the-art electronics to the department camping trip. Hooking them all up to the van drains the battery, leaving them all stranded.
  • My Car Hates Me: The van won't start because Tom drained the battery, leaving them stranded at night.
  • Noodle Incident: Paul grabs Leslie's breast as he's suffering his heart attack. Leslie describes the situation:
    Leslie: That was the second most awkward way a man has grabbed my breast.
  • Scenery Porn: The pollution from the Sweetums factory makes a beautiful sky.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: The old city manager suffers a heart attack and steadies himself by grabbing Leslie's breast.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: Andy goes to the wrong campsite and has to hike through rough terrain to get to the others, by which time they've all left.