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Recap / Parks And Recreation S 03 E 16

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Ron: When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half-mast, I thought, 'All right. Another bureaucrat ate it.' But then, I found out it was Li'l Sebastian. Half-mast is too high. Show some damn respect!

Leslie announces to the Parks staff that Li'l Sebastian has died and they are tasked with organizing a memorial service for him. Leslie assigns tasks. Maintenance will set up the stage, Ron will lay a wreath, and Jerry offers to read a Dante poem. Andy is charged with writing a commemoration song.


Chris has been having pain in his shoulder and goes to the doctor, where he learns that he has tendinitis. The doctor says this is normal for men "of his age". At City Hall, he runs into Ann and learns that Li'l Sebastian has died. Chris is shaken by the news and starts to question his own mortality and his life's path.

Tom offers the services of Jean-Ralphio's new entertainment business, Entertainment 720, to put on the memorial service for free. Ron is reluctant, but Leslie allows it when Tom says he will be running it.

Leslie confesses to Ann that she's worried about getting caught in her relationship with Ben. They usually meet in Ann's office, but when Leslie gets there, Ron is waiting. He asks her how long she and Ben have been sleeping together. Flustered, she tries to deny it, but then Ben shows up and reacts in the same way. Ron has found out thanks to them accidentally leaving him a voicemail of them roleplaying while having sex and warns them that Chris will fire them if he learns about it.


Andy worries to April about the song he has to write. She gives him some suggestions.

At the event site, Ben and Leslie discuss their relationship, saying they shouldn't kiss or do anything while at work. Then they do kiss and are caught by a maintenance man named George. They try to convince him that it was just a congratulatory kiss, but he isn't fooled. They give him a gift certificate for a spa and the day off and thank him for his discretion.

The service starts. Unfortunately, George had the propane for Li'l Sebastian's eternal flame, so Leslie sends Jerry to get it, giving the poem reading duty to Donna. A series of job trading follows as Leslie and Ben try to cover their tracks. Andy sings his song, which is well received by the crowd. Ron complains to Leslie and Ben that he was supposed to lay the wreath, not light the memorial flame and realizes that they got caught. He nevertheless proceeds with lighting the flame, but since Jerry bought lighter fluid instead of propane, this causes a huge fireball to shoot into the air when Ron lights it, which singes off his eyebrows, part of his mustache and hair. Leslie and Ben start applauding, making the crowd think this was all part of the show.


Jean-Ralphio tries to talk Tom into joining him in his entertainment business. Although Tom has been thinking about leaving his city hall job, he still is not completely sure about it and takes some time to think about it.

Later that evening, there is an after-party at City Hall. Leslie and Ben discuss their relationship. They decide they won't do anything at work so they won't get caught. Ron encourages Tom in his decision to leave City Hall. Tammy then shows up to laugh at Ron's misfortune. Ann tries to cheer up Chris by telling him that his tendinitis might be because he's been overdoing it. He realizes he was overreacting and starts to think he should find a wonderful woman.

Tom hands in his resignation. Leslie is approached by some people who enjoyed her work on the memorial service and the Harvest Festival. Their job searches out candidates for local political office, and they want to know if she's interested in running for some kind of office, such as City Council or mayor. They warn her that her life will be an open book if she runs and ask her if there is any scandal that she should tell them. She denies any such scandals exist, thus omitting her secret relationship with Ben, and the scouts promise to contact her about preparing an electoral run.

Donna informs Ron that his other ex-wife, also named Tammy (whom he calls "Tammy 1") has arrived in town. Ron and Tammy 2 run for the hills.


  • All Part of the Show: Due to Jerry getting lighter fluid instead of propane for the eternal flame, it spouts off a massive fireball into the air that singes off parts of Ron's hair and the whole crowd gasps. Leslie and Ben salvage the situation by clapping and acting like it was intentional.
  • Character Death: Li'l Sebastian died.
  • Comically Missing the Point: During the moment of silence for Li'l Sebastian, the janitor comes into the office to empty trash. His music is playing and he doesn't notice the Parks staff standing silently with their heads bowed. Also, Andy, with his eyes closed, jams to the music.
  • Comic Role Play: As revealed by the voicemail they accidentally left on Ron's phone, Leslie and Ben roleplay as different politicians when having sex. At one point, they play Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
  • Death Is Such an Odd Thing: Chris reacts to Li'l Sebastian's passing with a minor existential crisis.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Harris appears again, bedside manner still as awful as ever. Chris even lampshades this, calling him the meanest person he ever met.
  • Flopsy: Jean-Ralphio got a bunch of money from pulling one of these lawsuits off, and wants to use it with Tom to open their own company together.
  • Foreshadowing: In the scene where Jerry gets a folder that Leslie meant for Ben that contains a private message, Leslie tries to pass it off as a typo and everyone is laughing at Jerry. Ron, however, is not laughing. He's giving Leslie a very stern look, which she misses completely. Ron has already figured out that Leslie and Ben are in a relationship and he's also upset at how careless they're getting.
  • Great Balls of Fire!: An unintentional example, as Jerry brought lighter fluid instead of propane for Li'l Sebastian's eternal flame, causing a massive fireball to shoot into the air when it gets lit.
  • Grief Song: "5,000 Candles in the Wind" is an Affectionate Parody (but completely serious in-universe) for Pawnee's greatest celebrity, Li'l Sebastian.
    Bye bye Li'l Sebastian
    I miss you in the saddest fashion
    Bye bye Li'l Sebastian
    You're 5,000 candles in the wind
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Chris weeps his eyes out during Li'l Sebastian's memorial service.
  • Literal-Minded: Leslie assigns to Andy the job of writing a song for the service.
    Leslie: Something like "Candle in the Wind", but 5000 times better.
    Andy: What's 5000 times better than a candle in the wind? This song is called "5000 Candles in the Wind".
  • LOL, 69:
    Ron: Catching the number 12 bus to Satan's butthole?
    Tammy 2: Actually, I prefer the number 69 train to Humpsville station.
  • Made of Iron: Ron. He survived getting hit by a school bus when he was a little boy, and he suffers little else other than his hair getting burnt off by the large fireball.
  • Manly Tears: Ron states he only ever cried twice in his life - first was when he was hit by a school bus as a child, second was when he heard Li'l Sebastian died.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Parks Department tries to have a moment of silence to commemorate the recently deceased Li'l Sebastian, only for a janitor to come in with the song "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" blaring out of his headphones.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ron and Tammy both run for the hills in horror when they find out Ron's first ex-wife has come into town.
  • Running Gag: Ben still doesn't get the appeal of Li'l Sebastian.
  • Sequel Hook: The final act sets up several arcs for Season 4: Leslie being asked to run for city council, Tom and Jean-Ralphio going into business together, and the appearance of Tammy 1.
  • Tear Jerker: Invoked.
    • Chris cries at Li'l Sebastian's funeral, mostly because he's overreacting about his own mortality.
    • Ron Swanson has only ever cried twice: at 7 years old when a bus ran into him, and when he found out that Li'l Sebastian had died.

Video Example(s):


Parks & Rec- Bye Bye Li'l Sebastian

Andy writes a song eulogizing Pawnee's greatest celebrity, Li'l Sebastian.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CelebrityElegy

Media sources:

Main / CelebrityElegy