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Recap / Parks And Recreation S 04 E 03

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Chris: (to Leslie) You're more Pawnee than anyone I know. So I say tell them the truth and trust that they're gonna respect you for it.

Leslie appears on a local radio show to promote her new book, Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America, a historical guide to Pawnee which she originally wrote for herself, and her campaign managers encouraged her to release it to the public.

Tom shows up at the Parks Department and tells Leslie that Joan Callamezzo has agreed to talk about Leslie's book on Pawnee Today to consider adding it to her book club. If Joan puts her sticker on the book, it's in the club, which will guarantee high sales and help Leslie's campaign for city council. However, before Leslie goes on the show, an anonymous source claims there is an inaccuracy in the book and Joan won't consider it for that. Leslie assigns everyone in the department to do some fact-checking for a possible mistake. Ann is teamed up with April and Ron, who are less than thrilled. Ann's goal is to get them to carry a conversation with her for one whole minute.

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On Pawnee Today, Joan drops her "Gotcha" bomb: they received a tip that Leslie was not, as she claimed, born in Pawnee, and therefore her book will not be added to the club. After the show, Leslie continues her schedule with Chris and Andy, while Ben and Tom stay to work on Joan.

Ben and Tom take Joan out to lunch, which Tom is confident he'll handle well because he always playfully flirts with Joan. However, he calls everything off when she begins hitting on him for real due to her impending divorce. Joan becomes very drunk during her lunch with Tom and Ben, forcing them to take her home.

Leslie tries to promote her book at the local bookstore, but the damage from her "Gotcha" interview with Joan has already been done. Things get out of hand when people start to ask her questions about her place of birth and she and her team have to leave the event. Leslie meets with her advisers and shows them her birth certificate, which says she was born in Wamapoke County. They tell her she needs the long-form version at the county records office, which is located in Eagleton.

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At the records office, Leslie learns that it can take several weeks before she can get a copy of her birth certificate. Chris tries to charm the receptionist but it doesn't work. When the receptionist leaves, Andy sneaks into the archives and steals the birth certificate. To Leslie's shock and horror, she learns that she was born in Eagleton.

Joan is really drunk, making sexual passes at Ben and Tom as they take her home. They drop her off at her house, lay her down in bed and make a quick escape before things get more uncomfortable with her.

Leslie confronts her mother. Marlene admits that Leslie was indeed born in Eagleton, but only because Pawnee's hospital was overrun with raccoons when she went into labor and the Eagleton hospital was the only other option they had, and she didn't have the heart to tell Leslie the truth because she knew it would break Leslie's heart.

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The next day, Ann shows up and casually mentions to Ron and April something gross that happened at the hospital last night. They are enthralled by her story and Ann successfully gets them to carry a conversation with her for a little over a minute. But when Ron deliberately calls her by a different name, she leaves.

Leslie wonders what to do about this information, feeling depressed and that she is not a true Pawneean. Ron thinks she doesn't have to tell anyone anything, but Chris reassures her by telling her that she's more Pawnee than anyone he knows and encourages her to tell the truth and trust the voters. Tom gets Leslie back on Pawnee Today and she apologizes for misleading the voters. When Joan is ready to attack, Leslie starts talking about how much she loves Pawnee and wants to continue making it better, asserting "You can't choose where you were born, but you can choose where you live."

Leslie gets her wish - Joan has allowed the book into the book club but has also put a big "Gotcha!" sticker on the back.

Tropes

  • Bilingual Bonus: Anyone who speaks Norwegian will immediately realize that the song from "the lesbian Norwegian-Afro funk duo Nefertiti's Fjord" is actually just a really bad remix of the Norwegian national anthem.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Tom refuses to take advantage of Joan while she's drunk, taking her back home and making sure she's laying down right.
  • Defictionalization: Leslie's book "Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America" is available in real life. It serves as a little encyclopedia that gives out details about the setting, characters, and events not covered in the show proper.
  • Dreadful Musician: The "Norwegian-Afro funk duo Nefertiti's Fjord" is terrible. Even Derry Murbles agrees with that assessment.
  • Heroic BSoD: Leslie is distraught when she finds out that she was born in Eagleton.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: Leslie is horrified to learn that she was actually born in Eagleton because she hates the place, as do most of the voters in Pawnee. However, thanks to some inspiration from Chris, she realizes that it's the choice to continue living in and trying to improve Pawnee that really matters, and manages to communicate that to the voters. (Plus, the only reason why she was born in Eagleton was that Pawnee's hospital was overrun with rabid raccoons at the time, and Eagleton's hospital was the only one nearby that was in a reasonably good state.)
  • Lady Drunk: Joan Callamezzo gets absolutely plastered during her lunch with Ben and Tom.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Downplayed. It's not mean-spirited, but Ron deliberately gets people's names wrong so they know he doesn't want to get chummy with them.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: This episode is clearly a jab at the conspiracy theories that assert Barack Obama was actually born in Kenya instead of the USA.
  • Running Gag: Andy breaks yet another computer monitor.
  • Shout-Out: While she processes the fact that she was born in Eagleton, Leslie cries in disgust that Voldemort was probably born there too.
  • Shrine to Self: Pawnee Today host Joan Callamezzo's house is full of paintings of herself, some of them nude.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Joan was already known to be vain, but her house is also revealed to be decorated with several nude portraits of herself.
  • You Are What You Hate: Played for Laughs. Staunch Eagleton hater Leslie turns out to have been born there, to her horror. However, as Chris points out, it doesn't matter because she grew up in and wholeheartedly loves Pawnee.
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