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Recap / Parks And Recreation S 04 E 08

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Leslie: (to Ben) I miss you like crazy. I think about you all the time. I want to be with you. So let's just say screw it.

Leslie and Ben are working together on a project to establish the smallest park in Indiana that will be built on the site of the last remaining payphone booth in town. This should be a quick project as Ben doesn't foresee any obstacles. Meanwhile, Chris assigns Tom and Jerry the task of changing the new font for the Parks and Recreation Department logo.

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Andy, wanting to do more with his life, decides to take a class at Pawnee Community College and enlists April to help him decide which one. The college is offering a "shopping period" where prospective students can try out different classes to see which ones they want to take. Ron suggests Andy try something new and broaden his horizons, but April tells him to take a class on something he already knows so he can get an easy A.

Ben informs Leslie that when this project is finished, he's going to decrease his time working with the Parks Department. Leslie does not take this well. Desperate to keep him around, Leslie decides to delay the opening of the park for as long as possible so they can keep working together.

Tom is bored with Jerry's presentation on fonts. He wants to do a complete makeover for the department, but Jerry thinks they should stick with the assignment Chris gave them.

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At the college, Andy tries a beginner's guitar class, but he quickly finds himself bored with it. Ron suggests that Andy challenge himself with something he's never looked into before and they resume looking around. Andy tries an Introduction to Lasers class but leaves when it turns out they won't be playing with real lasers. Having tried both April and Ron's suggestions, Andy makes his decision the same way he makes every decision: at random. He flips through the class catalog and his finger lands on Intro to Women's Studies, which he finds fascinating.

Leslie complains to Ann about her problems with Ben. She and Ben only have their work keeping them close now, and soon they won't even have that. Leslie ignores Ann's advice to lay off and listen to Ben. As part of her plan to keep dragging out the smallest park project for as long as possible, Leslie holds a public forum for the park with Ben. She encourages everyone to participate, but is annoyed when the usually disagreeable Pawnee townspeople are supportive of the park and Ben puts an end to the forum after 45 minutes.

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Leslie subsequently sets up the new park with a busy schedule of events. When some citizens come to complain, she informs them that there have been no studies done on the environmental impact of the park and gets the citizens protesting when she claims there could be loud events at the smallest park. When Chris and Ben show up and see the protests, Ben shuts the protests down and says the park will just be a patch of grass with a little bench, refuting Leslie's falsehoods. Chris happily calls Ben and Leslie his dream team for the handling of the situation, but Ben argues that Leslie is a team of one and a steamroller and he no longer wants to work with her because she never respects his wishes and always demands things to go her way.

Tom has gotten off-track with his and Jerry's assignment, making plans to remodel existing parks and pitch a reality show. Jerry tells Tom these plans are outlandish, but Tom argues that he's a dreamer. Jerry points out that Tom's big dreams were what doomed Entertainment 720. This puts a damper on Tom's enthusiasm for the job and he becomes despondent about his future as a mindless bureaucrat. Jerry suggests Tom just do what he's supposed to do as the best way to survive the job. He then mentions that he has his original ID card from when he first started working at the Parks Department in the 1970s. Upon looking at it, Tom has an idea.

Andy tries to register for his class but is shocked to learn that it will cost nearly a thousand dollars. April suggests having her parents pay for it, but Andy refuses it because he feels it would be embarrassing to ask.

Leslie complains to Ann about how Ben called her a steamroller. Ann tries to get a word in edgewise but Leslie won't let her finish. Ann finally snaps and yells to Leslie that she is a steamroller and Ben is right about her overbearing need to have things go her way. Leslie realizes Ann is right and she needs to leave Ben alone.

April and Andy try to sell MouseRat CDs and candy bars at exorbitant prices at the shoeshine stand to raise money to pay for his class registration fee. When Ron comes looking for them, they tell him they can't pay for college, so Ron offers to pay for it himself, giving Andy the "Ron Swanson" scholarship.

Ann, knowing how miserable both Leslie and Ben are, encourages Ben to talk to Leslie.

Tom pitches the 70s style font from Jerry's old ID card to Chris, along with limited edition Parks Department merchandise and gear using the new logo. Tom gives credit to Jerry for the inspiration. Chris is impressed with their work.

Later that night, Ben and Leslie meet at the tiny park. Leslie admits that her recent actions were selfish and inconsiderate and apologizes. The two reluctantly agree to keep their distance from each other. As Ben prepares to leave, Leslie adds that they could just say "screw it" and get back together, as she misses him badly and wants him back more than anything. Ben worries about the ramifications, but Leslie asserts that she doesn't care if getting back together with him will jeopardize her City Council campaign or her job. She asks Ben what he wants. He responds by kissing her, ready to face the consequences of their relationship.

Andy goes in for his first day of class, and though he doesn't seem to quite grasp the concepts being taught, he takes them in with gusto. His professor finds him odd.

Tropes

  • Amazon Chaser: Ron expresses an attraction for Andy's Women's Studies professor for her strength and independence.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Jerry, of all people, is able to get Tom to stop fooling around with a bunch of ludicrous ideas to make the Parks and Rec department "cooler" and more "hip" (like a reality show for the Park Rangers, among other things) when they're just supposed to make a new font for the department's logo with this as his closing line.
    Jerry: Plus, wasn't dreaming big exactly what got you in trouble with your old company?
  • Big Eater: Ann once ate a whole cheesecake at a potluck so Leslie wouldn't look bad. When Ben asks why she didn't throw it away, Ann only replies that it was delicious and with everything Leslie's done for her, she would've eaten ten cheesecakes if she had to.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Ron concurs with Andy's Women's Studies teacher when she calls marriage a form of slavery. April also admires Joan of Arc for being burned at the stake.
    • While bemoaning his lot as a mindless government drone, Tom groans that he'll become like Jerry in the future, living in a middle-class house with a loving wife and three beautiful kids that he eats home-cooked meals with, and calls it a miserable existence.
    • Andy doesn't quite realize that Ron is offering to pay for his college class:
      Ron: You have just won a Ron Swanson scholarship.
      Andy: I don't think so. I don't remember applying for that.
      April: No, Andy. Ron. Swanson. Scholarship.
  • Determinator: Ann calls Leslie out for her single-mindedness, as while it's usually admirable, it also causes Leslie to sometimes be oblivious to other people's feelings.
    Ann: You're a steamroller! You are a massive, enormous, runaway steamroller with no brakes and a cement brick on the gas pedal!
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Jerry shows Tom his old ID card, you can see that the name tag reads "Garry Gergich". One episode later, it's revealed that Garry is "Jerry's" real name.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Ron states that he would never be miserly with his gold that he buried underground.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Leslie's bullheadedness can make her blind to how her actions can sometimes hurt others, but she really doesn't mean for that.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: April wants to be burned at the stake like Joan of Arc.
  • Oh, Crap!: Andy has a mild one of these as he gets ready to attend his first day of class:
    Ron: First day. You ready?
    Andy: As ready as I'll ever be. Oh, crap. I forgot my books and my computer.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Tom re-does the Parks and Recreation logo using the "handguns as R's" font from The Sopranos.
    • Leslie made Ann watch all eight of the Harry Potter movies in one day.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    Leslie: The current title [for world's smallest park] is held by Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Terryville. Well, you know what? Terryville sucks old car tires and so does Martin Luth... oh wait. No. No, he does not suck old car tires. He was one of the greatest men in history. Sorry. Sometimes I get competitive.
  • They Do: Ben and Leslie are unable to deny their feelings any longer and get back together at the end.
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