While Parks and Recreaction fans still recall the good old days of Pawnee, Amy Poehler recently shared her interest for a potential reboot. If so, Leslie Knopp could return to Pawnee after she had left for Washington, D.C in the series finale.
Leslie’s reunion with The Parks and Recreation Department could also spell for more shenanigans and be the wildest Pawnee party yet — though it would have a high bar to clear. From unexpected weddings to bizarre gatherings, Leslie and her friends’ parties particularly allowed them to bond, have fun, and become a closer tight-knit Pawnee community.
While Leslie’s bachelorette party and Ben’s bachelor party are both less than ideal, it’s precisely because they’re not ideal that they end up so memorable and special. Ben’s bachelor party which starts out as a quiet night with beers and a game of Catan, turns into an individual bachelor party for each of the guys, sending them on an array of different locales for the night. Because Jamm is trying to sabotage their park yet again, Leslie and the other women spend their night digging up fake artifacts in the dirt with penis straws.
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This episode showcases the cast as an ensemble. Though the women and the men have their separate parties, the heart and the compassion they have for each other shines. It’s especially funny in that viewers get to see what makes each one of them happy and what each character views as their “perfect” party.
When Leslie decides on having a nice dinner party to impress her new love interest Justin, she doesn’t first disclose the fact that she’s essentially a hoarder, making her house unfit to invite guests. She ends up inviting over recreation center teachers for different tasks, but they see it as a sort of trial to see which programs should be cut.
The whole situation is comical and outrageous in that the commotion caused by Leslie trying to please everyone has a sort of disastrous snowball effect until it collapses in on itself. It also reaffirms the fact that even when Leslie is “playing” or enjoying life, she still manages to fit in work. Work is her play and vice versa. She cares about her job perhaps more than any other character in today’s sitcoms.
Andy and April’s Fancy Party
In season 3, when April and Andy invite everyone over for a fancy dinner party — unbeknownst to everyone else and after only a month of dating –, they abruptly announce that it is their wedding night. Andy hilariously tells the audience that he “cannot emphasize how little he and April thought about this.”
This is one of those relationships that although moved fast once they started dating, had a slow burn leading to them acting on their feelings. Therefore, it’s episodes like this that are truly satisfying. Andy and April–two of Parks and Recreations best characters– have proven to be the most sure and most inspiring when it comes to love.
In one of the show’s most unforgettable episodes, Tom invites everyone to the Snakehole Lounge to celebrate his endorsement of a new liqueur called Snake Juice. Ann and Leslie have their first disagreement, and mixed with Tom’s extremely potent drink, it boils over into drunken arguments and terrible dancing.
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Bringing the ensemble together through liquid courage along with fan favorite alter egos — Burt Macklin and Janet Snakehole — creates a chaotic yet welcoming feeling. It’s a party that every character forgot, but every viewer remembers.
In season 5, Ben and Leslie hold an engagement party where Ben’s parents are the main guests of honor. Problem is, they’re divorced and will find any reason to argue. In true Leslie fashion, she thinks this can be solved with a simple unity quilt that commemorates the two families coming together.
This episode exemplifies Ben and Leslie’s contrast in character so well. While they’re both quirky and share a deep sense of things overall working out, Ben is a lot more pessimistic and, because of things like Ice Town, has an underlying fear that if things can go wrong they will. Like most parties in Pawnee, it starts as a bit of a disaster, made hilarious by Ben’s parents dramatic behavior but also highlights the true magic in why Ben and Leslie work.
This episode tackles a lot of issues, which makes sense considering all the build up surrounding the Harvest Festival. Lil Sebastian makes another appearance, while also making a brief disappearance. Ron has his unabashed, child-like giggle toward said guest of honor. April and Andy reach a milestone in their new relationship. And the question mark hovering over Ben and Leslie gets closer to an answer.
Though it’s technically a parks department-planned event, it’s an episode that proves when this group of people gets together outside of work great and hilarious things are bound to happen.
Leslie and Ben
What’s originally supposed to be a black-tie gala event to help raise money for the park on lot 48 turns into Ben and Leslie’s most important episode – a wedding night. There are several small but crafty jokes strewn throughout the rush of having the whole night come together: Ben facetiously wanting Leslie to take his last name, Jerry butchering all of Tom’s prepared jokes, and Jamm’s chaotic interruption where he also announces he’s got five bathrooms.
There’s something not only special but particularly engaging about plans gone askew that forces the characters to scramble at the last minute. It creates tension, stakes, and because it’s a sitcom, laughs. Even better is that the show has already trained viewers that no matter how small, these are people who get things done. “Leslie and Ben” manages to capture the spirit of each character in fleeting moments.
Though the actual party for his retirement goes awry–Jerry accidentally sets his sleeve on fire–, the whole episode serves as a celebration of the kind of life he’s created for himself. Jerry may be the butt of every joke in the office, but he’s got more pressing matters to attend to than what other people think: his family.
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It’s a true eye-opening moment for Leslie, who puts professional responsibilities above all else. It’s also slightly satisfying when Tom gets dubbed the new Jerry as he’s always been a huge proponent in roasting Jerry. While it’s mostly with the audience, Jerry finally gets the kind of recognition he deserves.
Ann and Chris
In season 6, Ann and Chris are set to move to Michigan, but they can’t leave without Leslie first throwing an extravagant farewell party. She states that “there ain’t no party like a Leslie Knope party because a Leslie Knope party is actually 30 parties,” which is both unsurprising and true; viewers get a great shot of a Waffle Day banner, a Chinese New Year setup, Flag Day, and more.
The episode’s strength in both humor and affection is Ann’s individual goodbyes to everyone. They’re each so unique and strange yet right on par, proving that Ann made a lasting impact on each of them – even if Andy does think she and Chris are moving to Mexico.
It’s the Unity Concert, and in attendance are guest performers – The Decemberists, Wilco, Ginuwine, but most importantly, Mouse Rat reuniting to sing a tribute to the late Lil Sebastian.
It includes brief but great laughs with wonky favorites like Joan Calamezzo, the Sapersteins, and Tammy Two, but it also rewards the audience by putting celebrations at the forefront. Viewers love this episode because it brings both laughs and satisfying wrap-ups paired with new beginnings for most characters.
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About The Author
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Miranda Campbell graduated with her MFA in creative writing from Georgia College and State University. She freelance edits for Triplicity Publishing. She’s a sucker for tacos, The Office, people who can quote The Office, and a good used bookstore. Much of her inspiration comes from her favorite place—her home, Flagler Beach, FL. Her work appears in The Laurel Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Santa Clara Review, littledeathlit, The Helix Magazine, Saw Palm, Dime Show Review, and others. My piece ties into Capsule’s theme in that it is an essay about a time I almost drowned. How in that moment of panic I was able to see something more clearly and for what it was.
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