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Parks and Recreation has one of the best holiday episodes of the season and sets things in motion for Leslie's campaign when the show returns from holiday hiatus.
Leslie is obviously going to have issues with her two week suspension and the episode's cold open is a great beat for her and Chris. Leslie is in the office late at night trying to load up some work on her jump drive and Chris, knowing Leslie all too well, stops by on his run to stop the inevitable. I am sure Leslie wasn't able to outrun Chris and she is left to figure out how to pass her time while still trying to have an impact on the community. Her attempts include creating PCP and LSD, no not the drugs, and it is great to see Leslie on the other side of those town hall meetings. Her spark and intensity in the workplace seems normal most of the time, but throwing her in the crowd of Pawnee crazies shows just how easily she blends in with them; a fun little change of perspective. Getting to see Leslie circumvent her suspension was a lot of fun and they did it about as best as they could; even if it was ended kind of easily.
Ben is on the hunt for a new job after "resigning in disgrace" and we get to meet some new and old faces along the way. Ben's first interview is to be the accountant for an accounting firm and while it’s as dry as it sounds, Ben's "cal-cu-lator" joke was worth the price of admission. Next is Dennis Feinstein who has one of the most awkward interview processes I have ever seen, the position's incumbent sits in on the interview. It's when Ben runs into a sage like Jean Ralphio that he sees that he shouldn't jump into anything he isn't excited about and decides to take some time off and figure out what he wants to do.
Ben, surprisingly, isn't going to take over Leslie's campaign when her handlers drop out after she polls at 1%, that role goes to the entire parks department. After Leslie wows everyone with amazing, and I mean amazing, gifts, the group utilizes all their talents to get her the best present in the world; her new campaign team. Along the way they make a kick ass gingerbread Parks Department, Ron gets a couple great moments, and we discover how much Leslie really loves Ann. Again, all the guys not named Ben and Leslie are basically in support mode here, but they are used to such perfection that we don't really mind.
Parks and Rec does a great job of inserting a holiday theme while moving characters and plot forward along the way this week and I can't imagine much better results. Leslie and Ben get a lot of the focus again this week, but the laughs and screen times are a bit more evenly divided among the cast, with everyone nailing their respective roles per usual. It's hard to come up with many new superlatives for this show as it just continues to grow and excel as a character piece as well as a compelling narrative. Great work, again.
-Ooo, synthetic bee's wings.
-"I feel the same way, resigning in disgrace."
-I like how Ben is wearing resigning in disgrace almost as a badge of honor.
-April's painting, AMAZING!
-Ron's present might be even better, he is going to cry.
-"Calculator," this office looks amazing.
-Poor Ron, he just wants to whittle.
-Keep salguar away from me?
-Perfect Andy and April beat, oh, salguar tastes like Fruit Loops?
-Friday Night Lights! Clear eyes, full hearts.
-Marshmallow Ron Swanson, I am going to make one.
-"Go throw up."
-"I'm talking about the best vacation of my life."
-"Her daughter is an idiot!"
-It is great seeing Leslie on the crazies' side of things and how close she is to being just like them.
-"See you in hell!"
-1%? How is that possible?
-"I almost fell asleep in that sentence."
-Oh, Jean Ralphio.
-"Oh my god I'm pregnant." This was the line of the night.
-"And Anne specifically."
-"Which would bother me if I was an 8 year old girl."
-Oh, the whole parks department is going to manage her campaign, how sweet.
-Great shot through the gingerbread window.
-"So I just go out the same way I came in?"