• Parks and Recreation recap: “Li’l Sebastian” (season finale, part 1)

    aziz ansari

    Jean-Ralphio and Tom are scheming. They want to start a new exclusive high-end entertainment/events production conglomerate. It’s called 720 Productions–because they’ll go around the world twice for their clients. I’ll give you a moment to clean up the vom before I continue.

    Ready? Okay. Leslie announces to the crew that Pawnee’s most beloved star, human or equine, Li’l Sebastian (the mini-horse from “Harvest Festival”), has died. The City Hall flag is at half-mast, and Leslie needs all hands on deck to plan the mini-horse memorial service. Jerry has the perfect Dante Alighieri poem, but Leslie shoots that down (it’s Jerry, after all) and asks Andy, lead singer of Mouse Rat, to write a tribute song that is like “Candle in the Wind” but 5,000 times better, and he agrees after April negotiates a tight $50 out of her. Ron is the most upset about Li’l Sebastian’s passing, and requests to lay the ceremonial wreath at the ceremony that will be thrown by none other than 720 Productions.

    In other news, our little chipper chipmunk Chris has tendonitis in his shoulder. So he thinks he’s dying and tells Ann as much. Oh Chris, you creaky old bag of bones, you can’t stop death, no matter how much Kombucha you guzzle. Plus, you’re creeping Ann (and all of us) out.

    Leslie and Ben are sneaking around the office carrying on their torrid love affair (which began in “Road Trip,” last week’s what-I-thought-was-the-finale-but-didn’t-even-recap-because-I’m-a-lazy-fuck). Les swishes off to their secret meeting place (Ann’s office) but her irresistible sartorial brew of sophisticated with a dash of slutty is met by not her paramour but by Ron Swanson who point blank asks her, “So, how long have you been sleeping with Ben?” Dun dun dun…

    Leslie fumbles a denial, then Ben shows up for the rendezvous and fumbles a cover for being there. Aww, fumblers/mumblers in love. Ron admits that he figured they’d be meeting clandestinely because Ben “butt-dialed” him last night and he was treated to the succulent sounds of them making out–in the various styles of powerful women such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    On the grounds where Li’l Sebastian’s funeraltopia is to be held, Leslie and Ben discuss their delicious predicament. Only Leslie’s mom, Ann, and Ron know about their affair, and they won’t tell anybody. But they can’t let anyone else know. They agree to not fool around at work anymore. But then Leslie grabs Ben and makes out with his face—just as a random Parks Dept employee that Jean-Ralphio has hired to help set up asked them what to do with the torch for the eternal flame. Busted! (Aside: what color memorial ribbon “floats your penis”? Obsidian or Sleeping Panther?) Leslie and Ben approach George, the random dude that caught them making out, and explain that Ben was just congratulating Leslie for winning the MacArthur Genius Grant. Then they give him the rest of the day off.

    Leslie starts the show, er, memorial service. Equines Coconut and Ladybug are led onstage to the strains of an Oscar-ceremony orchestral score as Li’l Sebastian’s next of kin. Jerry is tasked with getting propane for the eternal flame while the video retrospective is shown. It’s something you should really view for yourself. Make sure you have some tissues handy.

    Time for the lead singer of Mouse Rat’s musical tribute–which totally is 5,000 times better than “Candle in the Wind.” Ron is especially touched, clutching his flameless candle to his breast (the other 4,999 of which are being waved in the wind like so many Zippos at a 1971 Led Zeppelin concert during “Thank You”). Afterward, while Donna reads the Dante poem in Italian (she really needs to brush up), Ron demands to know why Councilman Hauser is laying the ceremonial wreath instead of him. Leslie and Ben offer him the lighting of the eternal torch as a consolation. After a stirring speech and some military moves, Ron carries the flame toward the drum that will contain the eternal flame. Unbeknownst to anyone, Jerry wasn’t able to find propane and just used lighter fluid instead. Dun dun dun…

    Ron’s eyebrows are gone. His mustache is all kinds of fucked up. Tom asks his bald face for advice—should he work on he and Jean-Ralphio’s burgeoning exclusive entertainment business full-time, or should he stay at City Hall? Ron thinks he should stay, though it’s hard to listen to what he’s saying with his face looking like a baby’s ass. Hey! It’s Ron’s evil ex-wife Tammy (#2)! She has crawled out from the library wearing a formal funeral outfit and proceeds to hit on both Tom and Ron until they both run off in horror, Ron maneuvering away despite his pants tent.

    Leslie and Ben agree again that there is absolutely no more hanky panky in the office. This time, Ben grabs Leslie and makes out with her face. Get a park bench, will ya? Chris, a new fear of death/lease on life burning within, awkwardly asks Ann to be friends. See, he’d rather do 5,000 push ups with a wonderful woman than 10,000 push ups alone. Whatever that means.

    April and Andy are selling Mouse Rat CD singles to Kyle. April wrangles some cash out of him, prompting Andy to get down on one knee and ask her the biggest question he’s ever asked anyone in his entire life: will she be his manager? She’s super flattered and even smiles when she says, dully, “okay.”

    Leslie is approached by two mysterious strangers who say they are impressed with her work on the service and the Harvest Festival. They are on a search committee, and wonder if she’s ever considered running for public office. A couple of City Council seats are vulnerable, and the mayor’s term is up next year. And she is absotoottley interested! The vetting committee of weirdos ask Leslie if there is anything scandalous about her life that they should know about before they proceed, and she smiles, and says, “Nope!” (Knope!)

    Tammy’s heading home, not, as Ron suggested, by taking the number 12 bus to Satan’s Butthole, but via the number 69 train to Humpsville Station. Red alert! The OTHER Tammy (evil ex-wife #1) is in Ron’s office. Dun dun dun…

    R.I.P., Li’l Sebastian. Always in our hearts.

    Megan Gilbert

    Megan Gilbert is a Brooklyn-based writer, making her a mystical unicorn. She has written for the New York Press, Paste Magazine blog, Blush Media, Underwater New York. She writes ad copy for Gawker Media, holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College, and is working on a novel starring a mystical unicorn (jk). Read her work at ithardlymatters.com and follow her on Twitter: @ithardlymatt3rs

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