Parks and Recreation recap: “I’m Leslie Knope”

The new season of Parks and Recreation premiered last night and, oh, what fun we had. And we found out so many things! So grab your go-bag and hightail it out of wherever you are and enter a world of municipal hijinks, dong shots, and big, abstract dreams.

At Li’l Sebastian’s memorial service, Leslie and Ann yay-squee over her having been approached by the Pawnee city council candidate search committee. Ron Swanson, in an obvious panic, takes Leslie on a psychotic wheeled-office-chair ride through the glimmering halls of the Parks Department to his secret stash of survival gear (behind a gilded duct vent that he unceremoniously rips from its hinges). What could make Ron so agitated? Make him tell Leslie he’s using his 200-plus accrued vacation days and that she needs to remove the stockpile of ground chuck in his office so it won’t spoil? You guessed it: Tammy. Tammy One, the very first Tammy, is back. From what, we don’t know. But she’s back, and coming for Ron.

Leslie’s keeping her little running-for-office thing a secret from Ben. She has to break up with him if she wants to run (she can’t afford the scandal of sleeping with her boss), and she can’t fathom giving up sleeping with her boss. Her sweet, kind boss who buys her presents. As she explains this to Ann, they both get dong shots emailed to them. The gang gathers at Jerry’s computer to view the dirty pictures, as the dong shot heard ‘round Pawnee was apparently sent to every woman in government (and Jerry). Tom thinks it’s a “baller move.” Pun intended. Chris (New for Season 4: Rob Lowe sports a new, sprouty weave) and Ben are on it. A media blitz is planned. And that can only mean one thing: Leslie’s doing Perd Hapley. Again (that whore).

Meanwhile, Tom, chest-hair blazing, is recruiting for his new multinational corporation 720 Entertainment. He’s got the branded fly swatter, he just needs some more people. First on his list is Andy, who is enthralled by the proposition of being able to live his (undefined, unhatched) dream. But his wife/manager April, doing her best Ron Swanson impression (sucking down coffee, being dismissive to concerned citizens), doesn’t know what to do. Which is why Andy loves her.

Ann approaches Chris with a medical concern. The testes in the dong shot are distended and swollen, which might be a symptom of a hernia or mumps. Chris is duly impressed with Ann’s familiarity with the “ears of the genital system.” Drumroll (brought to you by 720 Entertainment), please…the owner of the dong in question has been identified! Not surprising: it’s Joe from Sewage, played by comedian Kirk Fox. Surprising: he went to Sarah Lawrence! Joe takes the news that he’s got mumps on his lumps in stride. (After all, he does posses the mental fortitude of a Gryphon.) Problem is, Chris told the entire government that Ann diagnosed Joe from Sewage, and now her inbox is literally filled with diagnosis-seeking penises. That Ann, dicks all around and she’s still on Hoosiermate.

Breaking up with Ben is proving very difficult for Leslie. She realllllly doesn’t want to. Every time she tries, she fails miserably—she’s no match for an L-shaped éclair baked and delivered with true love. So, she pulls a Ron Swanson and flees a dinner date and a proffered present. She goes to the woods. To Ron Swanson’s woods. A grizzled, mountain-man Ron Swanson, who dispenses a terse pep talk about how you can’t run away from your problems. Then he mentions that he has nine toes. You can check out Ron’s “Go Bag” here.

So Leslie and Ron ablute and return to work, ready to face their demons. After Ron authorizes the hiring of an assistant for Leslie to keep things afloat while she runs for office (savvy manager to the stars, April, nominates Andy, and he is hired, then knocks a computer monitor over in celebration), he waits for Tammy One to sniff him out.

Leslie meets with Ben and he forces her to open the present she literally ran away from at their aborted dinner date. It’s a Knope 2012 button. He figured out that she was running (the campaign speeches in her sleep had something to do with it), and he thinks it’s wonderful. He also thinks they should break up. So they try to, but end up giggling and making googly eyes at each other. Good luck, dears.

Post Script: Tammy One’s uber-coiffed head looms over Ron as he sits meekly at his desk. She chucks an intimidating-looking IRS binder from hell onto his desk and declares that he’s being audited. She hisses and purrs various threats, and glides out of the room. Ron’s defiant, but his mustache is trembling. Tammy One (Patricia Clarkson), what have you got in store?

That’s it! Oh, and Jerry has the hugest dong in the universe. See you next week!

PS: You can support Leslie by visiting her official her official campaign site here.

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 and follow her on Twitter: @ithardlymatt3rs

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