10
Jan
2014
Parks and Recreation: Season 6, Episode 10
Second Chunce
Sam


Parks and Recreation continued to be the sugar that helps the medicine of real life politics go down. In “Second Chunce” Leslie is facing the end of her time on the city council. After watching her claw her way to a victory against Bobby Newport, it brought me, and likely all fans of the possibility of good governance, some joy. But due to the Pawnee’s populace being just downright misinformed and taken by those who don’t have any real interest in civil service like councilman Dexhart and Jeremy Jamm. Considering the relatively dark space the show’s in now with Leslie getting the boot, “Second Chunce” showed us the bright side of stepping down and letting go of something that you thought was once the pinnacle.

To be honest, I found myself barely interested in the two B-stories this week. Tom is looking for his next big idea while Ann and Chris find out the sex of their baby. Granted, both plots provided some laughs – Tom’s tissue box that talks and Rashida Jones plays pregnant-crazy very well – they lacked the emotional domination of Leslie mulling a return to office.

Leslie’s problem is that she is probably barking up the wrong tree when it comes to going back into a political race. Of course she’s the best for the job, but the best people don’t win these things. The best politicians often do. Part of the molding of Leslie over the years was making her a better politician. There have been countless episodes where she holds firm on an idea that she (and us) know is right, but she often would have to compromise. She’d need to make a deal. Now there’s no deal to be made. She’s staring down her future, which could be scary.

As Leslie often does, she goes into denial and becomes obsessive about her future run. Every person in the office (except Larry) tells her it’s a bad idea. Ben, ever her champion, doesn’t even think it’s that great of a path. Leslie has to learn to let go. What made “Second Chunce” stand out is how solidly it finds Leslie’s center. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise as Mike Schur and Amy Poehler wrote the episode. While the show knows where Leslie needs to go, she doesn’t and that’s why Ben is there to give her a little push in the right direction. To cheer her up on her last day, Ben gets Leslie one hour with Jennifer Barkley (the always amazing Kathryn Hahn) for some political advice. It’s exactly what Leslie needed.

Jennifer tells Leslie that she can go bigger than Pawnee city council. Screw those guys, she can fry bigger fish. Barkley knows that running against Dexhart is a bad idea. Leslie can lose to a scumbag like that. She needs to dream bigger. Leslie has outgrown Pawnee. WE know that Barkley can be trusted because she doesn’t care enough about Leslie to lie. When Leslie goes to a press conference she gracefully steps down, looking ahead to the next challenge, the next dream. Ben whisks her away to Paris in a nice bit of flighty, fantastic romantic gesture. Maybe Leslie is too big for Pawnee now. There are a lot of other people who could use a Leslie Knope.

Grade: B+

Notes:

-OK so Andy came back which mostly paid off in the cold open where he has trouble getting back on US time.

-Ron’s form of comfort is a kind nod

-Am I Lenny now? – Larry, or Jerry

-Hey Kristen Bell is back, she has an amazing life.

-Ann provides the big laughs with her pregnancy cravings, but I found it a bit of a dud as we tread water before these two head out. They’re having a boy by the way.

-Some of Dexhart’s alter egos online include Enrique Shockwave, Willie Dynamite, Lee Harvey Teabag and of course Anthony Weiner.

-PIZZA IS KNOWLEDGE

-“Yo dog, life is what you make of it….Someone’s got the sniffies….Step up your vitamin C game, bro.” – Tom’s talking tissue box.

-The Leslie and Ben lock in Paris was super duper sweet.

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