Parks and Recreation: Galentine’s Day (6×17)
Summary: Missing Ann desperate, Leslie begins the search for a new Pawnee best friends. Ben and Tom struggle with a shady tent salesman while Ben struggles with being friends with Larry. Ron ends up playing dad to Andy after he loses a tooth.
I have to admit, I’m really only ranking this episode at four stars because ANN CAME BACK! Granted, it was only for, like, two scenes, but still. ANN PERKINS THE BEAUTIFUL, PERFECT SUNFLOWER WAS BACK.
And Leslie and Ben totally had crazy awesome sex off screen after the cold open. I have priorities.
Leslie is feeling sad after missing yet another phone call with Ann that she decides that it’s time to find another best friend that is closer to her in Pawnee. She does this by staging a Galentine’s Day brunch without Ann and with a series of ranking questions to see who will be a good replacement for her. If you’re like me, you were probably saying, “Oh Leslie honey no” the entire time. The brunch gives us great lines from Donna, Ethel Beavers, and Shauna Malwae-Tweep though. Also, does anyone remember Shauna being this… sad? She always seemed more confident than this before. Or maybe it’s been a while since I watched season 2.
Predictably, the whole ordeal blows up in Leslie’s face when April sees her ranking notebook, but she doesn’t have much time to dwell because Ann has her baby and she runs off to Michigan to see her.
At the hospital, Ann introduces Leslie to her son Oliver Perkins Traeger and explains away Chris’s absence with that he was asked by the nurses down the hall to help coach another woman through labor. That’s… that’s so perfect. She also didn’t tell Leslie that she was in labor because she didn’t know how long it would be and didn’t want Leslie to drop everything for her. That’s… also really perfect. Glad to know the absence of these characters doesn’t mean they end up out of character.
Leslie and Ann cuddle in the hospital bed together and lament about how much they miss each other. Leslie tells Ann about the failed Galentine’s Day brunch and Ann reminds her that everyone has their own strengths to bring to the table and that they didn’t always like the same things when they first started as friends. Hell, they can’t even agree on Friday Night Lights. Ugh… I missed Ann and Leslie’s dynamic so much. These scenes felt almost cruel, sweet and wonderful as they were.
When Leslie returns to Pawnee, she buys April and Donna coffee and apologizes to them. She tells them that she looks forward to getting to know them better for who they are, and the two of them give Leslie a stuffed bunny with Ann on the voice box. Awwww! Of course, April added her own phrase in the rotation about how much Ann sucks. Way to keep up appearances, Ludgate.
In the B Plot, Ben and Tom make a road trip to a business called Tent World to finalize the deal for the Unity Concert. Ben invites Larry along, much to Tom’s annoyance. Ben insists that it’s because Larry has been working hard on the deal, but it’s secretly because he considers Larry a friend.
The three arrive at Tent World, but what should have been a simple deal turns into a shady scam as the owner tries to get more money out of Ben and Tom. The two decide to go elsewhere, but the guy owns every tent business in Southern Indiana and they appear to be stuck. However, Larry notices in the files about the business that Tent World has a lot of code violations, which Ben and Tom use to their advantage to get a fair deal out of the guy. Between Larry catching the owner and being surprised that Ben was asking about his life, Ben decides that he’s had it with everyone in the office torturing him and declares that Larry is his friend. Of course, Larry messes that up rather quickly, but it was a sweet moment anyway. I’ve been rooting for poor old Jerry/Larry since season 2.
Once again, Andy and Ron get put together for the C Plot, this time to show Ron in fatherhood mode without having to worry about doing it around Lucy Lawless’s every busy schedule. Ron agrees to survey for the Unity Festival to get some peace and quiet, but Leslie tells Andy to go with him. Andy ends up hanging from the monkey bars while this happens and ends up falling on the ground and knocking a tooth out. Ron takes him to the dentist, where they wait a long time, Ron helps Andy fill out all his info and Andy ends up filling out all the issues of Highlights. When Andy gets impatient, Ron tells him that he can leave because he’s an adult, but the pain in his tooth makes Ron force him to go back. Weird how a 30 year old man child makes Ron realize he’s always on duty as a parent, but it at least ends with a sweet phone call to Diane.
I definitely skewed this episode high for the character moments and Ann Perkins. Otherwise, it would have been another three star episode. Maybe two. I loved Ann, Ben realizing he sees Larry as a friend, and Andy asking about little men in ATMs. Those made it worth it.