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Parks and Recreation Recap: Love Is a Battlefield

She boasts a collection of miniature flags from all 193 countries in the United Nations. He super-did Model U.N. in high school and kind of wants to roll up his sleeves and make geopolitical problem-solving his bitch. Yet they can’t be together ... because of government. It’s a tragic story as old as time, or at least as old as 1945.

Helping Pawnee Central High School save its troubled Model U.N. club seems like the perfect proving ground for Ben and Leslie to explore their nascent platonic friendship — he’s Peru, she’s Denmark, Andy’s Finland, April is South Africa but also secretly the moon, and Ron would rather engage in his every-three-weeks toenail-sanding than participate in this celebration of a worldwide supergovernment. (They’re too strong for clippers.) But it’s a lot harder to make unresolved romantic attachments your bitch, and what begins as a concerted effort to relieve world famine turns into a blood feud between a politically ambitious but remorseful Denmark and a supportive but jilted and heartsick Peru, who is already prone to really long sadness baths, after the latter watches the former neglect a delicate treaty negotiation in favor of campaign photo-ops. (Adam Scott may have the show’s straight-man spot nailed down, but his “It’s fun ... it’s ... fun, it’s fun ... ” death-loop is as guffaw-worthy and rewatchable as any deadpan Ron-son aphorism.) The entire simulation devolves around their grousing, and everyone loses interest, save Andy, who’s amassed an impressive army of lions. Food schmood, this is war. What are you gonna do without tides, Peru?

Because truth is the root of sarcasm, Chris takes Ann’s non-advice about launching a full-scale investigation into why Millicent isn’t returning his phone calls after four dates. Ann is almost as uncomfortable as Jerry when Chris asks her, in detail, why their relationship soured, and she cites his constant, confusing cheeriness, while he cites the time he ate food off her body in an Eagleton hotel room. Turns out Chris has a way of making women need to be like him in order to date him, then he gets bored of dating himself. Sure, jogging may save lives, but at what cost?

Even with Entertainment 7Wenty officially finished, Tom has too much pride to come back to his old job, even if Ron has spotted him spraying cologne samples at Macy’s. Tom sits in as Ron interviews a series of hapless replacement candidates, notably Courtney, who isn’t racist because he likes ethnic women; Gary from Gary, Indiana, who doesn’t know what “anecdote” means; and Keith, who, frankly, should have had the job for a month. This is all part of Ron’s ploy to frustrate Tom and guilt him into coming back to Tommy’s Place (a shortened, then slightly lengthened term for the parks and recreation department).

Ultimately, Tom returns to the department to a Champagne toast, at the expense of Jerry’s desk. Ben and Leslie reach their own accord by promising to have one awesome conversation with one another for five minutes every day and make amends with the peeved students by offering the city council room for an upcoming statewide Model U.N. There can be no diplomacy without compromise, but even still: Denmark will destroy all.

Photo: NBC