Parks and Recreation Recap: Go Buy Yourself a Walkman

Photo: Dean Hendler/NBC

In a stroke of luck for Leslie’s campaign, she’s landed an interview with Buddy Wood (the Buddy Wood!) in Indianapolis, and this is a big deal. She’s trying on a ton of outfits for the big event, each more slightly off than the last, until she emerges in Olivia Newton-John’s “bad girl” outfit from Grease. Problem: As Tom points out, “It says ‘nympho’ on the butt, and since it’s on the butt there are other implications as well … so those are a maybe.” Once an outfit is chosen, bad news strikes — Buddy has to fly back to Indianapolis early. Leslie decides to go out for a few drinks to unwind with Ann and Tom, who seem to be actually getting along these days. They’ve gone 30 hours without breaking up! Ben decides not to join, as he seems to be all-consumed by the campaign and stressy.

Meanwhile, a clean-shaven Andy is studying for his Women’s Studies final, and getting treats every time he gets an answer correct. He’s a bit nervous, but it’s an oral exam, and as Andy says, “If there’s one thing I know is my fantastic, it’s talk.” Andy passes the exam (it’s just pass/fail, and he delivers Susan B. Anthony facts like a champ). Ron takes April and Andy out to celebrate, and Andy invites Professor London along.

In campaign world, Donna and Jerry (somehow I love the two of them together) are stuffing envelopes, and when Donna gets up to leave, Jerry creepily talks about how stuffing envelopes “makes sense” to him. Donna is intrigued enough to call the enormous firefighter Marcus that she had a bath date with to cancel. She’s on JerryWatch.

Leslie, Tom, and Ann are having fun at the local bar, drinking ridiculous drinks and making fun of Ben for turning into a grumpy stressball Ben these days, weirdly reminding Leslie of her own mother. “Ben is like a MILF” she mutters. After a set of flaming tequila shots arrive, Leslie gets a call from Ben that Buddy’s flight has been delayed and that if she gets to the airport RIGHT NOW, he’ll interview her. No one can drive and the two cabs in town are both busy, so Tom calls on the hot tub limo he rented way back in the beginning of Leslie’s campaign, prompting cute couple high-fives from Ann. (Oh my lord, do I now like Tom and Ann as a couple?!)

At the steak restaurant, everyone seems to be having a good time, and April spots Chris alone at the bar, eating and reading a book among “friends he hasn’t met yet.” The book is called “Limb-itless”, and it’s about a woman born with no arms and no legs who dreams of swimming the English Channel. When April comments that it sounds impossible, Chris admits that she drowned immediately. April, behaving like a normal person, invites Chris to their table, and predictably, perfect Chris and Women’s Studies Professor Linda London get along famously, comparing notes on salad dressing, exercise, and spinach salad. Meanwhile, Ron orders his third steak. Chris asks Professor London (I insist on calling her that every time, thank you) on a date, and she politely refuses, only to then proposition Ron to go home with her. There’s something in there about feminists preferring their men to be anti-PC, gruff, lumberjacky men, but also, it’s Ron Swanson, so how could you not proposition him?

Leslie arrives at the airport and Ben is too stressed to realize that she is drunk, even when she tells an airport worker that she is “helpy to hop out.” We meet Buddy Wood, and he’s a real piece of work. He’s the kind of snotty condescending jerk that only people that live in slightly metropolitan cities in rural areas can pull off, and he is expertly played by Sean “Just Jack” Hayes. He spends most of his time shitting all over Pawnee as a sad, desolate town with “A Sweetums Candy Corporation, nineteen toxic waste repositories, and not much else.” Leslie is trying to keep it together (and PS, I have always loved a drunk Poehler. Nothing is better), but she’s slipping, slurring her words and talking nonsense. Buddy slams the Pawnee airport as being symbolic of the town, and Leslie pulls it together enough to defend it, but when he starts asking about her relationship with Ben, Tom realizes “She’s got the crazy eyes.” Leslie sputters “I don’t appreciate your condescending tone, but I’ve had a couple of drinks, so what the heck,” which is a field day for Buddy, who starts relentlessly questioning her about being drunk until she storms off the set, messily.

In envelope-stuffing land, Donna stops Jerry when it gets to be 4 a.m., but when he realizes that he put the wrong flyers in the wrong envelopes, he cheerfully starts over. I kinda wished this story would have had more of a payoff, but it does contribute to the mystery that is Jerry. What makes him work?

Buddy is unmoved by Leslie’s pleas to not air the drunken interview, so the gang decides they have to go to Indianapolis and do something. Ben says he’ll burn down the station, which is romantic to Leslie, but as Donna points out, having a boyfriend commit arson for you “gets old.” They climb back in the hot tub limo to go to Indianapolis, leading to a funny moment where Ben has to traverse the entire length of the limo to give the address to the driver, then go back when he misreads a number.

The next morning, the gang is awoken by Buddy, as they are blocking his driveway, and again, Leslie begs for the interview not to air. It won’t air, Buddy says, because the “sad tiny backwater airport” lost his bags. They climb back into the limo, amazed at their luck, and Ben decides to pop open the champagne. “Fun Ben lives!” What they don’t see, but we do, is the airport workers taking Buddy’s bag and carefully placing it in the dumpster. Go Pawnee!

Ron comes into work the day after the steak dinner whistling, making jokes, laughing that fantastic insane laugh of his, and offering to buy April and Andy a Walkman. Chris comes in and thanks the group for including him last night and says he plans on asking Professor London out again. Andy uses Ron-like logic to convince Ron to tell Chris about the “consensual activities” that happened between he and Professor London, and he does. Chris understands, but as he hugs Ron, he admits that he’s quite lonely. We’ve gotta find Chris a girlfriend, you guys!

And now it’s time for us to be quite lonely, as this is the last episode of Parks and Rec until April 19th, when the show returns after giving up it’s spot for Community. So I’ll see you then!

Parks and Recreation Recap: Go Buy Yourself a Walkman