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Parks and Recreation Recap: The Bachelor and the Bachelorette

PARKS AND RECREATION -- "Two Parties" Episode 510 -- Pictured: (l-r) Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford, Jim O'Heir as Associate Director Jerry Gergich, Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger, Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt

We’re back in Pawnee! When we were last here, Leslie and Councilman Jamm made a deal to wait three months before a vote deciding the fate of Lot 48. With two weeks to go until the deadline, Councilman Jamm just up and starts construction on a new Paunch Burger. DICK MOVE, JAMM. Meanwhile, Leslie has been trying to get the Wamapoke people involved in her Pawnee Commons project even though, historically, Pawnee’s relationship with the Wamapoke has been … murder-y.

Also: It’s bachelor(ette) party time! The boys and girls shall split up for the night, like 12-year-olds at a middle-school dance. Leslie’s sounds like the fiesta that’s bound for success — “Everything that can be penis-shaped will ­be penis-shaped” is a nifty motto and is maybe something the president should consider fitting into his inaugural address, just to inspire people in these challenging times — while Ben’s bash, being Ben-themed, seems destined to be the most underwhelming bachelor party in the history of marriage.

But then …

You get a party! You get a party! Everybody gets a party!
Chris Traeger Oprah-fies the bachelor party! What begins at Ben’s place as a night of beer and board games and threatens to end with a Homeland marathon is rescued when Tom revolts. Haverford takes the guys to Essence, the hot new bar in Eagleton. Upon seeing what Essence has to offer — vodka in light flashes, whiskey as a lotion hand rub (not a double entendre) — Ron’s reaction is, “Can I ask if this entire establishment is a practical joke of some kind?” Oh, Ron. Many a time have I ventured to a bar and wondered the same thing myself.

The guys realize that even though everyone, except Chris, has been married, none of them ever had a bachelor party. Chris decides that everyone should get the bachelor party they’ve always wanted, starting right now. Hooray! Chris has been both almost too peppy to tolerate and Eeyore-level depressed. So proud to see him kicking off the New Year by Goldilocks-ing his way to a just-right amount of positivity.

Jerry’s choice locale is the ice-cream parlor where he met his wife. Ben tries to solve the never-ending mystery that is how Jerry landed such a beautiful spouse when HANG ON RON HAS ICE CREAM IN HIS MUSTACHE PAUSE YOUR DVRS AND CHERISH THIS. So, yeah, still no word on how Jerry landed his hot honey. Any guesses? Options range from blackmail to secretly being amazing in bed to maybe his wife is just a woman of depth who doesn’t care about things like how symmetrical your face is and if you are the Aztec goddess of Stephen Marche’s fantasies.

Andy leads the pack to Lucas Oil Stadium. There, he meets Indianapolis Colts players Reggie Wayne and Andrew Luck plus Jim Irsay, who’s not a player, he just crushes a lot (slash he owns the team). These cameos are pretty solid. On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being “You will never have the cameo skills Joe Biden has in his pinky finger” and 10 being “You are almost, but not quite, Joe Biden” I give these guys a 6.

Ron’s destination is St. Elmo’s Steakhouse. Minus points for the no-duh predictability of this choice. The guys meet Newt Gingrich. Newt says four words. I give his cameo a 1. Roy Hibbert also stops by to make an Entertainment 720 joke. His cameo gets a 7, mostly for continuity.

The bachelor boys show Chris their gratitude with a “Best Man” trophy. Chris says he just wants to be with someone who makes him happy and perhaps that someone is … Shauna? Hmm. Not sure if I buy that Chris will wind up with someone outside of the central crew. I sense the show trying to bring him back together with Ann, possibly through their maid of honor/best man duties at the wedding. What say you, readers?

Sidebar: In the spirit of things Ben cares about and related to the SNL promo that ran at the end of this episode, doesn’t Neyla Pekarek (the lady Lumineer) look just like Arya from Game of Thrones? Something to think about.

The gummy penis underground
April’s main concern regarding Leslie’s party: “Is this going to be one of those cool bachelorette parties where things get out of control and we murder someone and then we all take a blood oath to never tell anyone?” I feel like April would not be out of place on Pretty Little Liars.

Even though Ann did a killer job preparing Leslie’s bachelorette party — there were so many blurred-out penises, I thought something might have been wrong with my TV — Leslie cannot be cheered, worried as she is that all hope is lost for Pawnee Commons. She decides to bury Wamapoke artifacts at Lot 48, thus forcing Councilman Jam to halt all construction. We manage a few fast cuts of Amy Poehler’s evil laughter before her conscience kicks in and she feels even worse than before.

Too bad, because Ann invited Babe Lincoln, a.k.a. the stripper version of the Great Emancipator, which Ann knows for a fact is a sex dream Leslie has had. Donna doesn’t let Leslie bring her down. “Tear it up, Sixteen!” she shouts, because of course she knows exactly the right thing to say to a POTUSTRIPPER. “It’s time for the Gettysburg undress!” says Babe Lincoln. Would I watch an entire episode of Lincoln-themed stripper puns? Yes, but apparently the plot must go on — although not before we find out that Babe Lincoln is Glenn, a former middle-school classmate of April’s.

Leslie comes clean about her dirty dealings to her friends, and the rest of her party is spent attempting to unearth all of the artifacts. Fortunately, the penis hats cut your digging time in half. Unfortunately, the ladies missed an arrowhead and some penis gummies. UH OH. Leslie almost considers keeping her crimes to herself (“The Zodiac killer never confessed; why do I have to?”), but ultimately she admits her wrongdoing to Ken and apologizes. Ken forgives her. Then he turns around and crushes Councilman Jam, forcing him to hold off on construction until the agreed-upon deadline. That man really plays white people like a fiddle.

DONNA WATCH
There wasn’t enough Donna in this episode for my taste, but I appreciated how the boys’ side of things gave Chris the spotlight for once. I would also like a web series in which Donna provides sexy come-ons for all presidential strippers.

FUTURE STORY LINE WATCH
New category! I invented it just to say this: You know how Leslie said to April, “You have turned into a very beautiful, wise, fertile government employee”? Just going to put it out there that I wouldn’t be totally surprised if April wound up pregnant by the end of the season.

Stay out of trouble, friends! And if you do get in trouble, don’t worry about it. You’ll just go to prison. You can make wine in your toilet and fight people, which is a supercool way to live.

Photo: Michael Hickey/NBC