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Parks and Recreation Recap: Warriors of Democracy

PARKS AND RECREATION -- "Filibuster" Episode 605 -- Pictured: (l-r) Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger.

If I have learned anything about the way our nation functions, it is this: When you filibuster, it’s all about the footwear.

Exhibit A: Wendy Davis, whose eleven-hour filibuster in Texas to block a bill that would place even more restrictions on abortion because life isn’t hard enough for the ladies, wore hot pink sneakers. Damn, those were some beautiful sneakers.

Exhibit B: Leslie Knope, in a story line inspired by Davis’s badassery, filibusters while wearing roller skates. She’s dressed for Ben’s birthday party, “an early nineties-themed roller skating bash.” “I have a thing for women in skates,” Ben reports while wearing a Toad the Wet Sprocket T-shirt. “As far as things go, it’s pretty innocuous … I like a woman in skates. A lot.”

You know what he doesn’t like a lot? Disenfranchised voters! (Okay, that’s a stretch. It’s a double-header night. Just stay with me.) Councilman Jamm is trying to prevent the former Eagletonians from voting based on the assumption that, should they be able to vote, they’ll support Leslie in the recall election. This is a fair assumption; after all, she brought their town back from the brink in an act of great selflessness and pride-swallowing. Leslie, devout believer in democracy, refuses to allow Jamm to take away the voting rights of these shiny new citizens. Let the filibuster begin!

Chris is wearing denim. So much denim. Acid wash jeans. White T-shirt. Oh my God, is Chris dressed like early nineties Rob Lowe? If not, just don’t tell me; I’m enjoying this too much to have it ruined with something like the truth. And Leslie. Oh, Leslie. Look at those overalls. Look at those NKOTB pins. Look at that sideways hat. Look at her go, filibustering Councilman Jamm on roller skates.

Does Ben speak for us all? “I swear to God, this is like a crazy sex fantasy for me.”

Let the filibuster begin! “I remember the first time I voted,” Leslie says. “I voted for Mildred, my stuffed pig. But my cat Pancakes won. She had more funding. Politics, right? How long have I been talking? Three hours? No, eight minutes.”

Jamm throws as many obstacles her way as he can: He turns up the heat, he starts talking about birthday cake — yet another thing Leslie and I have in common: Once we start thinking about birthday cake, we’re basically useless until we eat birthday cake — and taunts her with icy cold margs. Mmmm, margs. Damn it, Knope! FOCUS. And then the citizens of former Eagleton show up to support Leslie. It’s a very sweet display with professional-looking posters, which I guess, considering Eagleton, is not a huge shock. SECOND WIND.

Bad news again, this time from someone other than Jamm: It turns out the ex-Eagletonians want to nominate one of their own (it will turn out to be Veronica “Gossip Girl” Mars) to run against Leslie. Welp. Chris had hugged an Eagletonian in celebration but, upon receiving this crushing blow, he formally revokes the hug. Still, Leslie filibusters on, successfully. “The right to vote is fundamental in any democracy.” Even when you really have to pee.

Meanwhile, at the roller rink …

I would walk 500 miles … to Ben’s Birthday Party!

First, a costume rundown:

April, dressed as a pilgrim, explains, “Leslie said it was a ‘come as you were in the nineties’ party, I assumed it was the 1690s.” (Andy: “If it were the 1690s, we’d all be mummies!” Never change, Dwyer.) Ann is wearing long shorts and one of those big-flower hats. I was totally going to make the Blossom reference before Nadia did! But in addition to being very Blossom — whoa! — the hat is also reminiscent of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s earlier forays into the fashion world. Donna has these awesome extensions, a sparkly purple bandana, and a jacket that looks like the Saved by the Bell credits. Tom is dressed up like Kris Kross, complete with backwards pants (when he has to pee, he just lets his pants fall all the way down to the floor, like a toddler — wow, this episode has a not-insignificant amount of pee in it) and even though Nadia, “the superhot doctor who is definitely out of my league,” says Tom, came straight from work, she could totally say she was trying to be George Clooney from ER and I would’ve believed her.

Speaking of Tom and Nadia: What a cute couple! Yes, we know the star of Orphan Black is not (supposed to be) long for Pawnee. And her reaction to Tom’s offer to win her something besides the bear — “Basically, you’re just offering me garbage” — is a little cold for no reason. But I find their funny, yet realistic, flirty banter to be so endearing. Especially when Nadia calls Tom out for cheating at Skee-ball, and when Tom tries to talk her out of going on a “vacation” to Rwanda, where she’ll be doing Doctors Without Borders. “If I know anything about Rwanda, which I don’t, I’m sure it’s full of rich guys who will buy her whatever she wants.” There’s some back-and-forth with winning a giant bear, nothing you’ve never experienced firsthand. Who among us has not been to a fair and insisted, for no particular reason, that the boy who has accompanied us must prove their devotion/hand-eye coordination by winning a stuffed animal in our honor?

In other cute couple news, Andy Dwyer is back. I love that everyone just tells Andy that Jerry’s name is Larry now and Andy just accepts that as if it’s not weird.

In a somewhat predictable twist, after pretending that everything in London is just brilliant — that he’s the Chuck Norris of documents — Andy reveals, via jumping-in-a-Dumpster, that in fact his London life is not going as planned. People keep asking him to sign stuff and informing him, “that’s not a toilet, Mr. Dwyer.”

April makes him feel better with some of the truest words ever spoken: “I’m going to tell you a secret about everyone else’s job: No one knows what they’re doing. Deep down, everyone is just faking it until they figure it out. And you will, too, because you are awesome and everyone else sucks.” Honestly, I don’t know if Andy will figure it out. He thinks mummies are skeletons. But it’s good that April has hope.

Ron and Donna have a little story on the side where Ron is terrible at a hunting video game, goes real night hunting with Donna (who does not care at all that Ron doesn’t have a night hunting license), and plays until Ron gets the top score, which he memorializes using fake initials: A.S.S. Donna watch is satisfied.

What did you all think? Let me know on Twitter at @jessicagolds. And just remember, every time you look up at the moon, I, too, will be looking at a moon. Not the same moon, obviously. That’s impossible.

Photo: Colleen Hayes/NBC