Leslie is set on turning the Newport land into a national park. She is determined! She is driven! She is … desperate! Hold on to your straws, everybody, ‘cause mama’s going grasping. Leslie is taking meetings with, among other weirdos, a ninth-level octopriest in the Church of the Reasonablists, who believe the land is “the place where all human souls will be transmuted when Zorp the Lizard God passes through Jupiter’s sphincter.” Hail Zorp!
Meanwhile, Ron, Tom, and Donna are meeting with Rosco, vice-president of Cool New Shiz at Gryzzl. Their game plan is to get a local celebrity on board with Gryzzl’s acquisition of the Newport land in order to win over public opinion. This is when we learn that, in the future, Elton John buys Chick-fil-A. I’m into it.
The plot device getting Ron and Leslie together is this set of documents Ben needs both of them to sign in front of a notary. Really, this entire episode is just a plot device, and it’s mostly just jokes and setup for the beautiful bottle episode to show up in the second half-hour. How else can you explain all the time spent on (ugh) Terry? Terry, who decides to become a notary after being hospitalized for two weeks ( ... no one cares) and can do the notarizing honors for Ben. But Leslie, of course, refuses to go anywhere near Ron, unless she’s going to identify him as the culprit in a police lineup. “That’s him, officer! Ronald Swanson. [fake man-cop voice] 'Thank you, Leslie, that’s the fifth crime you’ve solved this month! I’m not supposed to do this, but let me give you a badge and a siren for your car.'”
Hey, maybe while she’s at it Leslie could solve the CASE OF THE MISSING BANGS. What the hell, Knope? Where’d the fringe go? Why is everyone acting like everything is fine? If it were possible to grow out bangs that quickly, believe me, I would know about it.
Tom and Donna suggest Gryzzl go after Annabel Porter from Bloosh, which just won the Pulitzer Prize for Best Top-Ten Listicle two years in a row. Oh boy, the future is a dark place!
I am a sucker for everything Annabel says. From the minute they walk into her swanky little warehouse space and she apologizes for being “late for our coven, I was polishing my oyster forks with a cage-free olive oil rub,” I am sold on this bonkers, Goop-inspired nightmare woman. “This season I’m intrigued by asymmetrical overalls, angora toothbrushes, and locally sourced Italian flip-flops. Also there’s a flirty trend in beverages. So you’ve had soy milk and almond milk, now try the hottest new craze: beef milk. It’s like almond milk that’s been squeezed through tiny holes in living cows.” It costs $60 a gallon and there’s a wait list.
Leslie’s celebrity get: a direct descendent of William Henry Harrison, the first governor of the Indiana territories and then a U.S. president who didn’t wear a coat during his inauguration and died 32 days later. (“He’s an embarrassing footnote, but he’s our embarrassing footnote.”) Harrison had a hunting lodge on the land Leslie wants to acquire — emphasis on the past tense, because there isn’t much left where the lodge used to be except a bag of old hamburgers that Andy tries to eat.
The gang heads to the William Henry Harrison Museum, which is predictably ridiculous and still very funny. There’s the “If He’d Worn a Coat Room,” which explores “how great American would have been if Harrison had worn a coat at Inauguration and not died”; the Other Things that were Famous for One Month” room, where video clips of the Harlem Shake and that balloon boy play on small screens. There’s the “Other Famous Harrisons” exhibit. Admission is $14. April wants to apply for a job there, but it’s all volunteer. (You do, however, get a yearly stipend of 50,000 Harrison bucks, which are only valid at an out-of-order vending machine.)
I have mixed feelings about this April-finds-her-way story line. I get that she doesn’t necessarily find meaning in her job for the National Park Service. But she already knows what she loves: She’s been obsessed with animals for ages, and for a while she ran Animal Control. She almost went to vet school. Couldn’t she still do something in that canine capacity? Feels like an obstacle here just for the sake of an obstacle. Also, I was amazed that Andy put together how all the things April loves are one-on-one activities and that a better way to go about solving this conundrum is to make a list of reasons why she loves those things.
Anyway, the episode culminates in a Leslie-versus-Ron showdown, which Ron technically ambushes his colleagues into arranging. They get in a huge fight, complete with some of the harshest words Ron has ever spoken:
Leslie: You’re the most unreasonable stubborn person I’ve ever met, and I’m never going to change my mind on that, no matter what anybody says!
Ron: You’re not that good at scrapbooking.
This feud is spiraling out of control. It’s almost as bad as the Morgan Freeman–Shailene Woodley standoff. (What do we think those two are fighting about in 2017? Best guesses in the comments!) Later on, Leslie tells Ben that she ordered 60 veggie pizzas to Ron’s office, so she’s feeling a little better. But Ben still really needs her to get in the same room as Ron for just a minute so they can sign these documents and free Ben from his notary purgatory. (How does it feel to have to listen to some nerd blather on about his super-boring job, huh, Ben? Not too fun now, is it?) He cons her with a promise: “I’ll let you rename the triplets Ruth, Bader, and Ginsburg.”
He leads Leslie to the old Parks Department office, where Ron awaits. And then HE LOCKS THEM IN THE ROOM. IT WAS A TRAP. I REPEAT, THE WHOLE THING WAS AN ELABORATE TRAP.
To be continued … in the next recap, which will be going up shortly.
A few other things:
- “That’s why I refuse to write my signature in cursive.”
- “One day, Magnus, I will wear you as a jacket.”
- “I love it when you talk point-of-sale docs. You know it turns me on.”
- “Toddler cologne: Baby [spray sound, spray sound], you smell good.”
- I love how Leslie freaks out about Zach’s throwaway suggestion that she could be a descendant of George Washington. “I’ve always thought we had very similar jawlines.”
- “Zach! Camp Wamapoke! You got a boner!”
- Oh my God, they’re called the Somebody’s Daughter Dancers.
- Just the way Amy Poehler says “Ron” when she’s trying to make the point that it’s a stupid name. She is a national treasure, even though she probably isn’t related to George Washington at all.
- “Harrison is a really common name.”