This week’s Parks and Recreation deals with the aftermath of the destruction of two important things in the lives of the show’s characters: Tom’s company Entertainment 720 and Leslie and Ben’s relationship. While Leslie and Ben broke up several episodes ago, Tom’s wounds from the collapse of his multimedia conglomerate are still fresh. Over the course of the half-hour, Leslie, Ben, and Tom are forced to make peace with what has happened and to move on to the next chapters in their lives.
Leslie has been called upon to put on a meeting of the local high school’s Model UN to keep the club from being canceled. In last week’s episode, Ben and Leslie were struggling with the fact that they can’t spend time together without their romantic past causing hostility, but Ben is such a nerd that he jumps right on with the Model UN meeting anyway. Ben represents Peru while Leslie takes Denmark, Andy takes Switzerland, and April takes South Africa, on behalf of the moon.
At the Model UN summit, things are amicable between Ben and Leslie (and Peru and Denmark) at first, but when Ben cuts Leslie out of a treaty, it brings up a lot of long-simmering emotions from their breakup. She feels betrayed and declares war on Peru, sending the Model UN meeting off the rails. Ben, who’s normally pretty levelheaded, allows his frustrations over his love life (and the faux-international summit) to boil over, becoming just as irrational and inappropriate as Leslie, the two of them managing to make the high school kids look mature by comparison. After Leslie and Ben get their respective countries kicked out of the UN by the Security Council, they apologize to each other. They make things up to Pawnee’s Model UN geeks by bringing them to the town’s City Council chambers and breaking the news that they’ve arrange to hold a state-wide Model UN meeting there in a month.
Elsewhere in Pawnee, Chris has grown worried because his new love interest, Jerry’s daughter Millicent, hasn’t been returning his calls. Inspired by an off-hand remark from Ann, Chris launches a full-scale investigation to determine why Millicent seems to be losing interest in him and assembles a think tank composed of Jerry, Donna, and Ann. Ann, who briefly dated Chris at the start of Season 3, is the biggest asset to the team, as she’s able to walk Chris through why their relationship went south. Interestingly enough, Ann reasons that Chris tried to turn her into a female version of himself and then dumped her because he got bored dating himself. I haven’t been wild about this Chris dating Jerry’s daughter story arc, especially when compared to other developments this season, but last night’s episode offered a different spin on things. Chris’s investigation was more absurd and complex than past Chris/Jerry plotlines this season and it allowed for other characters, like Ann, to play into it well.
Following the inevitable destruction of Entertainment 720, Tom Haverford has been hanging around City Hall a lot more, but he doesn’t want his old job back. Tom puts it best, explaining, “I’m like a shark. I don’t swim backwards.” Tom helps Ron interview candidates to replace him as office administrator, wanting to keep his legacy going, but he’s unhappy with every applicant. Ron eventually confronts Tom, revealing to him that he knows about his secret new job as the cologne sample guy at Macy’s and wants him to come back to the Parks and Rec Department. Tom eventually agrees to take his job back, after a couple of staged interactions with Ron in front of the rest of the staff. With Tom back at City Hall, it’s nice to know the whole cast will finally be back working under one roof.
Tom’s increasingly bastardized abbreviations for the Parks and Recreation Department:
Bradford Evans is a writer living in Los Angeles.