Parks and Recreation Recap: Retire in Peace

Parks and Recreation

Jerry’s Retirement
Season 5 Episode 20
Editor’s Rating 5 stars

Parks and Recreation

Jerry’s Retirement
Season 5 Episode 20
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: NBC/2013 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

It’s the Lean In episode of Parks and Rec! Leaning is so hot right now. Tom leans into his role as the New Jerry by buying sweatpants and Nicholas Sparks novels. Leslie leans into her job so hard it’s a miracle the lady’s still upright. Jerry leans into his home life/the hug machine. Chris and Ann lean inTO EACH OTHER, ow owww! Okay, calm down, people — one thing at a time.

See you tomorrow, Jeremy!
Ben takes the day off so he and Leslie can do some married-couple bonding. Before they can escape, Jerry announces it’s his last day at the office. That’s right, people: Jerry is retiring. This is followed by a great bit where we see Jerry has been talking about his retirement for about two years now, but nobody noticed (“What did Jerry say?” “Jerry was here?”), and then Leslie says, “As much as we want this to happen, we can’t just let Jerry disappear.”

As she sorts through the, like, four pieces of paper in Jerry’s file, Leslie cannot believe how quickly his years of service whizzed by and how little he has to show for it. She retrieves a list Jerry made when he was a bright young thing of what he hoped to accomplish professionally, and Ben can see where this is going: an all-consuming mission to Realize Each of Jerry’s Hopes and Dreams. So much for that just-the-two-of-them day date.

In an effort to expedite the Jerry portion of the day, Ben tells Leslie he’s made her mac-and-cheese pizza, so of course they start making out. Read that sentence one more time, because every single thing in it is the best thing in the history of ever. If there were a planet where the only things people did were (a) eat mac-and-cheese pizza and (b) make out, I would move there immediately.

Leslie informs Jerry that, “as unrealistic and absurd as those goals were, we are not letting you retire until you achieve these goals.” There are some obstacles along the way, such as the douche-y cafeteria guard and the fact that the mayor Jerry wanted to meet is already dead. But Leslie perseveres, posing in the cafeteria so Jerry can be Photoshopped in later and bringing Jerry to the cemetery so he can meet and greet the grave of a guy who reportedly got shoved out of a helicopter by Serbian mobsters.

Jerry wanted to have a building named after him, so Leslie names the Parks conference room after him instead. OOPS, they got him a memorial plaque that actually says “RIP” on it, but we can all just pretend it means “Retire in Peace.” And then naturally Jerry lights himself on fire while blowing out the candles on his congratulatory cake.

Leslie rolls up to Jerry’s house to apologize for what she considers a totally botched farewell. She gets roped into breakfast with the Girgiches — Leslie might say she’s not really into breakfast foods, but when you’re carrying a purse shaped like a waffle, well, I think that secret’s out — and we get to see Christie Brinkley as Gail along with the lovely Girgich girls: blonde, blonder, and blondest.

The Girgiches harmonize about bacon, eggs, and toast. They do this every morning. Jerry is graceful and beloved, and Leslie has never been more confused in her entire life. In related news, Amy Poehler has the world’s best bewildered face.

Jerry tells Leslie that he knows he was basically a screw-up at the office (in so many words), but he doesn’t care; he just wanted to get home to his family by five o’clock. “You have a wonderful life,” says Leslie, and she means it, and it’s very sweet, and then there’s a group hug that Jerry calls “the hug machine, and it’s firing on all cylinders,” and yeah, that part is a little uncomfortable, but Leslie skedaddles out of there, so no worries.

Leslie apologizes to Ben for bailing on their date — it’s cool, he used the time to study season one of Friends for plot holes: “As I expected, airtight.” — and shows him that she’s made a Ben and Leslie family album. Before she knows it, Leslie is going to be flying off on Marine One with Secret Service detail, which means AHH, she and Ben are going to talk about starting their family. TINY KNOPE-WYATTS! All because of Girgich-inspiration!

You heard it here first. Jerry: apparently not worthless.

Lord of the Flies, Pawnee edition
“When one Jerry leaves, the office naturally selects a new Jerry to fill that role. It’s social Darwinism.” —Ron Swanson

Now, this is not the most suspense-filled situation on Earth. April is too mean to be the new Jerry. Andy is protected by April. Ron is Ron. Donna is Donna. Which leaves Tom, who wastes no time screwing up one sentence and earning the nickname “Filo Pilo.”

Tom tries to find an even easier target and convinces Ron (Ronfire of the Vanities! Love, love, love) to hire an intern, because “interns are free, and, more importantly, they’re stupid and terrible.” Unfortunately for Tom, the intern is Taylor, a cute, athletic do-gooder who Donna is already eyeing. Andy wants Taylor to marry him and April, but Taylor, Rhett Butler–type that he is, just ain’t the marrying kind. Donna’s reaction: “He gets it.” For the intern-related quips alone, DONNA WATCH is satisfied.

“I already WAS Jerry!” Tom laments to Ron. He went from a nerdy kid from South Carolina (Aziz Ansari hails from S.C. in real life) and reinvented himself over twelve long years. “I have fur underwear! It was all for nothing.”

Ron takes pity on said pitiable creature, firing the intern and inviting Jerry to volunteer at the Parks department a couple of times a week, presumably so he can stay on the show as if nothing has changed. Order is restored; the conch shell reassembled. Farewell, young Taylor! We hardly knew ye.

Chris and Ann sittin’ in a tree …
Chris has the resting heart rate of a 100-year-old tortoise. He and Ann have every reason to expect a healthy, not to mention ridiculously photogenic, child. And hey, why not get on that baby-making right now? Ann’s ovulation schedule is like a neon sign saying “TODAY IS THE DAY.”

With some speedy-quick expository thing to get the professional conflict of interest out of the way (for some reason, this takes Ann and Chris about twenty seconds and took Ben and Leslie several episodes, plus a trial, but, sure, I’ll run with it), Chris deems Ann his “fallopian princess.” Time to go into a room alone with a pornographic DVD and a plastic cup! Sexy stuff, that.

Ann and Chris panic and rush home to read pamphlets instead. But, I mean, come on. We all know this song and dance. First you invite someone to your apartment to read about IVF and sympathy weight. Then you’re talkin’ dirty, but, like, clinical dirty. Then it’s a little trip down memory lane, to a time when you both happened to be naked. Before you know it …

Let’s just put it this way: GORGEOUSNESS GRAVITY IS REAL.

Post-hookup, these kids act all weird and nervous around each other. Then they try to talk hypothetically about how hypothetically a child would be best served by the two-parent household they could hypothetically provide. Then they make out. Literally. Make-outs FTW!

How did you all feel about this back-to-back Parks action? Tell me on Twitter (@jessicagolds). Tweet like crazy, people. I’ve got a lot of love to give, and it just feels unfair to put boundaries on it.

Parks and Recreation Recap: Retire in Peace