'Parks and Recreation' recap: No Mole-gate!

Taking a page out of the Tiger Woods Guide to the Holidays, Leslie Knope found herself at the center of a sex scandal last night on Parks and Recreation.

The episode began at a Christmas party for local government employees, where Leslie and the rest of the department were providing the entertainment for the evening. Along with a rousing closing number, Leslie did a sketch where she spoofed local councilman Bill Dexhart, specifically harping on his long history of affairs.

The next day, Dexhart requested Leslie’s presence at a meeting. She was convinced the meeting was about the sketch’s inappropriate jabs at his personal life, but the councilman says he merely wants to know who gave Leslie the information about his latest (ehem…) transgressions, which include a lovechild with the babysitter and sex with five women (four nurses and the wife of a liver transplant patient, for those keeping tabs). Stunned that her playful bit had more truth than she bargained for, Leslie made a quick exit after telling him that she’d never heard any of that before just then. Oops.

Back at the office, Leslie learned that a local tabloid had printed photos of her and Dexhart’s meet-up, claiming she is his new conquest. Ron gave Leslie the day off in light of the scandal and splis her duties among the rest of the staff. But they learned quickly that she does a lot of things to keep operations running, from giving menial presentations to keeping the Sanitation Department happy with an occasional case of beer.

Meanwhile, Leslie meet up with her beau Dave, who informed her that his Army Reserve unit has been called into active duty. He was leaving in four days for the rough terrain of…San Diego. He invited her to come with him, and Leslie considered it, especially in light of the scandal. ”This whole Dexhart thing is not making me feel very attached to Pawnee right now,” she told him. The moment was one of a few somewhat serious scenes in this week’s episode.

In a move most of us saw coming since ”Hunting Trip,” April made her first major pursuit for Andy’s attention and asked him for advice on what she should get her gay boyfriend for Christmas. Andy – dense as ever – suggested Brokeback Mountain on DVD, oblivious that April actually wanted ideas on what she should get him. Later on, he suggested (and consequently received) a Reggie Wayne jersey. (Wayne plays with the Indianapolis Colts. The fantasy football league of which I am an honorary member of would be ashamed that I had to Google that.)

Still in the midst of a scandal and with a big decision before her, Leslie turned to Ann for advice. They decided to meet with the councilman and ask him to clear the air. He refused, saying his and Leslie’s scandal is much less damaging to his reputation than the real one.

When the local news aired photos of the girls’ meeting with Dexhart, claiming Ann and Leslie are lesbian partners, Leslie decided to go on the program and clear the air once and for all. But her plan was foiled when the program also invited Dexhart to appear. He claimed their relationship is true and that his proof lies in a very personal detail: Leslie has a mole on one of her butt cheeks. Leslie refuted the claim by mooning the host. ”There is no mole. There is no mole on Ms. Knope! No Mole-gate!” the host says.

Feeling justified and victorious, Leslie told Dave that she can’t go to San Diego with him. He let her keep the plane ticket he’d given her and says that he’d like for her to visit. I hope we see Dave again.

The episode concluded with a Christmas tree lighting and with Leslie back in the office, where a frustrated Ron handed her a large padfolio and said: ”There’s a bunch of messages waiting for you about a bunch of things I don’t understand.”

In the past, this show wasn’t on my list of must sees. But I’m a sucker for TV with heart, and that’s exactly what Parks has been giving me this season. Fitting really, considering the series has captured mine.

Quick hits. I TOTALLY loved:

– Ron’s lackadaisical dance moves during the Christmas party dance number.

– Jerry’s reaction after Leslie suggests that everyone use the bathroom before his or her stint as Santa Claus at the Winter Wonderland. ”It was only farts,” he said of the previous years’ misfortunes.

– The idea of a tree lighting being broadcast on satellite radio

– April’s crush on Andy

– Leslie’s dreams of being a government official involved in a sex scandal

Best quotes:

”He got off easy — and often.” Tom, about Councilmen Dexhart’s scandal-filled career

”Women love diamonds, even the super left-wing chicks who saw Blood Diamond and cried. When they get one, they’re like ‘Yea! Give me more blood diamonds. Make them extra bloody.”’ – Tom, giving Mark advice on what to get Ann for Christmas

”I have to go. I’m expected at two different maternity wards.” – Councilman Dexhart

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the fall finale of Parks? Are you excited for it’s return in 2010?

Comments (51 total) Add your comment
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  • Dave

    Loved it! Parks and Recreation has been fantastic so far this season. They’ve really nailed the character of Leslie Knope. Amy Poehler has been amazing. The entire cast is great. The writing has been consistently great (more consistent than The Office this season).
    Loved the scenes with April and Andy. Loved Tom’s diamond advice to Mark. Loved the part where the news dug up the video from four years ago of Leslie shaking the councilman’s hand. The analysis of it was hilarious! And of course I loved Ron, as always.
    And the final scene with Leslie back in the office, sitting at her desk getting back to work was just a really nice scene that showed us how much she loves her job. I think P&R has been doing a great job of getting us to actually like Leslie Knope, instead of just turning her into a buffoon for us to pity.

  • ella

    Just a quick edit: the quote “He got off easy–and often” was actually said by Leslie

    • Fatima

      Another edit: Unclosed parenthesis when talking about fantasy football.

      Loved this episode. Love every episode. I’m shocked how fast this became my favorite of the 4 NBC comedies.

      • JB

        Two more: “the previous years’ misfortunes” (the apostrophe should precede the -s because “year” is singular) and “excited for it’s return” (there shouldn’t be an apostrophe in “its” because you aren’t saying “it is”).
        I agree that Parks and Rec has been excellent this season. Thanks for the recap.

      • Sara

        Oh fantastic, a grammar thread. I was going to ignore this, but since you guys started it… In this phrase, “The fantasy football league of which I am an honorary member of”, one of the “of”s needs to be removed.

      • Grammer Police

        Hey, office drones. Get out of your cubicles, go outside, and get a life.

      • AS

        Yes, thanks for that reminder, “Grammer” Police.

      • RMW

        Kelsey, is that you?

      • ichorwhip

        “It was only farts.”

    • FLGrl

      Yes, it was Leslie, which is why I found it funny. You would have expected it from Tom, but hearing it from Leslie was surprising – I didn’t think she would go there.

  • iOn

    April is probably the most under appreciated character on the show. She has great moments and an ep concentrating on her would be a must see!

    • Ambient Lite

      She does, love her personality, her gay bf and his bf, and this odd fascination she has with Andy. Yes, yes, yes, more of this!

  • shelby

    April and Andy FTW. I am really loving April’s crush on Andy! Although I dig her sarcasm, it really has brought out a softer side and made her seem like a more fully fleshed out character. For all of the things this show has, one thing it doesn’t have yet is an “epic” romance…maybe this could be it? I don’t know, but I’m excited to see this grow.

    • Kevin

      I hope they play it out as long as they can because I am loving every second of it!

  • Tiffany

    It was Tom, not Ron that was dancing at the lightning ceremony.

    Best throwaway line of the night, Ann when she went to pick up the congressman for Leslie, “It was not hard to get him here.”

    This pretty much was the episode that I laughed and cried. Watching the dinner scene at the end was just heartbreaking to watch, this really showed that both Louis CK and Amy Poelher have the chops for comedy and drama. The sweet scenes of the crew waiting for her to light the tree to the scene with Mark and Ann, I would not want to sit through a Pacers game either.
    I applaud the writers for acknowledging what Leslie does on a daily basis there and the realization that her job really is detailed oriented and can be quite challenging. I am so glad of the reversal from last season, someone was listening.

    Although I will miss Louis CK, I am beyond excited for Justin Theroux, dude wrote ‘Tropic Thunder’, so I have a crush.

    I cannot concluded my comment without stating enough, MORE DONNA! MORE DONNA! MORE DONNA!

  • kim in kentucky

    I was one of the people who didn’t really care if the show came back for a 2nd season — but now, I’m glad that it did. First season was all about the pit (thank god that story is now filed) and the show was getting its sea legs – now, much more stable and funny!

  • Menchy

    Care to comment on No-Molegate? Hahhaha. One of the funniest shows on TV right now.

  • Cee

    I really enjoyed this episode. I thought it had the right mix of funny and sweet…I’ll miss Dave! He was such a nice guy. But I did love seeing Leslie on the dating scene earlier this season! And Tom’s blood diamond quote had me laughing so hard I was crying. I’ll tell my fiance to make my diamonds extra bloody this Christmas!

  • anonymoose

    This show has been stellar this season. Great turnaround considering how awful it was in the short run last year.

  • Paola

    Being able to watch Aziz Anzari on a weekly basis after being a fan for years (as well as seeing his stand-up live) is just delicious.

    • ichorwhip

      Agreed, he flat out rules.

  • Ambient Lite

    I think this whole show is under-appreciated. I’m reminded that in the first season, The Office (U.S.) was almost cancelled, so I have hope that people will catch on to Parks and Rec. It improves every week.
    I’m sad about Dave and refuse to believe this is the end.
    I have a huge crush on Tom, he gets great lines – the blood diamond line HAS to be in the top 10. So effing true too!

  • jenna

    I almost gave up on this show, but glad I didn’t. Good episodes this season, and this was one of the best!
    Great cast, and Amy Poehler really was excellent in this episode.

    • Ambient Lite

      It has definitely gotten better over time, well worth waiting for.

  • Mike

    Show gets better each and every week… Love it

  • jknyc

    this show is one of the funniest on tv right now. Love the pokes at government and the characters and Amy Poehler is just genius. Happy that her character has become more real and complex.

  • Alexa

    This show has become my new must-see. Ron his just hysterical and the rest of the cast is better each week.
    …And a little soapbox for Tom… Blood Diamond jokes aren’t funny cause its still happening- buy your diamonds from Canada, people.

    • Ambient Lite

      Oh, Alexa. sigh.

      • Alexa

        Oh, Ambient Lite, always with your two cents worth. How bout I give you a dollar and you take a break from the posting for an hour or two.

      • Ambient Lite

        How about I give you a hug and you lighten up for an hour or two?

    • John

      It wasn’t *really* a Blood Diamond joke, more a joke on hypocritical woman. Not all woman, of course, just a specific group of girls who would totally stop caring if they were handed a diamond.

      • ichorwhip

        Thank you! As well, it’s right in character for Tom to be so repugnant about any given issue he brings up that you instantly know where the moral highground lies if you even give a crap…

    • Bob

      Mad about two cents on your two cents? Nonsence! It was a funny joke; John nailed the point.

      • Hannah

        *sigh* is a joke, now? wow, thats pretty cutting edge.

    • Ambient Lite

      See, that’s what my sigh was about.

    • Alexa

      There’s nothing wrong with a reminder not to buy diamonds from places that have known and documented records of crimes against humanity. It’s coming on Christmas and lots of the sparkly stuff will be going home with (hopefully) informed consumers. I think Leslie would agree with me.

      • Hannah


      • no ice

        I am the ONLY woman on earth who doesn’t want diamonds on anything, and even I say,”Lighten up!”

    • Ambient Lite

      me too!

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