'Parks and Recreation' recap: House party at Leslie's!

parks-rec Last night marked the first time I ever wished that I had Leslie Knope’s job. Why? Well, who doesn’t dream of having a gaggle of free experts around to help them throw fancy dinner parties? Allow me to explain.

Budget cuts hit Pawnee, and Leslie was forced to tell a group of Recreation Center teachers that five of their classes would soon be cut. Tragic! Leslie shared my grief, adding that she learned valuable skills from Rec classes, like hair braiding, biscuit making, and French kissing (see best quotes below for details).

Meanwhile, Leslie and Justin celebrated another successful date. I’m loving this pairing, by the way. Homely, ambitious Leslie is dating the mountain-climbing, world-traveling awesomeness that is Justin (Parks newbie Justin Theroux). They balance each other well as characters and actors. He also has me intrigued because I wonder if he’s truly as amazing as advertised. Hmm.. Wait! Sorry, I veered.

So, after their date, Justin informed Leslie that he planned on being in Pawnee that week, and Leslie promised him a good time. She soon realized, however, that Pawnee is… well… Pawnee. Jumping off Ann’s suggestion to just cook Justin dinner at home, Leslie decided to throw a dinner party. She invited everyone in the office (sans Jerry – awww) and recruited Andy to be a server with the lure of a $10 per hour compensation.

Ann arrived to Leslie’s house the next day and discovered two things: (1) Leslie was a secret hoarder. (2) Leslie had no idea how to throw a dinner party. After discovering the job was a bit too much for the two of them to handle, Leslie remembered her friends at the Rec Center and began making calls.

When the teacher arrived, she refused Leslie’s payment offer, insisting she’d rather just demonstrate how valuable her classes at the Rec Center are (*wink, wink*).  But that isn’t the last help Leslie needed for the evening. Throughout the night, she called upon the cooking class coordinator, the bartending teacher, and the belly dance teacher.

The evening went off smoothly for the most part, except when Wendy showed up. As you might recall, Tom’s green card wife is being sought after by Ron, while Tom remains secretly smitten with her.

The evening ended with a visit from an accounting software teacher. Rather, the evening was killed to death with a boring knife when the accounting software teacher arrived.

Leslie’s blatant use of clout caught up with her the next day when she had to face a disciplinary committee. She got off with a warning, and it was later revealed that she ratted herself out. That’s our Leslie.

Parks and Recreation has been on a LOL streak this season, but last night’s episode was slower than I’d become accustomed to from my friends in Pawnee. Note to writers, dinner parties don’t spell hilarity, you need more Tom, and the comedic value of Ron Swanson around food should never be underestimated.

Now your turn. What did you think of last night’s episode? Did I miss any key moments of hilarity? Mark’s dinner party story perhaps? And tell me: Are you loving Justin Theroux? Sound off below my best quote picks!

Best quotes:

”I’ve been taking these Rec Center classes since I was in high school. It’s where I learned hair braiding and how to make biscuits, French kissing. The French kissing was just from a boy in my biscuits class, but either way, lesson learned.” – Leslie

”If I wanted to bring a large number of deviled eggs, but I didn’t want to share them with anyone else, can you guarantee fridge space?” – Ron

”I think I have to call Child Services and have Leslie taken away from herself” – Ann

”People in this town are just getting into Nirvana. I don’t have the heart to tell them what’s going to happen to Kurt Cobain in 1994” – Tom

”It feels like touching raw chicken” – April, re: Tom’s hand exfoliating

”This is how you eat it.” – Tom, said in tune to the Montell Jordan hit ”This is How You Do It”

Comments (73 total) Add your comment
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  • maxwell19596

    this season has been great, and I really enjoyed last nights episode. I too am wondering if Justin is as cool as he seems, or is there a hidden truth. This show has just gotten better, and better.

  • Via

    I don’t know.. this dinner party was hilarious to me. ”This is how you eat it,” was so damn unexpected yet classic Tom that I did a spit take. Did not see the hoarder thing coming either, but it made sense in a weird Leslie way. That’s what I liked about this episode (and the show in general); you don’t see the setup/joke coming a mile away.

    • Ceballos

      Yeah, “This is how you eat it” has a good chance of making its way into some of my future meals in everyday life.

    • Gogo

      I had a very loud LOL moment to “This is how you eat it!” – Classic Tom!

    • Jasmine

      That line from Tom also caused me to do a spit take- absolutely HILARIOUS. But so Tom that I don’t know what I wasn’t expecting it.

    • EP

      My husband and I couldn’t stop laughing at that line. It was so out of nowhere. Tom is awesome, best part of the show!

  • Sara

    The show did move rather slow last night, but I couldn’t stop laughing when Tom sang “this is how you eat it.” Possibly the best moment of the season so far.

    • KRibbons

      My favorite quote of the night was Andy imitating Justin ” Hey, I’m Justin, oh, be careful with my coat. I got it from the king of Africa while we were walking on the Berlin wall”

  • Ceballos

    “Note to writers, dinner parties don’t spell hilarity.”

    May I please direct your attention to the, um, “Dinner Party” episode from season 4 of “The Office.” Just a terrific, wonderfully-uncomfortable episode (“Snip-snap, snip-snap.”)

    Anyway, this episode had its moments, but I certainly wouldn’t count it among this season’s best. I think a reason for that is that (and this is probably just me) it sort of compares unfavorably to the “Office” dinner party episode.

    The reason “Parks and Rec” has been SO much better this season, in my opinion, is because it broke away from being an “Office” copy and established its own identity. Still, it was pretty funny and I like Justin, though I don’t think he’s quite as awesome as everyone else (including those two gay guys) seems to think.

    • Sara

      Oh, excellent point. That episode of The Office is one of my absolute favourites.

      • Diggity

        Me too- best Office ever.

    • Ambient Lite

      Agree, wasn’t the best episode, but the beginning and end had some great moments. Definitely didn’t compare to The Office’s dinner party, but is that really fair? It’s like comparing their high with Parks and Rec’s low. They’ve both had stinkers, but they’re both still great shows.
      I personally loved the Nirvana thing, that really DOES happen in smaller/rural towns. Also thrilled that Leslie called her own disciplinary hearing, that was perfect.

      • Ceballos

        No, you’re absolutely right – it’s not fair to compare the two episodes and I mostly stopped being the guy who compares “Parks and Rec” to “The Office” after “Parks and Rec” improved so much this year and started doing its own thing.

        I only brought it up because of the claim in the recap that “dinner parties don’t spell hilarity.” Obviously, that’s just not true.

      • Ambient Lite

        The Office’s dinner party WOULD be a great example of success – and I thank you for reminding me of that episode. It WAS awesome.

    • Remy

      I think she meant it to be more like a pointed jab to the creators – as in just because it worked in The Office, doesn’t mean it’s going to work in every single show.

  • Janitor

    With every passing episode, I find the Ron character to be more and more hilarious this season. Appearance wise, he always looks bored/doesn’t care, but it’s the little nuances (ie. the deviled eggs) that makes his subtlety laugh out loud funny

    • Ambient Lite

      Ron is my favorite, love his subtlety. He really shined in the one with Megan Mullally as his ex-wife.

      • Dave

        I have “Ron and Tammy” on my DVR and I don’t think I’m ever deleting it!

    • Ceballos

      My favorite underrated moment of the ep: Ron as the “answers-with-a-question” hostile witness!

      • JLC

        That interview was the cherry on top of last night’s ep. “Would YOU have left the party?”

      • Reebs

        Ron as a “hostile witness” left me in tears.

    • Janitor

      Yes, the episode with his ex-wife Tammy was off the wall, especially that scene from no talking in the diner to the motel (funniest tv moment of ANY show this season)

      And Ceballos: thanks for reminding me! How did I forget?! That. Was. Awesome.

    • ichorwhip

      and of all things to bring, not share, and consume in mass quantities… “This is how we smell it!” :-)

  • apd09

    I honestly was laughing out loud last night at the episode, and it was all thanks the reaction of eating the pepper. From the quote, “This is how you eat it” with the sudden response “Don’t do that”, to the look of pain on his face and the need to leave the room, then having the blanket in his mouth and screaming when it was removed.

    That could have been one of my favorites scenes of all time and still brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

  • Chalmers

    The way Ron calmly ate his pepper to show off to Wendy was just as hilarious. I loved his one-word “hot” reaction and his advice that Tom not try it that was helpful but not forceful enough to prevent Tom from making a fool of himself.

    Even the way he changed the tone of his grunts as Leslie kept increasing the number of courses she was planning to serve.

  • MikeNJD

    I don’t think you meant to descrbe Leslie as “homely” above. Perhaps “homey,” as in not leaving her town often? Amy Poehler is anything but unattractive.

    • Coconutty

      Thank you! I was going to say the same thing.

      • Mona

        Yes! I saw that and thought, homely? Jesus, the world doesn’t stand a chance if we start calling Leslie Knope homely.

      • Madd

        Thank you! Amy Poehler is an adorable blond, definitely not homely. I actually think she’s prettier than Rashida Jones.

    • isembard

      Thanks for that. I found that idiotic and nasty. Leslie is cute as a button, hardly “homely”.

      • Diggity

        Idiotic and Nasty is right. She is not homely.

    • Emoney

      Good, I’m glad you all said this. Leslie/Amy is not at all homely. She’s pretty and cute and better than 97% of the people on the street.

    • ladybugVB

      “Homely” can also mean “unaffectedly natural” so I hope that was the meaning intended.

  • Sarah

    What about Tom wanting to ‘re-foliate’ his hand after April said it felt like raw chicken? Hilarious!

    • Inky

      loved that line! His delivery was killer.

  • mopper

    This is a bit random, but I swear that any time Andy is being mean to someone at his shoeshine stand it is the same guy. Every time.

    Thought last nights episode was very good. It continued the hot streak of very funny episodes since “Ron and Tammy”. I also dug Tom telling justin that his parents are from the southern part of India which is geographically ambiguous to say the least.

  • Rick

    Tom on the bed with the blanket stuffed in his mouth was nicely underplayed.

    • isembard

      I loved the little scream when the blanket was pulled from his mouth for a second. Too funny.

  • Chappel

    Ah…. bellydancer….!

  • Vy

    I thought that the episode kept with P&R’s winning streak, although it wasn’t top tier. What it lacked in humor it made up for with clever cheek, especially in the reprimand payoff of it being an elaborate ruse to get honest date feedback. But I thought for sure that Justin’s fatigue was going to be from April slipping him something to make up for her “betrayal” of Andy.

  • lagitha

    I’ve missed why Andy has such a hatred to Justin. What did I miss?

    • Just Me

      Justin is a good friend of Ann’s and when she and Andy dated I think he used to come around a lot and brag about his exploits around the world.

    • Sarah

      Because Ann thinks he’s cool and apparently talked about him quite a bit.

  • Jason

    Best line of the night, can’t remember the exact wording, was Tom’s reaction to Leslie inviting his ex-wife and saying about Ron carrying her off wrapped in his mustache.

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