'Parks and Recreation' recap: Breaking up is hard to do

Parks-Rec-PoehlerParks and Recreation was like a bad boyfriend last night. It made me laugh, broke my heart, touched my soul, and then left me on a note of uncertainty.

Leslie had the entire office volunteer at a senior citizens dance party on Valentine’s Day. But she took off from the preparations to find her mother’s long lost teenage love (guest star John Larroquette) in the hopes of reuniting the two at the big event. In the process, the show managed to cram more character development into 22 minutes than I thought possible.

Almost every couple had a major milestone of sorts last night.  Here’s the breakdown starting from the top:

Tom and Wendy – Tom confessed his love to Wendy, and she gave him the ole ”I just don’t feel that way about you.” Join me in a slow clap for Aziz Ansari in this scene. His reaction and the way he poured the champagne back into the bottle after she shot him down made me want to give him a big hug (…and then steal his champagne). Later on in the episode, his attempt to blackmail her into giving him a chance didn’t go over well, but (I think…) they made up in the end. I’m sure we’ll find out more about what was said during that silent reconciliation in a later episode.

Andy and April – Andy dedicated a song to April during his band’s set at the old folks’ dance. Collective ”awwww.” But during this song, we saw a hint of jealousy from Ann. Collective Jerry Springer-style ”ooooh.” Which brings us to…

Mark and Ann – The pair exchanged boring gifts like the boring couple they are. She got him towels and ”things humans use,” and he got her cliché Valentine’s Day gifts (his words). I’m sorry, but if a guy’s affection for you is one giant cliché, that’s a sign you need to give the relationship the Old Yeller treatment. Given Ann’s reaction during Andy’s song dedication to April, she might be realizing that. Agree?

April and her gay boyfriends – April’s gay boyfriends also weren’t too happy about April/Andy Lustfest 2010. They haven’t been for a while. Frankly, they have been growing apart all season, and last night she finally called it off. Judging by the comment’s on last week’s recap, this won’t come as a surprise to any of you. The whole story line was pretty predictable, no?

Marlene Griggs-Knope and Frank, her long-lost love – Anyone else spend half of the episode with a feeling of dread in their gut? I didn’t know what would go wrong. Something had to go wrong. But Marlene was actually happy to see Frank when Leslie and Justin showed up with him. Her flame was put out, however, when she learned he never amounted to much. For a Knope woman, a breed that has more ambition than blood flowing in their veins, that just didn’t fly, and she bid him adieu.

Leslie and Justin (guest star Justin Theroux) – After Justin helped her track down her mom’s high-strung ex flame, Leslie saw a different side of Justin. She didn’t like it, and they broke it off.

Leslie and Ron – The Leslie/Justin break-up was actually prompted by Ron. In probably the smartest moment we’ve ever seen from Ron, he told Leslie what we’ve all been feeling for a few episodes: Justin’s kind of a d-bag. ”He’s a tourist. He vacations in people’s lives, takes pictures, puts them in his scrapbook and moves on. All he’s interested in are stories. Basically, Leslie, he’s selfish.” I didn’t think I could love Ron Swanson more, but he proved me wrong. It was a touching moment between these two friends.

Tom and Justin – Breakups are hard for everyone, including those in budding bromances. Tom and Justin had become close. Too close, you might say. So when Justin and Leslie broke it off, Tom suffered his second loss of the episode.

Best Lines:

”It’s like Lilith Fair minus the angst and plus frittatas.” –Leslie

”It’s the most romantic story ever. It makes The Notebook look like Saw V.” –Leslie

”If you find him and he’s weird, like a ventriloquist or a puppeteer or anyone who pretends toys are people, then abort the mission.” –Leslie

”Think how much better our friendship would be if we added doin’ it.” –Tom

”My problem is that I don’t know how to tell if we’re doing good because when you play a rock show it’s really easy to know if you’re doing great because chicks will flash their boobs at you when you’re up on stage. You’re like, ‘Oh, that must have sounded pretty good.’ But if that happens here, my eyes will fall out of my head, and I’ll die.” –Andy before his gig at the senior citizen dance

”If I’m not mistaken, that was the old lady version of flashing.” –Andy

A special award: Best-timed Joke of the Season

John Mayer has been in the news all week, and in my head, I could see the Parks writers getting out of their chairs and doing a happy dance when they realized the episode with this amazing Mayer joke would be airing this week. For your luck and skill, I salute you, writers.

”How often do you get to reunite soul mates? What if I told you that you could reunite Romeo and Juliet? Or Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston? Oh, Jen, I really want you to be happy. Stay away from John Mayer.” –Leslie

Now, PopWatchers, share your favorite lines of the night, tell me what you think of all these developments and admit how many times you cried from laughter last night.

Comments (51 total) Add your comment
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  • ryry

    Best Episode this season- so great. I love this show so much, every cast member is awesome and funny. I cracked up so much when Tom had D’Angelo playing in his office while trying to get back together with his ex. The Writers on this show are great! Keep up the good work!

  • tom

    Totally agree. I didn’t think I would ever love this show, but, boy . . . it’s the best thing on NBC’s Thursday night lineup now. IT IS. (That means you’re not Tina Fey and painful-to-watch Steve Carrell.)

    • Diggity

      Judging by which show I look forward to the most- this is the best. I just love Leslie and Ron and all the supporting characters. Except Ann and Mark- they are kind of boring.

    • Ceballos

      I agree that “Parks and Rec” has been good, but I get a little annoyed when people can’t seem to praise a show without putting down another.

      I’m a fan of all of NBC’s comedies and “Parks and Rec” has been on a recent hot steak, but why does there always seem to be a need to dis other shows? (Especially when those other shows are “30 Rock” and “The Office” which have been great for a LONG time.)

      • Via

        Unnecessary show dissing is the way of the internets my dearie, is this your first time logging on to the world wide web?*

        *Unnecessarily insulting other posters is also required. Sorry I don’t make the rules, buddy.

      • Ceballos

        Unfortunately, I’m fully aware of how the Internet works.

        I’m just trying to clash the joint up a bit. (It’s why I wore a tie with my T-shirt today.)

    • Brittany

      I have hated my body my whole life. There was a short period that I ejnoyed who I was as a person, and I dressed the part. (That was also the only time I was successful in losing any weight!) I recently became a foster mom to two very special needs six year olds. My whole world shifted to them. I am doing good to get myself showered and dressed for work in the morning. My girls always look super cute, but I am another story. I am learning though that by taking care of myself and feeling good about who I am and how I look effects everything. (including how I care for my daughters you see, how I treat myself teaches them a lot about self worth) I have a friend coming over this weekend to help with a closet purge, and we will go from there. My main reason for commenting though is to thank you for telling us its ok to have curves.(and maybe even some bumps!) We can still be beautiful and sexy. A single mom of two with a little bit of planing and finding things that work can feel put together and beautiful.[]

  • JLC

    The odd thing was, Leslie and Justin really did her mom a service by forever laying to rest her lifelong “what if?” Of course, at the same time, they forever killed off “the greatest story every told,” but you can’t have everything.

  • Hrfe

    I was in love with the callback of Duke Silver, I hope that keeps coming up over and over again.
    I also loved Andy swearing at one of his customers (not sure WHY I loved it, but I totally did) and I was really surprised but he was actually an amazing singer.

    • marymary

      I loved that too, when Andy yelled at his customer that was waiting to get his shoes shined! Hilarious, reminds me of the times that Toby gets yelled at on the Office, when he’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time, lol. Loving the Andy/April romance, so sweet. I really think the show should get rid of Mark- such a boring character. I would much rather see Leslie and Ann as two single gals, trying to find dates. That might make Ann more fun too.

    • BD

      “Duke Silver? I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Ron’s continual denial was hilarious!

    • Madd

      I pretty sure Andy has yelled at that same guy in several different episodes. I agree, it’s a lot like Toby.

    • Ragil

      These pics are the best ..I am Charles’ mom and would like to get some prints. How do I go about gentitg some copies? or maybe I could get you to send me something in an e-mail. I will buy the prints so just let me know how much. Thanks,Debbie Smith

  • Chappel

    I’m still wondering how a guy who lived in a pit had a Takamine AND a Martin. They must have belonged to the other guy. I did get a kick out of seeing them using a Marshall half-stack to amplify acoustic guitars at a seniors dance.

  • Sarah

    I just LOVE this show. However, they need to do something with Ann. I really want to like her, unlike when she was on “The Office” and I obviously had to dislike her. :) Seriously, Rashida is underutilized and I hope Ann gets some interesting storylines soon. Other than that, my love for everyone else has grown and grown. Amy Poehler is SO amazing in this role…when I watch P&R I forget she’s that Amy from SNL…she is 100% Leslie Knope.

  • Lorie

    Great episode! When is Andy going to realize that April has feelings for him? I wonder if Ann will spill the beans during a jealous moment.

  • Allison

    “PooPaw No!”

    • kevin

      Hahaha! I forgot about that part! That just made me laugh till my stomach hurt :]

  • rockstarmom

    I liked the cliche’ gift giving. If he had given one of them, it would have been, well, cliche’. But the fact that he gave all of them and then said he’d never had the chance to give them to anyone else, that made it sweet.

    That said, the look on Ann’s face at the end of the “Am I doing everything okay” conversation was not good. There is definitely something missing somewhere.

    • Ceballos

      Yeah, the way I interpreted it as that things are just “good” between Ann and Mark.

      Obviously, “good” can be good, but for Ann it seems to have gotten to a place where it’s boring, unexciting an uninspiring.

      • Lisa

        yeah, but not andy. that won’t be right. you can’t go back. i like the idea of her and leslie single. this show is just so good though – the best of the line up on thurs.

    • Via

      They lack passion and since this seems to be Mark’s first time at bat with this type of relationship he’s apparently oblivious to that, Anne however notices it and is obviously missing that. Andy may have drove her crazy but atleast he made her feel something.

  • Ceballos

    Oh ok, so Mark and Ann are SUPPOSED to have been boring this entire time. I get it writers. I mean, they were still a laughter vacuum on this show, but at least now we know for sure that it was intentional. (Did you see how far apart they were when they were slow dancing – to Ann’s ex-boyfriend’s voice!?) Also, I think I may have had the same look on my face as April did when Ann was listening to Andy sing – I hope she backs off because I love me some April and Andy.

    Speaking of Andy, I thought he kinda stole this episode…until Ron delivered that great speech about Justin. I love that he and Leslie are good friends and that he has her back.

    Although Laroquette fell a bit flat for me, it was a very funny episode.

    • Ambient Lite

      Mark and Anne’s relationship is as boring as his array of cliche Valentine gifts.

    • Varris

      Their being boring does seem somewhat intentional… I think in the rehabbing of the show from last season to this one, the writers are now a bit stuck with Mark and Ann. They seem to want Ann to be more of a “straight man”, but that winds up making her really dry. They need to keep her the sensible friend, but she needs more quirks or something. I like Rashida Jones, but like Ann’s relationship with Mark, her character is lacking something…

      And I like Mark – much more than I did before. I think his relationship with Ann has allowed his character to evolve into much less of a jerk, but now he’s a little neutered and needs some bite back.
      But I love this show and think this episode was really good. While John Larroquette is obviously a comedy great, I think he was miscast in this part. It didn’t seem to work to his comic strengths. And is Pamela Reed old enough to be Amy Pohler’s mom?

    • hol

      I agree Andy stole the episode. He’s never been a favorite of mine but he was so funny last night. From cussing out his customer to not knowing any of the music legends that were mentioned to him.

  • Ashley

    Totally the best episode this season. I’m so glad O stuck with this show. All of these actors are SO talented. The John Mayer thing was absolutely perfect, and the moment between Ron and Leslie warmed my heart. And bring an old soul, I was a fan of Andy’s take on those great songs. P.S. I am in love with Aziz Ansari’s adorable face.

  • Yes

    Great episode. I love that they show Leslie can break it off, that she’s not desperate to keep some guy around. With the infatuation she had with Mark last season, it’s nice to see that change.
    LOVED the line about John Mayer. They got lucky that he made an idiot out of himself so recently AGAIN.

    • Via

      That John Mayer joke was perfect, but then again it’s kind of like throwing darts at a board because when ISN’T a good time to make fun of him.

    • Isembard

      Yeah, that was just freaky timing! Though I agree with Via, the boy’s always a d-bag.

  • ambee

    I had never watched an episode of Parks and Recreation before last night. The timing of the Jennifer Aniston/John Mayer joke was amazing, and I actually felt attached to all these characters in less than half an hour. Brilliant!

    • LOL

      Big thumbs up to the Mayer joke! Freakin’ hilarious.

  • Justin

    Loved this episode! Everyone was used well in this one. April breaking up with her gay boyfriends suprised me, but in a good way. April and Andy may actually happen, if Andy develops a clue (Wow! Don’t hold your breath!). My favorite part:
    Leslie: No one in this room knows what love is, (then she basically mocks everyone in the room)
    Jerry: I’ve been married for 28 years, my wife is Gloria, and you’ve met her many times.
    Leslie: Whatever!
    I nearly cried laughing!!!

    • Chrissy

      I know! They are all so mean to Jerry but it is hilarious! I love that Jerry’s desk is still smaller than April’s

  • charlotte

    Awesome episode. Seriously, I’m so hooked on this show. I even love the first season! This show just keeps getting better and better. Yay for the third season!!

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