All hail Amy Poehler. She is just the greatest. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but she wrote and directed this episode and knocked it out of the fucking park. Or some football metaphor I’m not clever enough to think of (you know, because the NFL draft was last night). Since this episode was so quote-heavy I’m going to forego the Notable & Quotable section this week and weave those moments into four sections and pray that it all makes sense. (Be warned, this is a long-ass post.) Here we go:
While Ben, Leslie and the Spin Doctors are at the auditorium for the debate, Ron, April and Andy are in charge of a fundraiser benefit for Leslie’s most charitable donors. Ron will be supplying the ribs, April will be supplying her famous $100 lap dances. During this planning phase we find out that Ann has broken up with Tom. Again. For good. But April is the greatest, confronting Tom (who says she doesn’t care about anything) by saying things like, “I care about Andy and Champion and I want Leslie to win and I like sleeping, so…” So basically April is my hero and a surprisingly good support system.
April and Andy, god bless them, try to play to the crowd. They wear sweaters over oxfords and put on pretentious accents. They chortle. They act like what they think people who belong to country clubs are like. (Or maybe people that belong to a country club are like that? I wouldn’t know.) They mix and mingle and talk-up Leslie.
But, surprise surprise, Andy forgot to pay the cable bill. Having no other way to entertain their hoity-toity guests, Andy resorts to acting out scenes from his favorite movies: Roadhouse, Rambo, and Babe. “I know it sounds corny, a movie about a talking pig, but you should all see it.” Close cut to Donna, crying. “I feel like I just did.”
Outside, Ron has shimmied up the telephone pole to jack the cable line from an unsuspecting neighbor. He assures us, via talking head, that he’ll reimburse the cost. But you know what? Duke Silver comes out to play, singing “Witchita Lineman” as he works.
The Spin Doctors
Behind the scenes at the debate, Tom, Ann and Chris have been turned into spin doctors. Chris is totally in his element. What would he say if Leslie opened her mouth to answer a question but she audibly farted and threw up? “Leslie Knope is literally overflowing with ideas for this town. And, speaking of methane, have you heard her plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions?” Bravo.
Concurrently, Tom, April, and Chris have created themselves a little love triangle. Chris thinks that he and Ann make a great team working the press and that, naturally they should transition that teamwork to real life via a rekindling of their romantic relationship. Ann seems flattered by the idea, but not totally on board. He approaches her like so: “I still have feelings for you. Strong feelings. Emotional, primal feelings.” Regular Mr Darcy there, isn’t he? She needs to think about it. (Sidenote – it was at that moment that I was afraid that if Ann had said yes, Chris would have tanked the press interaction so that Leslie would lose, Bobby would be free to replace Chris thereby freeing him to date a subordinate. I was actually terrified of this happening, if only for a few seconds.) Post-debate, Tom tries appealing to Ann without any grandiose gestures. He just kind of widens those bush-baby eyes of his and says, “Vote for me to be your boyfriend.”
(Sidenote – I really don’t care who Ann dates. I’m in no way emotionally involved in her relationship with Tom beyond the fact that I don’t like it. The idea of her and Chris doesn’t repulse me, but that’s just settling. Brandanowicz was okay, but again, meh. Andy wasn’t good for her. Maybe just make her single again? I’d rather see her at the Snakehole lounge, getting hit on by the weirdos of Pawnee than any of the boring, bland relationships we’ve always seen her in. Or, oooooh, bring back Will Arnett! They both work in the medical care industry. That could be fun for a laugh or two.)
Walking onto the stage to see what she’ll be facing, Ben assures Leslie that the podium she will be stationed at is four feet. The exact same size as her podium at the Parks Dept. Aww. He’s so thoughtful.
Minutes before the event starts, we see Leslie getting ready backstage. “Do it! Fierce. Power. Pump it up. 2012! Nothing gets me more amped than Sarah McLachlan,” she admits without a hint of irony.
“You’re going to rip out his spine with your teeth, and then chew it up and gargle with it.” Ben, on Leslie’s real-life Mortal Kombat skillz.
On stage we finally get a visual on the other candidates: Gun toting (and selling) Buddy Garrity!!!!!! Adult film star, Brandi Maxxx. And Animal Rights Advocate, Manrico Della Rosa Animal Rights guy. There’s a hilarious dude in the audience that jumps up to cheer for Buddy Garrity and Brandi Maxx. Also worthy of a mention: Brandi Maxxx and Leslie are wearing nearly identical outfits.
Then the debate starts in earnest. Opening statements are given. “I’m Leslie Knope. I Love this town. I’ve worked my whole life to make it great. I’ve earned your vote; Bobby Newport thinks he can buy it. That’s because he’s never earned anything his whole life.”
While accurate, Bobby mopes. “That hurt my feelings. Joan, that, that hurt.” Yup, you read that right. The debate’s being moderated by newly single Joan Calamezzo and Perd Hapley.
@MunchMeat2015 asks a question “from twitter because apparently that’s a thing that we do now.” Oh, satire.
From here we’re inundated with a montage debate clips such as Perd speaking through Leslie’s allotted time and these soundbites:
“I’m against crime & I’m not ashamed to admit it.” – Bobby
“All my movies are based on books.” – Brandi Maxxx
“My godfather is the viceroy of the principality of Lichtenstein.” – Bobby Newport
“Little Bobby, I’m not going to clean your room no mas.” – Bobby
“I was in favor of closing the Borders bookstore, not the border to Mexico.” – Leslie Knope
The last comment before the break leading up to closing statements goes to Bobby Newport who drops this bombshell: If Leslie wins election, Sweetums will probably have to move to Mexico. Thousands would lose their jobs and they all wouldn’t have candy (which is an important factor because Pawnee is the 4th most obese town in America). But if Bobby wins, he bet he could get them to stay.
During the break, Bobby’s campaign manager holds up a juice box for him to sip from while Ben and Leslie strategize. Ben thinks they should play nice, but Leslie needs to fight back. Ben takes our spunky little Knope off of her leash.
Bobby claims that he has no idea how to fix Pawnee. He’s counting on the constituents to tell him how to do his job.
Leslie Knope has this to say for herself:
I’m very angry. Angry Bobby Newport would hold this town hostage & threaten to leave if you don’t give him what he wants. Its despicable. Corporations are not allowed to dictate what a city needs. That power belongs to the people. Bobby Newport and his daddy would like you to think it belongs to them. I love this town. And when you love something, you don’t punish it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first. As your City Councilman, I will make sure that no one takes advantage of Pawnee. If i seem too passionate, it’s because i care. If I come on too strong, its because I feel strongly. And if I push too hard, it’s because things aren’t moving fast enough. This is my home, you are my family, and I promise you, I’m not going anywhere.
Bobby Newport sums it up nicely for us: “Holy fuck Leslie, that was awesome.”
Catch Your Dreams (Leslie’s campaign song) is playing in the background. Ron was able to fix the cable just in time to see Leslie’s kick-ass closing statement. (Who wants to bet that the only voters to turn out are the ones who donated to Leslie’s campaign? It seems like something that would happen in Pawnee.) Bobby runs by Ann, Ben, and Leslie screaming, “WE DID IT! I was so nervous but we got through it. Party at my dad’s lakehouse! Bring whoever you want.” Before confusedly stumbling off-stage. AND THEN EVERYONE (Ann, Ben, Leslie) LOOKS AT THE CAMERA!!! Every time, every fucking time that I quibbled over the show under-utilizing THs and pointed-looks-at-the-camera, THIS MAKES UP FOR ALL OF THEM. Sorry, Writer’s Room, but Amy Poehler, I love you forever. And, #nohomo, but I kind of want to make out with you.
Tom takes his turn spinning the news by saying, “Leslie Knope is scrappy, like a terrier. Smooth, like a blended whiskey. My girl has big ideas & big feelings and she’s not afraid to show them.”
Jerry and the nuns. I just, I have no clue. But I loved it.
“Does that guy Chris Traeger have a girlfriend and is his penis normal?” – Bobby’s campaign manager (Catherine Hahn) to Ben
Ben and Leslie being the cutest couple on the planet. I’m so glad the show decided to put these two in a relationship and not mess with them. Now can they just move in together already? Let April and Andy have their own place and put Ben in with Leslie and her hoarding proclivity. We already know that they sleep in the same bed. Of course Leslie practices her opening statement in her sleep. Ben doesn’t care that those last few nights of sleeping by her side have been hell. They’re too cute for words! They love and like each other.
That’s it for this week. If it wasn’t enough, you’re crazy. Please tell me all of your favorite Ben/Leslie moments and everything else you loved (or hated, weirdo) from this episode. Can’t wait to hear it! KNOPE 2012!