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I loved, loved, loved last week’s episode of Parks and Recreation. Obviously, the big news was the cameo appearance of Leslie Knope’s hero and major crush, Vice President Joe Biden. So how did our favorite loquacious veep on comedic television? He did really well. It was a short appearance, and he didn’t have to do much except to act bemused and uncomfortable at Leslie’s fawning – which he did with deft aplomb.
The Biden appearance aside, the episode mainly dealt with Leslie being pitted against April regarding Lot 48 – the empty lot behind Ann Perkins’ house from the first season, when it was just a giant hole in the ground. Leslie was able to get the hole filled, but she hasn’t been able to make it a park yet. Well April, newly enthusiastic about her work (well, as enthusiastic as April gets) wants a dog park.
Instead of handling it like an adult, Leslie went to that place she sometimes goes to, when things don’t go her way. You know what place I’m referring to, fellow Parks and Recreation devotees. The immature, petty junior high place. As opposed to supporting April for fulfilling her potential, Leslie reacted badly and tried to derail April’s project.
Of course April isn’t completely innocent either. Instead of being grateful for her guidance and support throughout the years – especially, since she knows how important Lot 48 is to Leslie, she blithely sidesteps her and associates herself with Leslie’s arch nemesis, Councilman Jamm, the weasily dentist who serves on the council with Leslie. True to Jamm’s form, he double crosses April, despite promising her support for her dog park, and instead pushes for a fast food joint.
With Ann’s intervention Leslie and April reconcile. It’s a great moment, where we get to see April tell Leslie, “I love you.” With the skill of a great diplomat, Ann managed to get the two warring friends to put aside their differences and go after their common enemy: Jamm. Leslie’s bright idea: because Jamm doesn’t want a dog park or a playground, they get a bunch of kids and their puppies and set them loose on his front yard. Beaten at his own game, Jamm agrees to hold off on voting for the fate of Lot 48 until Leslie can come up with more definite plans for it.
Meanwhile, Leslie’s fiance is back from DC and gets a job as an accountant. Snooze. He’s trying to fool himself into thinking that being an accountant is sufficient after doing so well as a campaign manager – and while helping Tom with his actually-not-bad idea of renting out nice clothes to growing teens – he can’t go anywhere without getting interesting job offers. It’s interesting that he’s taking these offers in his stride. Of course, after being deluged with job offers, he ends up at a faceless accounting firm – the same one he was hired and then quit from; and yup, one look at his new drone-cave and he quits, joining Tom’s startup.
And Andy still wants to be a cop, but is finding the paperwork side of it boring, and finds the yellow tape frustrating when he tries to investigate the theft of a couple computers. Chris Traiger is on hand to encourage him, but to point out that if the administrative side of police work is so tedious, then maybe Andy needs to look at another vocation. So to get his feet wet, Andy gets a job as a security guard for the parks office during the weekends.
So, how awesome was “Leslie vs. April”? Well, you know that when you’ve got a smiling, game Joe Biden, things are aces. I was pleasantly surprised at how funny the guy could be – don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t given too much to do, but just enough to prove that the veep is a pretty cool guy – and how great was it when Leslie thought Biden was offering her Hillary Clinton’s job as secretary of state (and how more awesome was it when she first demurred, but then accepted the position – I loved Leslie just a little bit more). I think it’s great that Leslie has this weird crush on Biden, and it’s really hilarious to see her get unglued at one point cradling his face in her hands and telling the vice president that he’s “very handsome.”
I also find the new April Ludgate very attractive – it’s wonderful to see her apply her considerable intelligence. Also, it’s heartwarming to see Leslie swell with pride (before she tried to destroy her dog park project) seeing April work hard. While she’ll never be Leslie, it’s obvious that she’s got the brains to be a worthy successor to her boss once it becomes Senator Knope.
So, what did you think of “Leslie vs. April” – is April’s newly-found interest in her work a sign of a more committed, ambitious April?