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Parks and Recreation 6×03 “The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic” Recap

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Leslie (Amy Poehler), still facing the impending recall election, is ecstatic when she learns that Pawnee’s archnemesis, Eagleton, is experiencing some financial difficulties.

Given how much Pawnee’s citizens despise Eagleton, Leslie figures she can use Eagleton’s misfortune to her advantage and win back favor from the Pawnee public.

Kirsten Bell guest stars as Leslie’s Eagleton counterpart – winner of the Miss Indiana beauty pageant (last year, while pregnant) and PhD holder from the Sorbonne in Paris – Ingrid de Forest.

Leslie’s gloating over Eagleton lends to some great comic relief, including a mock slideshow presentation and plenty of “rich people” zingers at Eagleton’s expense.

Meanwhile, Ann (Rashida Jones) takes April (Aubrey Plaza) to nearby Bloomington for vet school orientation. Sometime last season Ann had applied to vet school on April’s behalf.

Once they get there, however, April has a change of heart about attending the school. Ann is disappointed, telling April that she really cares about April and what she does with her future. But April tells Ann not to worry – she follows her gut instincts and it usually lead her to the right conclusion, like marrying Andy and knowing Ann is the worst person she would ever meet.

This is mostly set-up for Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe’s exits from the show, as we quickly learn later on in the episode. Ann is impressed by Bloomington’s baby stores and notes that Pawnee’s pales in comparison. When Ann returns to Pawnee, she asks Chris if he would consider raising their child somewhere else.

Finally, we have Ron (Nick Offerman) attempting to live off the grid with help from Tom (Aziz Ansari) and Donna (Retta), after he promises to let them leave early from work. He’s moved in with new wife Diane (Lucy Lawless) and – to Ron’s shock and horror – has just received junk mail addressed to him. This sends Ron on a quest to erase any traces of himself, because Ron values his privacy so much, including pictures of him eating at local diners. “Why is everyone else so bad at eating?” he wonders.

Eventually, Ben convinces Leslie to do the right thing and help Eagleton with their financial woes. Leslie’s solution is to merge the two towns – Pawnee and Eagleton – together, so as to not overburden Eagleton with their debt. Of course, neither town’s citizens take too kindly to this.

This will be an interesting, new direction for the show to go in. It certainly opens up all sorts of storyline potential and I’m actually excited about it, although the departures of Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe will certainly change the dynamic of the show – despite Ann and Chris’ roles being substantially small compared to other characters.

There’s a funny cameo by NBA player Chris Bosh in the episode, as well. So look out for that. Overall, the episode didn’t make a huge impression on me. There were some great jokes and hilarious one-liners, but the side-plots (Ann, April, Ron) didn’t add much. Leslie’s storyline seems to be more of a set-up to next week’s episode, too.

Rating: B+