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Parks and Recreation 6×12 “Farmers Market” Recap

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Perhaps because there’s nothing left for Leslie Knope to do at the parks department, this week she and Ben fight over chard at the Pawnee farmers market, while Ron listens to Willy Nelson and refuses to hear anyone’s problems.

Also, Billy Eichner is back as Crazy Craig AND I LOVE IT.

While last week’s – “New Beginnings” – was all about everybody else responding to Ben and Leslie’s new jobs, “Farmers Market,” deals with how Leslie and Ben themselves are dealing with each other’s new roles. The two have slipped back into the jobs that they had when they first met and were tentatively getting to know each other in season three, and so naturally, the positions take a little navigating. Ben quit his job for Leslie, and she nearly ruined her campaign for him, but now here we are, in season six, and Ben is Leslie’s boss again.  And although he loves her report at the start of the episode – “Fantastic work! In fact, such good work, I think I’m in love with you,” – when Leslie assumes that he will, as her husband, agree with her on the promiscuous nature of the chard stand at her farmer’s market, things get heated.

Meanwhile, Ann and Chris are a little more bearable this episode, mostly because it’s a lot less Chris, and a lot more of Ann complaining about Chris. She even takes her complaints to the parks department, where she interrupts the monthly ‘whine and cheese club.’ As per his job description, Ron has to make himself available to receive workplace disputes as the head of department. He doesn’t, however, actually have to listen, and so while he nods along to Willy Nelson for all of the conversations, Donna, Tom and Larry – and Ann as well – rant.

In fact, Ann lets out so much steam, that the whine and cheese club becomes the cigars and sushi club so as to keep her out. Rashida Jones plays the scene with a perfect kind of she’s-reached-the-end-of-her-tether crazy, and the episode ends sweetly for her, with the whine club telling Chris not to try to fix everything, but to just listen to Ann’s problems and let her have that outlet. Being offered a solution, when you actually just want the space to complain is incredibly frustrating, and doubly so I assume, when you’re carrying some dude’s spawn in your swollen belly. I’m unconvinced by Ann and Chris and their coupling – clearly thrown together for the sake of cutting cast – but Chris patiently letting Ann rant was pretty sweet.

But it’s nothing like the relationship that April and Andy have – April signing Andy up for a gig at a children’s party (Crazy Craig’s nephew to be exact) and helping him find another potential career path. Andy’s had quite a few, and actually, I kind of love that. He’s the kind of person that would swap around throughout his life, and the kind of guy that you can see fitting into, well, almost anywhere. The newest job – and role – being Johnny Karate: children’s singer. (He also featured as Bert Macklin FBI at the show, investigating the case of stinky feet.) At the end of the gig, Andy gets offered another one, before wondering, but aren’t I supposed to be a rock star? But as April tells him, after seeing him so joyously interact with those hoards of screaming children, “Who cares about what you’re supposed to be?”

Some things change for people, like their relationship status, or their jobs, but Leslie will always be a steamroller because of how passionate she is. And Ben, when pushed, is a little bit of a hard-ass. And so it’s hard for the two to fit their marriage into their new (but old) jobs at first, Ben creating their house as a safe, work-free zone at the beginning of their chard disagreement (apparently sex really helps to sell chard). By the end of the episode, after Ben runs away into a privately-owned-and-therefore-not-city-council fountain (before Leslie reminds him of who the water technically belongs to, joining him in the water and picking up their disagreement), the two realize how ridiculous they’re being.

Ben is trying too hard to separate their work from their home-life (a fact especially stupid when you consider that essentially, Leslie’s just as married to her work as she is to Ben, and he the same, for why else would Leslie fall for him in the first place?) And Leslie admits that she might be pushing the issue a little too much. It’s hard to leave work at work when you go home with your boss, but by the end of the episode Ben and Leslie seem to be managing it. Ahe farmers market after dark – the scandalous, sexy cousin of the original farmers market – is created, where chard shots are sold by half naked men and women to great success.

Although who knows why, because chard is gross.

Grade: B+

Memorable Moments

  • Frustrated and pregnant Ann may just be my favorite Ann: “Chris is so wonderful… and positive… and thoughtful… He’s driving me up the fucking wall!” “I want to be Pacman. And instead of dots, I want them to be cinnamon buns.”
  • Leslie to Ben: “Don’t forget your approval pen.” “What? There’s no such thing.” “Yes there is, I made it for you last night.” (Pen reads: ‘LESLIE IS RIGHT’)
  •  Ron takes his Willy Nelson on the road: “Tom put all my records into this rectangle! The songs just play one after the other! This is an excellent rectangle!” Bless.
  • “You’re so passionate, sometimes I feel like when we’re arguing I’m arguing with the sun!” “What, that is crazy! I AM SUPER CHILL ALL THE TIME.” Bold letters can’t encapsulate Leslie’s amazingly manic tone, but I tried. 

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