No, it’s not that time of the year again (a.k.a the best not-a-national holiday ever), but Leslie pretends that it’s February 13th, using the brunch-based-event of Galentine’s Day, as an excuse to trial potential new best friends.
And while she’s doing that, Ben confirms his friendship with Larry, and Ron learns that being a father is indeed a full-time job. Especially when counting your kids at work.
What fuels Leslie search is Ann’s failure to be available for their weekly phone call (their daily ones have been slipping up, obviously) and after Leslie listens to a voicemail Ann leaves her (did anyone else get choked up hearing that beautiful angel’s voice?), she manically decides that she needs a replacement Ann, calling for an impromptu Galentine’s Day Brunch. (But without Ann Perkins there to dedicate everything to, what is even the point?)
But besides this episode making me wonder (again) why Ann had to leave (Leslie’s not half as fun when she’s not questioning Sandra Bullock’s skirt length with her best friend), it brought to light another friendship that has been quietly developing: Ben and Jerry/Larry/Gary.
Tom and Ben are trying to organize tent rentals, but the owner (of not one but all of the tent rental places in Southern Indiana) trips up their straightforward deal by adding clauses into their rental agreement relating to things like noise damage.
But, amazingly enough, Larry comes to the rescue, noting a number of violations in the paperwork and running of the businesses, making it possible for Tom and Ben to negotiate a fair deal. Which makes Ben feel all the more guilty when Tom continues to insult Larry, Larry himself pretending to be the butt of the joke (literally, because it was a fart joke, guys) when Tom finishes paying for gas and sees the two chatting cordially.
And it’s this guilt – Ben realizing that Larry is actually a really nice guy who would even sacrifice himself for Ben’s status to also remain un-touched by their interaction – that causes him to make a magnificent, hilarious stand at the end of the episode. I never really felt the full impact of Ben and Chris as friends, but Ben and Larry as secret best friends? That I can get on board with. (Especially when you remember that dopey yet prophetic Ben & Jerry’s fan-made photo.)
But before Ben makes his emotional admission, Ron leaves the office to do a park survey, happy to be alone and in silence for once – before, of course, Andy follows him, calling shotgun for not only this ride, but for all of the ones in the future, too.
All Ron wants is some silence, before he realizes that with his work, and with the decision he made to have a child and join Diane’s family, he can’t necessarily have that. Being a father is a full-time job, he admits, taking Andy to the dentist for the second time, after he knocks out a tooth at the playground falling off of the monkey bars. (And no, as we now know, the five second rule doesn’t apply to teeth.) Andy and Ron also show us some of the best physical comedy seen in Parks and Recreation for a while this week, Andy throwing a magazine into the dentist’s fishtank once he’s done with the “maze,” and Ron slapping a tray of peanut brittle away from Andy after he says he just has to finish it “real quick” before going to get his tooth fixed.
Andy’s a bit of a kid, and Ron, as it turns out, accepts his responsibility for him – picking up ice cream for Diane and the girls on the way home, because he’s getting some for a thirty-year old coworker, anyway. Of course Ron’s good at being a parent: he’s been doing it for years.
As for Leslie, the Galentine’s Day brunch turns out to be a bust after April snatches her notebook that she’s scoring the replacement-Ann candidates in. (And then doesn’t understand why Donna gets mad, because she’s in first place.) Shauna Malwae-Tweep is the only one who stays, and that’s looking… Sort of good enough, when Leslie gets a phone call.
Ann’s had her baby, Oliver Chris Traeger, and Leslie goes down to meet them. I didn’t expect to see Ann again so soon after she’d left, and although it was wonderful, and necessary to close the pregnancy storyline, it was so hard as well because when will we see Ann Perkins next? The reason the Leslie storyline hits so hard is because we feel that need to find someone who can fit into the space Ann left behind as keenly as Leslie does. But that’s not how it works, as Ann tells her, ordering Leslie not to force anything. So she doesn’t, going back home to apologize to Donna and April, who, in turn, give her the second sweetest thing in this episode: a toy bunny with a recorded message from Ann that plays when you push its paw.
But the sweetest moment of “Galentine’s Day” is awarded to Ben. The mocking of Larry/Jerry/Gary finally taking its toll on him, causing a reenactment of Dead Poet’s Society, as Ben stands on his chair, calling out to his captain. His captain, Larry Gengurch.
“O Captain! My Captain!” “What the hell is going on.” “LARRY IS MY FRIEND!”
Larry and Ben. The dream team.
- “I love being a father, but there are a few things I miss. There is no quiet anymore. There is only Doc McStuffins.”
- “Larry’s nice! And I don’t care who knows that I said that, as long as no one knows that I said that.”
- Leslie recruits Donna and April for Galentine’s: “Because now is lady time!” April: “You sound like a tampon commercial.”
- Andy: “You know when you go to the ATM and you get money? Is there an actual guy behind the wall who stands there and slides dollar bills to you?”
- Leslie’s left with: “Shauna Malwae-Tweep. Pretty, vulnerable, makes terrible life decisions: a real fixer upper. But it’s not like Ann was doing so hot when I met her!”
- Donna’s favorite TV show? “For live-tweeting, it’s Scandal. For binge-watching, it’s Scandal. But for fashion… It’s actually Scandal. My answer is Scandal.”
- “May I suggest that you see Chris Traeger’s wonderful therapist, Richard Nightguard? Although there was a small piece of me that always thought he was just talking to himself in a mirror… Maybe you should look him up!”
- It’s not a quote but my notes for this episode were pretty memorable: I wrote down “ANN! ANN’S HERE!” in capital letters over and over again.