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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 Episode 20 Recap: “One in 8,000”

WHY ARE MY  ACCOMPLISHMENTS ALWAYS OVERSHADOWED?! Leslie gets her groove back this episode, through accidental overachievements.

Sitcom pregnancies are sort of dreaded by television viewers, and so when Dr Saperstein (Leslie and Ben’s first choice of doctor obviously) announces that this is a triplet pregnancy, it’s a little bit frightening, frankly.

But Parks pulls it off because that’s exactly what Ben sees in that ultrasound: fear. He’s an accountant, and when he works out the numbers… It doesn’t look good. (Sidenote: how feasible do you think Leslie and Ben’s lack of savings actually is? They don’t own their house, and they spent all of their savings on that trip to Paris? I don’t exactly buy it, with Ben being best friends with Dr. Buttons the calculator and all, but sure, whatever, I’ll suspend disbelief.) Ben spends the rest of the episode freaking out, but trying (and failing) to keep it under-wraps so as Leslie, pregnant for three now, doesn’t have to worry.

But as it turns out, she isn’t worrying. After all the weeks we’ve seen her struggling against Pawnee and its population, something has finally and miraculously worked out for her.

This certainly isn’t the end of Leslie’s career ambitions- come on, it’s Leslie Knope– but this pregnancy is something in her life that’s happened so easily, after everything having been so hard for her this season. It would be easy to say that the writers handed Leslie a baby and made everything so difficult for her so that they could hand her a baby- or three-  but I think that would be a cop-out.

Parks has done this because it’s committed to making change for Leslie this season. Parks and Rec is six years old now, and season seven might just be its last. The season finale’s last minutes look set to change the future of the show, and it’s seeming likelier and likelier that there’s a jump in time involved: and what better way to achieve an instant family for Ben and Leslie, than through triplets? (Not that two people can’t be a family, and that Leslie don’t already have a family at work, but you know what I mean.)

I don’t love the decision, but it’s not what they’re saying about Leslie’s pregnancy that even counts, really. It’s what they’re going to do with it, and how it will effect the new season.

Ron and Ann’s respective pregnancies have made fairly low-impact changes occur on the show, but Leslie and Ben having three kids? That’s a pretty big decision for the writers to make… One that we’ll see the results of in the finale next week, but most of all in season seven.

Ron’s son may have made little in the way of change to Parks and Rec itself, but he has certainly made an impact on Ron himself. He takes Donna to his step-daughters’ school to volunteer for the Pawnee-Unity concert this episode- something  that we’ll see more of next week- and ends up setting her up with her ex-boyfriend, Joe, aka Keegan-Michael Key, of Key and Peele fame(!) Donna wrongly describes Joe as her Tammy, and Ron voluntarily gives her some advice, after falling for Joe’s charms. “Don’t confuse drama with happiness,” he tells her, making Donna re-evaluate their relationship and giving Joe another date. As long as he lets her have her space.

Everyone’s settling down on Parks and Rec (except for the absent-Tom tonight, but even he’s growing up) so it would make sense to have a time-jump and it would be interesting, too, to see and explore where everyone has ended up after a year-or-two.

But for now Andy and April are doing Johnny Karate things, including playing for Councilman Dexhart’s numerous children, all of whom he forces to share a birthday party once a year, while Andy struggles to keep Leslie’s pregnancy a secret.

I didn’t love this episode of Parks, and I don’t love the idea of triplets yet, either, but it’s a work in progress for the show; a beginning and not an ending.

GRADE: B-

Memorable Quotes

  • I only really have one (the only one that matters) this week,  and it’s a reference, of course, to Ann. Leslie’s talking to a nurse when she uses the wrong name: “Excuse me, he’s feeling better, he can go right, Ann? …Dammit. I wonder if I’ll ever stop doing that.” I really hope you don’t, Leslie.