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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 7 Episode 8 Recap: “Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes To Washington”

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All season, April (Aubrey Plaza) has been struggling with what she wants to do with her life. She knows she doesn’t want to work in government anymore, but what does she want to do? Luckily, Andy (Chris Pratt) has been very supportive of her, and he continues to be supportive while April and Leslie take a trip to Washington DC, which is pretty much just an excuse to have a bunch of politicians make a cameo.

Ben (Adam Scott) decides that he can’t keep April’s secret anymore, so he wants her to tell Leslie (Amy Poehler) that she’s planning to quit her job during their DC trip. But April is hesitant since Leslie freaks out about every little change, including fonts. Seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to freak out about, in my opinion.

And because Andy is the best husband in the whole world, he wants to find April a new job while she’s away. He enlists Ben and Ron (Nick Offerman) to help him — and Ron, of course, couldn’t be happier about April leaving her government job. He shows Andy and Ben around his building, and we find out Ron has a brother, Don Swanson. More than one brother, actually. Allegedly. (And they all share the Swanson family trait of being paranoid about their privacy.)

While waiting for their flight at the airport, Leslie wants to talk to April about her future. She hands her a big binder that outlines a five-year plan for April. An oblivious Leslie is really excited about the binder, but April is freaking out.

Back at Very Good Building Company, the guys talk about April working for Ron. They agree it probably isn’t a good fit, so they go to Ben’s old accounting firm. The accountants, including Barney Varmn (John Balma), are very excited to see Ben. They’re opening up a consulting firm and it seems like the perfect job for April based on her list of requirements, but it’s too late to apply.

Leslie scurries around DC to talk to various senators about National Parks. Senators Barbara Boxer, Kirsten Gillibrand, John McCain, Cory Booker, and Orrin Hatch make cameos.

She’s later offered the job of Deputy Director of Operations at the Department of the Interior, which means she would have to move to DC, take a rigorous course to pass a difficult exam, and attend a congressional hearing. Of course, Leslie is thrilled.

April, however, is not. While sitting on what Leslie dubs “their bench,” April blurts out that she hates working in government and wants to quit. Upset, Leslie storms off.

The biggest cameo of the episode comes from former Secretary of State and one of Leslie’s idols, Madeleine Albright. The two sit down for Leslie’s favorite breakfast food to talk about April. Albright gives Leslie some sound advice, which Leslie takes to heart. She decides to be supportive of April.

Back in Pawnee, Garry (Jim O’Heir), Craig (Billy Eichner) and Donna (Retta) have created a new resume for April, as well as a binder highlighting all of her accomplishments. For some reason, Andy gets the bright idea to put on an April mask and throw fireworks in Barry’s car to get April the consulting job. That does not go over very well.

Leslie meets with April to apologize. And in return, April gives Leslie, whose back is turned, a very moving speech that includes the words “I love you” — and hugs her. Deciding to help, Leslie takes April to the American Service Foundation to help her find a job. April ends up deciding that she wants to work for the Foundation itself because she gets to tell people what to do and then send them far away.

Andy and April de-brief back at their house in Pawnee.

Meanwhile, Ron and Ben are working on changing Barry’s mind and he finally relents. Only for Ben to get a call from April about how she doesn’t want the job. Awkwardness ensues.

Notes

  • Ron’s brothers are named Don, Von, and Lon. Don was played by Nick Offerman’s real-life brother, Matt. He does woodworking, too.
  • “Did anyone ever tell you that your tenacity can be intimidating?” “Yes. Every month of my life since 4th grade.”
  • Senators Cory Booker and Orrin Hatch love Polynesian folk music. Their band is called Across The Isle.
  • Donna leaves $500 in the binder just in case they want to go the straight-up bribe route.
  • “Everyone is being so nice to me lately. It’s weird. I feel like I need to take a shower in pig’s blood to wash all the niceness off me.”