Keep Your Eye On … NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation’
By Rachel Bennett
Television Editor & Columnist
As many of you know, I often write about NBC’s Parks and Recreation, partly because it’s one of the best series on TV, and partly because it’s consistently overlooked by viewers.
Although the comedy most likely would’ve appeared in this feature sooner or later, this week marks a significant milestone for the show: Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben’s (Adam Scott) wedding.
If you’ve followed their relationship since season two/three, then you’ve probably anticipated this long-awaited day as much as I have. TV weddings can be tricky to pull off, as they’re joyous events that also mark the end of epic “Will They?/Won’t They?” romances, but such momentous occasions are guaranteed to produce the best of what a series has to offer.
Considering Parks and Recreation is already such a fantastic comedy, the one-hour wedding episode is sure to delight new and seasoned viewers alike. But if you still need reasons to tune in (seriously, what’s wrong with you?), here’s why you should keep any eye on Parks and Recreation this week:
• The wedding caps off a series of wonderful Ben-Leslie moments: If you’re a diehard Parks and Recreation fan, then you know just how many countless romantic moments Leslie and Ben have shared since they met in season two. Where do I even begin? Aside from their longing glances, we’ve seen their first kiss, their breakup, their reunion in a tiny park, their engagement and much more. Just when I think the last moment can’t be topped, the comedy somehow does it. The wedding should be the cherry on top of an already delicious cake (or waffle, if Leslie had any say), and it will certainly leave several viewers misty. Hopefully, this won’t be the last enchanting moment between the two, but knowing Parks and Recreation, it won’t be.
• Ben and Leslie are one of the best couples on TV: There are numerous fantastic couples on TV nowadays, but Ben and Leslie rank as my favorite. Although a lot of this is due to Parks and Recreation‘s great writing, much credit needs to be given to Scott and Poehler. Their nerdy chemistry has allowed Ben and Leslie to convincingly evolve from enemies to friends to best friends and lovers, and almost every scene they share leaves me smiling. Ben and Leslie are also perfect because even though they’re a couple, they’re each fully formed characters. Sure, Ben was pretty much a love interest for Leslie from the start, but the series made sure to develop him enough before pairing them that he doesn’t feel like an outsider. As a result, even though the wedding will officially end their “Will They?/Won’t They?” romance, they’re interesting enough characters that they shouldn’t become boring — just like another beloved Pawnee pairing …
• Parks and Recreation knows how to throw a wedding: Luckily, Parks and Recreation has already proven it excels at weddings. Season three’s “Fancy Party” saw the surprise union of Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) and April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), and the episode is one of the series’ best. From the use of Simon & Garfunkel’s “April Come She Will” to April and Andy giving each other high-fives at the altar, the ceremony was shocking yet touching and fitting. Ben and Leslie’s nuptials are similarly surprising, so let’s cross our fingers that it will be just as lovely and personal. And if there’s any worry that Ben and Leslie will become boring once they say, “I do,” all one has to do is look at Andy and April and see that they’ll probably be OK. Two seasons later, and I’m happy to say that Andy and April are still going strong and are as funny as ever.
• The wedding was originally intended to be the series finale: Fun fact: According to HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall, even though NBC publicly announced in May that Parks and Recreation received a 22-episode fifth season, the comedy was actually given 13 episodes. The network only later gave the show an additional nine episodes, but before the episode order, the wedding was meant to be the series finale. Consequently, several of this season’s storylines will most likely wrap up in Thursday’s episode, which explains why the series has lately felt like it was preparing for the end. Despite the circumstances, the episode is sure to be a fantastic one. If you’re new to the series, you may not understand everything that’s going on, but the episode will be a fine Parks and Recreation showcase and lead to a fresh start for the program. Plus, the more people watch, the more it will ensure that the show will receive a sixth season, which already looks promising based on its recent ratings.
• Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) walking Leslie down the aisle? All of Pawnee attending the wedding? Ben almost edging out Vice President Joe Biden as Leslie’s dream man? Just try not to cry during this preview. Also, is Jerry (Jim O’Heir) one of the groomsmen?!
When to Watch
• The one-hour wedding episode begins at 8:30 EST/PST this Thursday, Feb. 21. It will air after Community, which you should also watch.
Are you excited for this week’s Parks and Recreation? Let me know in the comments!