They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you can apparently build a beautiful, Top 5 on TV-worthy wedding in 30 minutes. I mean, according to Thursday’s gloriously romantic, yet hilarious Parks and Recreation, which saw the ever-lovely Leslie Knope hometown elope with her soul mate, Mr. Ben Wyatt.
I will be honest. As a Parks and Rec fanatic, I was pretty damn hyped up for this episode. Like more hyped up than Ron Swanson — or anyone from the Parks Dept. for that matter — under the influence of Snakejuice. I almost had a Leslie Under Pressure moment before turning on my TV Thursday night, frantic and full of worry that things might not go as planned. But, of course, as soon as Knope and the gang (suck it, Kool & the Gang) rode onto the screen, I went full on Swanson at an all-you-can-eat steakhouse, gorging on the epic goodness being served up in front of me without a second thought.
There’s a part of me that wishes the wedding was extended to an hour, instead of being packed into one rushed, regular-sized Parks instalment, with another standard (but still awesome) new episode tacked on the end. But, I suppose it reflected the wedding itself, as Leslie, Ben and Co. were forced to race against the clock to create the perfect ceremony in two hours. Just as Ann was pressed for time to come up with a way to finish Leslie’s wedding dress, we were pressed for time in our attempts to compose ourselves completely before the inevitable big moment, which we knew would smother our hearts with Parks and Rec’s naturally sweet brand of sentimental syrup.
The thing I always tell people when I’m trying to sell them on Parks and Rec is that, underneath all the straight-faced comedy, it’s truly one of the most heartfelt shows on TV. This show features so many moments that could, easily, be cheesier than a cheap calzone. But they never are, and it’s because the writing and acting is so honest across the board. Sometimes I almost feel like Leslie is a real person and each week I’m just checking in with her and her crazy-by-choice life. This week, I just happened to come into town on the day of her spontaneous wedding to the love of every girl with two working eyes and a sensible heart’s life, Benjamin Wyatt.
There were so many memorable, scrapbook-able moments during “Ben and Leslie” that I don’t even think I could begin to start listing them. I mean, I could. But then I would be writing a review as long as Leslie’s original vows (70 pages, to be exact). I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the handful of perfectly carved Swanson/Knope scenes, though, which Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler played with such genuine tenderness.
The slightly begrudged BFFs have always had a special connection, but nothing says true friend love like Ron getting sent to jail for punching out Councilman Jamm, who crashed the wedding with his imported stink bombs. And that bit where Ron took Leslie aside and told her, frankly as ever, “You are a wonderful person, you mean a lot to me and you look very beautiful”? Probably the best scene — other than, perhaps, the Li’l Sebastian lookalike appearing in the snow — of the episode. Ronald Swanson and Nicholas Offerman, you are gentlemen, wonderful woodworkers and true sweethearts (when you want to be). I can’t wait to see and hear what Leslie and Amy have up their sleeves for you and your next on-screen marriage. Cause we know you just can’t let Diane go.
While there was plenty of Ron/Leslie interaction, we actually didn’t get too much Ben/Leslie time until the finale, as Leslie insisted that, as per tradition, the bride and groom stay separated until it was time to say “I do.” But when they did finally come together, it was Kleenex City, thanks mainly to the couple’s simple, but beautiful vows.
“I was sent to every corner of Indiana and then I was sent here,” Ben told his future wife. “I was wandering around everywhere looking for you.” (Infinite points, Mr. Teen Mayor. Please go treat yo’ self to something nice … like maybe that nude portrait the Sweetums Foundation girl proposed?)
“Ben and Leslie” was, in short, a perfect marriage. Not just in terms of the actual ceremony, which surprisingly went off without a Hitch reference from Tom, either. It was a perfect pairing of all the people and things that make me want to put a specially crafted ring on Parks and Rec every single week — Ben and Leslie, Tom and Jerry, Ann and Chris, Andy and April, JJ’s and Waffles, Champion and his missing leg, Ron and dancing, joy and happiness, laughs and a half. To quote Leslie’s to-the-point, perfect vows, I love you and like you, Parks and Rec. And I can’t wait to continue our happy life together.
- Falcon and Turtle Dove are quality code names. Not as quality as Slut and the Falcon, but still quality.
- “Is this a ruby that’s gone bad?”
- “Give me back that megaphone. That belongs to my aunt!” — Councilman Jamm
- Leslie called her wedding dress “the Ann Perkins of dresses,” but I’d call it the “Carrie Bradshaw of early ’00s cocktail dresses.”
- Leslie and Ben brought Tom an autographed photo of Scott Caan from their Hawaii honeymoon. Second Caan-ed joke of the TV week! (See also: New Girl.)
- “I have a joke for you! The government in this town is excellent and uses your tax dollars efficiently.” — Ron, giggling
- The Clean Sheet is a foundation responsible for legally assisting KKK members.
- ATTN PAWNEE SUN WRITERS: PLEASE FORWARD ME “TOP 10 BEN’S BUTT SLIDESHOW” IMMEDIATELY.
- “What a great party! Of five!” — Leslie doing her best Neve Campbell.
- Ron made the rings with a cast-iron waffle maker!
Parks and Recreation airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m ET on City/NBC.