Pawnee and Eagleton: Together Again on ‘Parks and Rec’

PANDR

Leslie Knope would sooner give up waffles at JJ’s before making peace with Eagleton, Pawnee’s wealthy, Michael Buble-listening archrival, but in “The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic,” that’s exactly what happened. Let’s go by character to see how we got there.

Leslie, Ben, and Chris

Leslie is one of the most lovable characters on television. She’s kind and tactical and loving; when it comes to her nemeses in Eagleton, though, she tends to throw all of that out the window. The episode opened with a press conference led by Leslie and Ingrid de Forest (Kristen Bell), her Eagleton counterpart. Deep in the trenches of the recall election, Leslie tries to win over her fellow Pawneeans in the only way she can: by cracking jokes at Eagleton’s expense.

Meanwhile, the dream team is back. Ben and Chris’ superiors over in Indianapolis enlisted the pair to help solve a budget crisis in Eagleton. AUDITING BROS! Leslie, who can’t pass up an opportunity to see Eagleton’s demise, tags along. The town is going bankrupt and Leslie likely hasn’t felt this much joy since meeting Joe Biden. She makes a great, predictable Good Will Hunting joke, and Ben seems to already be regretting his decision to let her join.

It’s no wonder Eagleton is in financial trouble. We’ve learned in past seasons that that town’s residents are great at portraying affluence. Now it seems they’ve been living beyond their means, filling all of their public pools with bottled water, holding a bankruptcy brunch headlined by Michael Buble, and purchasing HBO subscriptions for the whole town. “It’s not TV.” Ingrid and her cohorts don’t seem to fully grasp what’s happening and even try to tip Ben (in Euros) for helping them find their feet.

Leslie says she has a plan and makes her presentation in front of Ben, Chris, Ingrid, and the rest of the Eagleton crew. This turns out to be several slides of “We’re finally better than you” jabs, prompting Ingrid to walk out. It’s sort of impossible to dislike Leslie, but her hatred for Eagleton really brings out the worst in her. It’s her one weakness, the one thing that causes her to forget just how logical and intelligent she really is.

Later, Leslie talks with Ben only to find out that he arranged a meeting with Ingrid and the Eagletonians behind her back. She’s not happy. She feels she spoke for Ben and Chris during her presentation, another example of her Pawnee bias clouding her judgment.

While watching the Pawnee-Eagleton basketball game (highlighted by a wonderful Chris Bosh cameo – or was that a dinosaur?), Leslie sees two Pawnee players help a rival one off the court after an injury. She realizes how to help Eagleton. It’s a quick, kind of strange change that requires little thought from her, but it’s a typical Leslie “A-ha” moment. She gets herself into a predicament, refuses change, realizes what’s right, and does it.

In this case, she proposes a Pawnee-Eagleton merger to ease Eagleton’s financial woes. The two towns have been separated for 200 years, so naturally, residents are not pleased. But Leslie goes through with it anyway, even if it means losing the recall election.

Ron, Donna, and Tom

Ron discovers that he’s been placed on a mailing list after only a month or so of living with Diane. He enlists Tom and Donna to help get him “off the grid,” but the two think he isn’t on it enough to begin with. A promise to let them leave the office early, though, changes their minds. While Ron requests that his mailman bury all of his mail, Donna and Tom destroy his phone and cut up all of the plastic in his wallet, including his Pawnee ID that grants access to the park garage – “I’ll be taking the bus and paying in cash.”

He even heads to JJ’s, where a picture of him (MAN: MOST EGGS) sits on the wall. He wants it and every other restaurant photo of him removed, and there are many. Ron rules at eating. Everyone else drools.

It turns out, though, Tom has been documenting every step of their journey, shuttling us into the episode’s funniest segment. Ron snatches Tom’s iPad and, ever the technology newb, shouts “ERASE ALL PICTURES OF RON,” thinking it will do what he asks. Instead, his plea plays back on a loop. He Vined himself. Donna starts Vining Ron accidentally Vining himself, then Tom Vines Donna Vining Ron, and now we’re in a Vine black hole and oh my god, technology is weird. “The world is a nightmare,” Ron sighs. I identify with that on a spiritual level.

Ron decides he’s going to live on the road with Diane and the girls, so he attempts to buy an RV in gold. Diane finds him at the dealer after hours of trying to call him – she has a flat tire – and explains to him that not everything can be solved by living in a mountain. He can be off the grid to an extent, she says, but not to the point where he is completely unaccessible. He has a family and a baby on the way, after all. He gets an old cell phone, belt clip included, which horrifies Donna and Tom but satisfies Diane.

April and Ann

Last season, with Ann’s help, April applied and got into a Bloomington veterinary school. Orientation is coming up, so the two take a road trip. April is not feeling Ann’s Tori Amos-filled, on-the-road mix CD. Ann leaves April with a Bloomington student and heads to a baby store, very far-removed from the Pawnee shop connected to a chemical factory. Here, we see the wheels in her head start turning.

Just as Ann starts chatting up an employee, she spots April wandering outside of the store. They go back to the orientation, but not without a typical April “fight.” She refers to Ann as her 65-year-old “Meemaw” and clearly does not want to be there, something she says for sure here and when they get back in the car. She was on the fence before, but, for some reason, the trip gave her a bad “gut feeling.”

Ann gets a gut feeling of her once they return to Pawnee. It may not be the best place for her and Chris to raise a child, she says, setting the wheels in motion for a possible move and their eventual departure from the show.

About Sam Sciarrotta

Hi there! I'm Sam. I like baseball, Bruce Springsteen, tomato pie, and most other things. I'm looking at you, but I'm thinking about Breaking Bad. 2012 college graduate and budding journalist.

Posted on October 4, 2013, in Comedy, NBC, Network Television, Sitcoms and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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