Parks and Recreation – “Emergency Response”

Before I get into the meat of this post, welcome to A Year in the Life!  And Happy New Year!  Since today is Wednesday, I’m going to get into my schedule right away.  So, happy Wednesday, welcome to January, and here is my first TV show/movie post.  🙂

It took me quite a while to get into the show Parks and Recreation – the first two seasons weren’t very interesting to me, but I kept watching because a) it was Netflix, and it’s super easy to binge-watch half hour long episodes, and b) H started getting into watching Grey’s Anatomy with me, and he didn’t want me to watch without him while he was away for work.  So, I kept watching, even though I wasn’t completely smitten with the characters.

Everything changed when Adam Scott came on the show.

I’m not sure why I love him as an actor so much.  I think it’s his dry humor, and he especially excels on a show where the characters will sometimes address the camera.  He has a series of facial expressions that define sarcasm at its core.  He’s perfect, and I love his character (Ben Wyatt) with Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope.

Which brings me to the first of my favorite two episodes on the entire show – Season 5, episode 13 – “Emergency Response.”

I don’t want to give an in-depth synopsis of the show, because those take a lot of effort and three or four watches.  But these are the highlights:

Leslie and Ben decide that they don’t want wedding gifts, so they hold a fundraising gala instead, so all of their gift money can go toward the park that Leslie and Ben have been fighting Jeremy Jamm for.[i]  He wants to open another Paunch Burger.  So, in less than a day, Leslie gets her friends to help her organize a fundraising gala.

Enter Jeremy Jamm.

Apparently, every year, each city in Indiana has to respond to a fake emergency situation.  And Councilman Jamm made certain to schedule the emergency response situation on the same day as the gala.

Flash forward.

Everything comes together.  Leslie purposely fails the emergency response scenario, once she figured out that Jamm was trying to sabotage everything.  Tom (Haverford, played by Aziz Ansari, one of my favorite stand-up comedians) gets all of the other fast food restaurants to donate food, since they would be most affected by another fast food restaurant opening in Pawnee.  Everything goes off without a hitch.  And then!  Then the excitement begins.

Ben decides that he and Leslie should get married that night.  Why not, right?  Everyone is already dressed up, and what day could be better than after the successful fundraising gala?

Leslie, being Leslie, decides that they have to avoid looking at each other until the wedding, even though they’ve already seen each other all day.  So they stand back to back.  And Ben initiates the best conversation I’ve ever heard.  Here’s the paraphrase:

Ben:  There’s one thing I need to tell you.  I really want you to take my last name.  It’s a family name, and it’s a deal breaker for me if you don’t take it.

Leslie:  *blank stare*

Ben:  I just, I really don’t think this relationship is going to work out if you keep your name.  This is really important to me.

Leslie:  *long pause*  You’re messing with me, aren’t you?

Ben:  Of course, I am.

Because this is how all great wedding decisions are made.
Because this is how all great wedding decisions are made.

It was perfect for their characters, and the absolute highlight of the series, for me.  I laughed out loud.

Ben and Leslie forever!

-A.


[i] Jeremy Jamm is Leslie’s fellow City Council member.  He’s an orthodontist.  And he’s entitled, self-righteous, and Leslie and Ben’s nemesis on the show.

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