Parks and Recreation Recap: Canvassing
The episode opens similar to the last one, with Leslie (Amy Poehler) in a sunny park with children, being a moron. Maybe cold opens in the park will be a weekly feature. Either way, she’s dressed as a bunny (slightly creepy) and participating in an Easter egg hunt with the children of Pawnee. She remarks that it seems very difficult to find the eggs, at which point Tom (Aziz Ansari) confesses to the camera in an interview that he forgot to hide the eggs, while a montage runs of children becoming increasingly upset, crying, throwing down their baskets, etc. All in all, not a bad Easter for Pawnee.
After the opening, Leslie goes to visit her mother, a higher-up in the local government, whom she has a slightly unhealthy amount of respect for (she compares her to Mother Teresa), and sets up a dubiously addressed subplot of vying for her mother’s approval and affection, but to no avail (probably due in no small part to her wide-eyed incompetence). She tries to brag about her subcommittee, and is met with apathy on the subject from her mother, before heading off to a small meeting with Mark and Ann (Rashida Jones).
They have a woefully tiny meeting at a table in the courtyard of the Parks Department, but Knope still finds it necessary to bring, and use, a gavel. At their meeting, they decide to canvas the neighborhood surrounding the pit and get people to come out to a town hall meeting concerning the park. We cut to the pit, where Knope has met with Ann, Mark, Tom, and April, and after they go through Leslie’s thorough/moronic canvassing guide (which has special instructions if any of them meet Jack Nicholson while canvassing), they begin working through the neighborhood. Here they deal with bored, apathetic citizens, a slightly overenthusiastic child molester (from whom Mark physically shields April), a confused old man, and an angry, anti-park mother. As Leslie hears that this woman doesn’t enjoy parks, her faced is wiped of its normal, childlike smile, and she proceeds to call into question that woman’s love of her child, and imply that she does crystal meth. After being insulted enough times, the woman is spurred into action, vowing to come to the town hall meeting to protest the new park.
While this is going on, Tom has returned to his office to don a headset phone and aggressively call contractors while pacing around the room, Boiler Room style, in an attempt to find the best sandboxes available (and occasionally calling the contractors bitches). Meanwhile Knope and her team continue canvassing, but after being discouraged, they think that Ann’s boyfriend, crippled after falling in the pit, would provide their cause with a boost of credibility. They return to Ann’s home to find that Mark and April have had a similar idea, but instead of working, they came to Ann’s home to play Rock Band with Andy (with his band “Just the Tip”). This effectively signals the end of canvassing for the day, and they prepare for the town hall meeting as best they can.
After Tom excitedly greets his contractors with hugs, pretzels, and songs, we cut to backstage, as Leslie starts to panic before the meeting, which is only exacerbated when she learns that her mother is in attendance. She begins the meeting with little fanfare. After being yelled at by the woman she had earlier insulted, Mark takes over for her, answering questions, until one of Ann’s neighbors hijacks to conversation to yell at Andy about the noise he makes playing Rock Band, saying that it disturbs his expensive birds, which Andy makes fun of, before asking if anyone in the audience wants to join his band, since they are currently in need of a bassist, apparently.
After a brief recess, Knope begins to filibuster to put off a vote, wherein she starts reciting a host of historical facts about Pawnee, before moving onto the future of Pawnee, involving space taxis, and people forgoing words to blink their feelings at one another. Then she reads The Phantom Tollbooth to the audience until the scorned woman yells at her again, at which point she calls on April, who has been planted in the audience, to talk up that park, but when she is recognized by an angry citizen, there is a montage of townsfolk yelling at Knope until she suddenly ends the meeting, sans vote. The episode ends with the expensive bird-owner telling Leslie that she sucks, which she takes in stride, as she is now one step closer to her poorly thought out park.
Recap by Evan Stewart