'Parks and Recreation' recap, 'Women in Garbage'

  • Aubrey Plaza (left) as April Ludgate and Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope.
Aubrey Plaza (left) as April Ludgate and Amy Poehler as Leslie… (NBC )
January 25, 2013|By Amy Watts

Leslie is appalled by the lack of gender diversity in Pawnee government. She brings it up with Chris and he agrees to go along with her Equal Gender Employment Commission idea. He puts out a memo asking each department to send a representative and is genuinely dismayed when all the people sent to the meeting are men. I loved the look of wonder and contrition as he realized, "I'm part of the problem."

Particularly problematic in terms of women hires is the Sanitation Department. Leslie points this out and the department representatives spout the "Well, it's a physically demanding job, and if a woman could do it..." line of reasoning. Leslie picks up the gauntlet and volunteers herself and April to do a shift on a regular collection route.

Turns out, Leslie and April are better at it than the regular guys, thanks to Leslie's Binder of Great Efficiency (my name for it, not hers.) April is delighted to get to poke through other people's trash, especially the girl she hated most in high school, who apparently colors her hair and requires prescription-strength deodorant.

Not content to let Leslie win, the Sanitation guys send her on a new challenge, to pick up and remove a large item, without letting it slow down the rest of their collection schedule. When Gung-Ho Leslie sees the object, an industrial three-compartment refrigerator, she's doubtful but determined. Her and April's continued efforts to move the fridge onto the removal truck are all unsuccessful, including the time Leslie tries to "get a running start on it."

Nightfall comes and someone affiliated with the restaurant from which the fridge is being removed tells Leslie that the Sanitation guys had been there a few days previously and been unable to move it themselves. When Leslie wants to just give up, April encourages her not to let the Sanitation guys beat them.

Overnight, Leslie has apparently come up with a plan after finding out that the fridge is still in working condition and had just been replaced with a newer model. She's called the local soup kitchen, who have sent out several strapping lasses (and some wheeled furniture movers) who are happy to take away the free fridge for use at their facility. Leslie wins!

Meanwhile, Ron is taking care of Diane's two daughters because of a sitter emergency on her part.  It is utterly delightful to see Ron Swanson completely baffled and dominated by two little girls, to the point that his hair is mussed, he has stickers on his face, and they've painted his shoes red.

On the second day of unplanned babysitting, Ron enlists Ann to help him out, even though her efforts to connect with the girls the day before had been awkward and unsuccessful. This time, though, she gets her nurse's kit and has the girls playing "doctor" with their stuffed animals - bandaging wounds and such. 

However, at one point, the girls are left alone in the room with Ann's nursing kit and have locked the door so that they are completely unstoppable as Ron, Ann, and Jerry (fumbling with a giant keyring to find the right key) can only watch through the glass in the door. The girls have decided that their hair is "infected" and must be cut off to save the patient. While the adults look on, the girls proceed to give each other terrible haircuts. (Didn't we all do this at some point to either ourselves or our sibling(s)?)

Diane is remarkably blase about the whole thing, pretty much satisfied that no one's dead or actually injured. My kind of mom. It's just HAIR. It WILL grow back.

In the process of chastising the girls before Diane's return, Ron let slip that he's in love with Diane, prompting a chorus of "Ron loves Mommy".  After Diane takes the news of the girls' "hair surgery" so well, she tells Ron she loves him. He bashfully replies "I love you too."  Ron Swanson in love (and not with a Tammy) is a sweet thing.

And in a fairly ridiculous third plot, Tom claims to not know anything about basketball, so he asks Ben and Andy to educate him. They try, and even scrimmage with him at a local court, until they get their butts handed to them by three young boys.  But in the end, Tom figures out he can still court the basketball-loving youth of Pawnee by sponsoring reports on their basketball victories.

Lastly, Chris has a running gag throughout the show about how Shauna is not defining their relationship clearly enough for his satisfaction. They go on group dates, she doesn't "label" him as boyfriend, etc. By the end of the episode, it's still not resolved and has only highlighted the generation gap between older Chris and younger Shauna.

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