Parks and Recreation: Pawned off on Pawnee

I can’t even count the number of ways last night’s episode of Parks and Recreation was hilarious and brilliant. I mean, parodying the Obama/Trump birther thing in a small town setting? Brilliant! Questioning Leslie Knope’s status as a true Pawneean (Pawneeite?) when we know how much she loves that town? Hilarious!

In “Born & Raised”, Leslie’s birthplace was called into question by the one and only Joan Callamezzo after she published a book about Pawnee. She loves the place so much that she literally wrote the book on it, guys. At first we were left wondering just where Leslie had been born, as she sought out her long form birth certificate to appease the voters. Finally, it was revealed – Leslie was born in Eagleton, the official Worst Place On Earth. Apparently the Pawnee hospital was overrun with raccoons at the time of her birth, so Leslie’s mom had to go to the next closest hospital.

Meanwhile, Leslie had hired Tom into scoring her book one of Joan Callamezzo’s massive book club stickers, and that meant coming uncomfortably close to ending up in bed with her – Tom used to have the safety of Joan’s husband. Since she was a married lady, it never went beyond intense, cringe-inducing flirting. But she’s divorcing and the cougar is on the prowl for that “adorable hunk of caramel” Tom, and apparently his super-nerdy friend Ben as well. The scenes with these three were all pretty funny.

The B-plot also had me laughing – before she discovered that the factual error Joan had mentioned was actually her own birthplace, Leslie had all of the parks department fact-checking her book – and Ann took this as an opportunity to make small talk with the two least social people in Pawnee, Ron and April. It was, of course, like pulling teeth…until she pulled out a few gruesome hospital stories and grabbed their attention. It was a simple storyline, but a funny one.

In the end, Leslie decided to come clean with the voters and admit that she had been physically brought into the world in *shudder* Eagleton. “You can’t choose where you were born, but you can choose where you live,” she told them.

This episode was packed with laughs, so here’s a (lengthy) smattering of what made me giggle:

  • “Support for Pawnee Community radio comes from the Wendell G. and Muriel Fathright Korbelman Foundation and Sweetum Cares, a nonprofit group that puts umbrella hats on homeless people when it rains.” – radio announcer
  • “Usually I only read nautical novels and my own personal manifestos, but I’m proud to make this exception.” – Ron
  • Chris is a speed reader. Of course.
  • Chris’s delight at the “Gotcha!” dancers.
  • Leslie wrote seven pages in April’s personalized book, but only put “Get well soon,” in Jerry’s. “You’re not sick?” she asked. No. He’s not.
  • “At the risk bragging one of the things I’m best at is riding coattails. Behind every successful man is me smiling and taking partial credit.” – Tom
  • “You know, nerd culture is mainstream now. So when you use the word “nerd” derogatorily, that means you’re the one that’s out of the zeitgeist.” – Ben
  • Tom professing “Say what you want about Joan, but she knows how to decorate a bedroom” when he and Ben enter her disgustingly over-the-top boudoir that would make Sue Ann Nivens think she’d died and gone to heaven.
  • Andy going into FBI agent Bert Macklin mode, first ushering Leslie out of a rowdy book reading and later hurtling over a desk to retrieve her birth certificate. 
  • “Bert Macklin is back. You thought he was dead? So did the President… ’s enemies.” – Andy
  • If Ron were stuck on a desert island, he’d take silence with him.
  • April’s favorite Sex and the City character is Alf.
  • Ron asking “What kind of blade did he use?” when Ann told them the story about a guy who tried to cut his hand out of a Pringles can.
  • Ron: “Ann was getting a little chummy. When people get chummy with me I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don’t really care about them.”
    April: “That’s a genius move.”
    Ron: “Thank you.”
    April: “You’re welcome, Lester.”
  • “I’m worse than a liar. I’m an [gags] Eagleton-ian.” – Leslie
  • No one remembered to tell poor Jerry he could stop traveling around Indiana fact-checking, so when he rushed back to the office full of adrenaline Leslie just let him keep at it.


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