Parks and Recreation Recap: Aboard the SS Knope

The wide-eyed political optimist who's corrupted during their rise to power is a classic story line. If the romantic Ur-plot is "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back," then the political version is "hero gains power, hero loses self, everything rapidly goes downhill." It's an appealing trajectory because it speaks to our cynicism about politics, as well as our ambivalence about ambition.

Parks and Rec has been flirting with this story all season long. Not embracing it, mind you, but repeatedly considering it, trying it out, rejecting it, and then circling back around for one more go.

Leslie is our optimist, which makes Ben her sexy hummingbird of a Lady Macbeth, constantly pushing her to think more like a political tactician. Sometimes, Ben’s experience and realism are assets to the Knope campaign; last night, they were not. When a reporter asks Leslie for a comment on Nick Newport, father of her spoiled rival Bobby Newport, you can see Ben’s training in her swift, decisive response: She calls him a jerk and backs up the insult with facts. This should be a good move! Except that the reporter actually wanted a comment on the fact that Nick Newport just died. Read More...


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