EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Parks and Rec' recap: Leslie Knope vs. the Men's Rights Movement

Season 7 | Episodes 8 and 9 | “Mrs. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington” and “Pie-Mary” | Aired Feb 10, 2015

The lingering question from the beginning of this farewell season of Parks and Rec has been all about April and what she’ll do with her life after the Parks Department. This week, that question was finally answered, complete with a trip to Washington, D.C., and more political cameos that I ever thought was possible, even for a Parks and Recreation episode. There hasn’t really been a bad episode this season, but “Mrs. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington,” while good and enjoyable and fun, didn’t quite live up to the hype built around the reveal of April’s future plans.

In the episode, April and Leslie travel to DC on Parks business and she plans to use the trip as a chance to tell Leslie she’s quitting. Leslie tries to use the trip as a chance to unveil not just one but two different five-year plans for April to follow in her footsteps (the second is necessary after, in a rather quick aside, Leslie is offered and accepts a new job in D.C., solving the problem of what she’ll do when Ben is inevitably elected to the House of Representatives).

April finally cracks and tells Leslie how she’s been feeling, and after a very short-lived freak out, Leslie comes around and helps her find one she’ll love. That job is (drum roll, please …) working in DC.. for an organization that helps other young people find a job they’ll love. It’s a little anticlimactic. I would have loved to see April end somewhere more … exciting? Unique? Weird? Don’t get me wrong: It’s a perfectly fine job and it doesn’t feel wrong for the character, it just also doesn’t feel 100 percent right. And 100 percent right is a standard Parks set early on this season with episodes like “Leslie and Ron.”

But I digress. Of course the solution to April’s season-long dilemma was involving Leslie in the search. Leslie Knope knows how to plan a future. Meanwhile, back in Pawnee, Andy, Ben, and Ron are on the case, searching for a new job for April. It’s sweet enough, but the whole B-plot feels like an unnecessarily long setup for a joke about Ben’s forever-jilted accounting firm to be rejected once again.

One nice thing about NBC’s decision to burn through the final 13 episodes in hour-long blocks is that there was no time to harp on the slight disappointment of “Mrs. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington.” Before there was time to wish for more, more was happening in the form of “Pie-Mary,” which stole the spotlight this week.

“Pie-Mary” sees Leslie and Ben digging in their heels for Ben’s campaign. Jennifer Barkley reappears (and I cannot stress enough how much Kathryn Hahn deserves an Emmy for her contributions this season) to help them plan out their schedules. One of the events on the agenda is the “Pie-Mary,” a pie-baking contest between the candidates’ wives. Leslie is obviously not into it, what with having a busy and important job of her own, plus toddler triplets and much more important political events at which to support Ben on her plate. When she opts out of the event, the media focuses on her as the Bad Wife and Mother, pulling focus from Ben’s actual campaign. To stop the circus, she decides to participate in the event, only to anger a women’s rights group. Ben suggests a great solution: He’ll enter the contest himself (baking a dessert calzone instead of a traditional pie, of course) and be his own wife. That way, the attention is back on him, and the women’s group can’t deride Leslie for caving to pressure to perpetuate gender stereotypes. It’s an airtight plan—until a men’s rights group protests at the event, calling for Ben to be freed from Leslie’s “oppression.”

After seven seasons as one of TV’s foremost feminist icons, Leslie Knope gets her chance to take down some of the most ridiculous and insidious sexism of the moment head on. Parks and Rec likes to get political, and Pawnee has served as a perfect, absurd, ridiculous, amazing backdrop for the show’s particular brand of satire. The men’s rights movement was a perfect target for Parks‘ satirical hilarity and, if the final episodes are as character-driven as I suspect they’ll be, this might be its last hurrah in that arena. I would be okay with this episode serving as that particular swan song.

What really made “Pie-Mary” hit in a way that “Mrs. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington” didn’t, though, were the subplots. April and Ron embark on one last scavenger hunt (albeit an ultimately pointless one), and share a sweet moment that finally acknowledges what’s been obvious for so long: They’re best friends. When April leaves Pawnee, Ron will be as close as he ever will to understanding what Ann’s departure meant to Leslie.

But even sweeter than April and Ron’s adventure, I think, was Garry and Donna’s. Garry and Donna

Ron and April go on a Pawnee-wide scavenger hunt and have an emotional (by April and Ron standards) moment by a tree they both love. Garry and Donna have a quiet, simple day of appreciating each other. Donna sees Garry looking for his wedding ring and keys, and asks if she can sit and watch him be quintessentially Garry. He obliges and frets over the terrible fight he and his wife will have over his loss later (she might even call him the B word: “bozo”). Donna laughs at how perfect Garry’s life is (his family life is so wonderful that he sees the “punishment” of having to get the oranges for the fresh-squeezed OJ in the morning as an epic marital fight). Donna already gave Garry the gift of his name, and watching their genuine friendship and affection in small, insignificant moments was just heart-melting.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like