“I promised myself I was not going to cry tonight, and I have already broken that promise five times,” says Chris to Ben in this wedding episode. I have to say, five times sounds about right. Also, if “Ben and Leslie” doesn’t prove that Amy Poehler deserves her Emmy, I don’t know what the Emmy voters need. Leslie was hilarious (that Tim Gunn impression), lovable (a 70-page first draft on her vows), and amazingly caring (refusing to have her wedding without Ron, who is like a father to her).

But let’s start from the beginning. Last week, Ben and Leslie thought “why wait?” and decided that since everyone important in Pawnee was already assembled for the gala, it was time for them to get married. Right away Leslie says that Ben can’t look at her until the wedding (even though he reminds her that they’ve already seen each other a bunch of times that day).

The plans for the wedding don’t necessarily run smoothly. First, horror of horrors, Ben tells Leslie he wants her to take his last name. No worries, he’s completely joking. Phew! Leslie will always be Leslie Knope, our optimistic superhero who can do anything she puts her mind to.

Things kick into gear fast as all of Leslie’s friends are tasked with various assignments like finding rings, fixing the dress, getting officiated (well, not really), and waking up delightful grandmothers to sign government documents.

First, Ben and Ron go to a sketchy pawnshop (I assume) to find some rings. “There’s some beautiful jewelry in here, but also nails,” says the man behind the counter, who later admits that his old nipple rings are part of the beautiful jewelry.

At City Hall, April and Andy take all the marriage licenses (that way no one else can get married and their marriage will be special, April reasons). Later in the episode, April and Andy get Ethel (the court stenographer who read Ben and Leslie’s testimony where they said they loved each other back in “The Trial of Leslie Knope”) to sign the licenses. It seems fitting, right? They also adopt her as their grandmother.

At the gala, Jerry pees his pants at the thought of seeing a Li’l Sebastian impersonator. He goes to change, but ends up finding Tom, distraught that his minister’s certification won’t arrive for 24 hours. Jerry is actually ordained (for some reason), so Tom has the idea that Jerry can do the wedding, but just read all of Tom’s material. His speech started with a monologue from Hitch, so you know it would have been great.

Ben and Leslie meet at April and Andy’s house, because Ben thought he might have some rings in a box his mom gave him there. No luck. Ben and Leslie wonder if they maybe jumped the gun a bit. Maybe they should call the wedding off for now? Suddenly it starts to snow (this was the first time I cried), it’s like the scene with Ethel! Who should appear, but Li’l Sebastian, lit like an angel across the road. Well, actually it’s an impersonator. But it’s also a sign! Leslie knows they need to go through with the wedding.

Leslie goes to see if Ann has made any progress on the dress. Not yet, but Ann has an idea. “I’ve been watching a lot of Project Runway recently. And the past eight years.”

NEXT PAGE: Say Yes to the Important Documents

At Ann’s, Ron rips off a fixture from the wall to fashion some rings (we learn in the tag that it’s not exactly rocket science, just, you know, super detailed). So, those rings will be done in about 20 minutes.

Jerry is reading Tom’s note cards and not really nailing the jokes. “You ever heard Leslie talk about Ben’s butt? I’m all like ‘damn girl, you mad sweet on that back meat.” Eventually, Jerry has the idea that Tom should read all of his speech and then Jerry will just do the part at the end. So rings, license, and minister are all checked! Let’s have a wedding!

At the gala, Chris gives Ben the letter from the state house telling them they had been assigned to Pawnee. Cry two! Something that was supposed to last only eight weeks has completely changed Ben’s life…and he gets a little emotional too.

Cut to Ann, who is just as good of a friend as Chris. She’s made the rest of Leslie’s dress out of important documents, bills, and memos from Leslie’s career. I was a little nervous when I saw this dress in the promo, but I can definitely say this was cry three. Audiences admire Leslie because of how dedicated she is to her career and her community. The fact that everything she has worked so hard for can be somehow put together to give her the wedding dress she so rightly deserves to wed the man she so definitely is meant for seems perfect.

Everything seems to be coming together, but we’re only halfway done with the episode! Ron is walking Leslie down the aisle. But wait! It’s Councilman Jamm, furious that Leslie has derailed his attempt to get a new Paunch Burger built. He tries to ruin the wedding by throwing stink bombs (curse his Amazon Prime membership). Ron steps in to punch Jamm in the face (please tell me someone has GIF’d this already) and promptly gets arrested.

At the jailhouse, Ron tells Leslie to have the wedding without him. Leslie gets emotional when she tells Ron that since her dad died when she was 10 and Ken Burns never wrote her back, Ron’s like a father to her. She can’t get married without him. It’s safe to say I was basically crying for the rest of this episode. I know that Amy Poehler is a comedy genius and has delivered some brilliantly hilarious moments on this show. However, I have to say that when she had Leslie get a little choked up but then recover, that was just amazing.

Ann comes to bail Ron out. She says maybe Ben and Leslie can just get married later. Leslie agrees. Ann casually invites Leslie back to City Hall for some champagne. Could this be it? Of course not.

Ron and Leslie walk down the hall of Leslie’s favorite place, a place Ron makes it a point to never be past 5:04. Ron looks at her and kindly says, “You are a wonderful person. Your friendship means a lot to me. And you look very beautiful.”

He then grabs her arm and Leslie lets out an honest “oh boy.” Ann has set up everything. There in the Parks and Recreation department are white candles, rose petals, lights, Donna singing an aria, and an ordained minister (Jerry) ready to make Leslie and Ben’s dream come true.

As Leslie and Ben say their vows, a montage of their best moments plays in black and white. It would be cheesy, if you had a heart of stone. Instead, it’s a perfect reminder of the couple we’ve been rooting for ever since they met (even before they knew it).

“…I realized that this whole time I was just wandering around everywhere, just looking for you,” Ben warmly tells Leslie.

“I love you and I like you,” Leslie tells Ben.

It all feels perfect. And like that, they are husband and wife.

“When you’re in love, everything seems like a sign. I love my husband. I love my job and I love my friends. Even though they really can’t handle their booze.”

NEXT PAGE: ‘Correspondents’ Lunch’ and the stuff about Andy


So in the first episode, Andy talked to an officer at the police station and found out he didn’t pass the test to become a cop. At the wedding, he’s upset. Chris grabs him and tells him “You are not going to let this deflate you.” There were a lot of amazing moments in this episode, but this one really was beautiful. Ann saw Chris comforting Andy, and she realized that he might make a good father (well, sperm donor) to her baby.

In the second episode, “Correspondents’ Lunch,” we explore Andy’s other employment options (wow, that sounds way more boring than it is).

First things first, Leslie and Ben come back from their honeymoon bearing gifts. Highlights: They give Tom an autographed picture of Scott Caan (they were in Hawaii after all) and they threw a box into a volcano for April (we never learn why).

Even though she’s fresh off her honeymoon, Leslie is back at work preparing to smoke the Pawnee Sun (a paper that has notoriously written mean things about her) at the correspondents’ lunch with some top-notch Roast jokes.

Ben is back at work too, at his new job handling Sweetums’ charity funds. This job comes with an snazzy office, complete with nude portraits of his boss and her late husband. The one hitch: Ben has to live with the dark secret that Sweetums’ chocolate definitely has rat parts in it. Oh and pick a charity for them to donate to, instantly.

At the correspondents’ lunch, Leslie has a can off “Whoop Ass” that she’s prepared to open on reporter Kim, from the aforementioned terrible Pawnee Sun. Except, Kim is one step ahead of Leslie and tells all of Leslie’s jokes before she can (but no, it is not like the scene in 8 Mile). Leslie, thinking that it was Jerry’s lost copy of the speech Kim found, banishes him to the corner without dessert.

Ann wants to ask Chris to be her sperm donor, but she keeps chickening out. She asks Ron for advice, under the guise of saying she wants Chris to plant a ficus in her front yard (gross), but that backfire. Then she sees Chris flirting with Shauna at the correspondent’s lunch and worries that he might be getting back together with her. Ann tells Ron what she really wants from Chris. He promptly excuses himself.

Back at the Sweetums Foundation, Ben attempts to enlist Andy, April, and Tom to help him find a worthy charity for Sweetums to donate to. April passes, until she realizes that this work might be what Andy needs to get out of his funk. Tom stays for the lavish lunch spread.

At the correspondents’ lunch, Leslie is desperate to think of jokes. Maybe she can do impressions? “Someone tell me what f—ing Neve Campbell sounds like,” she yells. Eventually she goes up on stage, says a few lines, and plays herself off.

Still at the lunch, Ann goes up to Chris to ask him to be her sperm donor. She once again gets nervous and instead asks him his spirit animal. Jaguar. Duh. Perd’s is “a doggy” in case anyone was wondering. Ron walks up and tells Ann she just needs to be blunt. So she asks and it’s awkward. But at the end of the episode, Chris agrees to think about it (but she’s ovulating on Thursday, so he really needs to get on it — not literally, guys!).

Jerry realizes that he didn’t in fact lose his copy of the speech. It was in his shoe the whole time. That can only mean one thing: Kim has been hacking Leslie’s e-mail. She should have known when Kim asked her if she enjoyed Army Wives.

At Sweetums, Andy finds a charity he likes that would start an after-school music program for at-risk youth. “The streets, as you know, are dangerous. For example, I fell into a sewer grate and was there all day,” Andy pitches to Ben. Tom is enjoying the luxuries of Sweetums and grabs a packet with a charity called “The Clean Sheet Foundation.” Ben points out that this charity provides legal assistance to the KKK. Needless to say, that’s not where I thought this joke was going. In the end, Ben picks a program that would buy an ambulance for people who live far away from the hospital. Andy is not happy that his idea failed again. Side-note: no one wants to see bummed-out Andy.

Back at the Parks and Recreation Department, Leslie is furious that someone hacked her e-mail. She and her crew now have to go through all her old e-mails before her press conference about the Pawnee Commons. We learn that Leslie sent an e-mail about Ben’s best butt shots to Ben, Ann, and the Huffington Post (just saying, Leslie, we’d probably take that gallery). No worries — all of Donna’s old boyfriends have tried to hack her e-mail. She knows what to do.

Back at Sweetums, Ben apologizes to Andy for not picking his charity. Andy very astutely goes over the reasons that Ben’s charity makes more sense. He also points out that a lot of the money at Sweetums isn’t being allocated effectively (see: Fondue Fridays). Ben takes Andy’s advice and tells his boss they need to relocate the Sweetums Foundation, even if all the costs there are tax-deductible (um, they’re for sure getting audited).

At the press conference, reporter Kim tells Leslie she heard from a source that midi-chlorians were found in the water. Got her! Donna sent an e-mail to Leslie saying that midi-chlorians were found in the dirt at Pawnee Commons. Too bad midi-chlorians are from Star Wars a.k.a. not real yet. Burnt. Who else squealed a little when Leslie said “my husband” when talking about Star Wars? And please please please someone get me a GIF of Donna saying that they set a trap “into which you have fallen.”

In the tag, Ben offers Andy a part-time job helping him at Sweetums. Maybe now Andy will be out of his funk.

Let me know your favorite quotes/moments/times you cried in the comments. I leave you with this:

“They can’t hack into a typewriter. That’s all I have to say” –Ron Swanson

Episode Recaps

Premieres: Thursday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. on NBC Stars: Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari What to expect: Leslie (Poehler) heads to…

Parks and Recreation

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