Leslie must choose between her political career and her relationship with Ben
Parks Recreation Knope
Credit: Ron Tom/NBC
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…

The fourth season of NBC’s only low-level-government-employee comedy kicked off Thursday night, which meant fans across Pawnee nation were issuing a Jerry-esque thumbs-up of relief and a series of Yayyyyyy!s. We picked up the action where we left off (Ron’s fire-ravaged eyebrows thinner than his patience for leafy greens), and ended up in a surprisingly touching place. After much hand-wringing and eclair-eating, Leslie decided — or Ben selflessly decided for her — to make a run for public office at the expense of losing her soul mate. (Did you ever think that a “KNOPE 2012” button could push yours like that? Amy Poehler and Adam Scott delivered the emotional goods in that scene.) The looming question: When they divide up their possessions, who gets to keep C-SPAN2?

“I’m Leslie Knope” was a solid start to the new campaign that prioritized the heart over the knee(slappers), as Ron — who literally and hilariously ran away from another ex-wife problem — gave Leslie the poignant nine-toed pep talk she needed to hear. In other news: Ann fended off a bunch of lewd dudes texting pictures of their junk after she diagnosed one perv with mumps. (Did Parks just get topical all over our asses?) April assumed the reins of Andy’s life as his manager. (In her first counseling session, she wasn’t even trying to steer the horse, but later parked him in a nearby stable as Leslie’s new assistant.) Instead of focusing on the critical operations of his new business, whatever those might be, Tom spent time chilling at his former office, tossing out a wide assortment of 720 Entertainment tchotchkes to the Parks gang and attempting to recruit Andy. (Speaking of props, he deserves a whole mess of them for those leopard-print slippers. Tip of the pimp cap.) Chris Traeger was having an interesting hair day. And back to Ron, who may be facing many bad days in the future as the life-ruiner and breast-lifter called Tammy 1 (guest star Patricia Clarkson) dropped the scariest package of the episode on his desk: an audit.

But I think we can all agree that the night’s biggest plot development occurred toward the end of the episode, when we discovered that Jerry’s penis is the stuff of medical marvel. I’m so pleased that the Gerg was allowed this tiny huge victory. Say what you will about him, but the sad sack doesn’t have a sad sack.

With that out of the way, why don’t we build a fire, roast the fish we shot, and celebrate the 10 funniest lines from “I’m Leslie Knope”?

NEXT: “I don’t know what you mean, but it had the cadence of a joke.”

• “Oh, Ann, you beautiful, naïve, sophisticated newborn baby.” —Leslie to Ann, after she suggested that Leslie continue to sneak around with Ben while she ran for office instead of breaking up with him

• “Joe, I’ve determined that the lewd picture was sent by you because you sent it from your personal email address, stinkmaster69@alumni.

sarahlawrencecollege.edu… really? Sarah Lawrence?” —Ben to Joe, the sleazeball from sewage

• “Black print, black background. It’s the coolest possible color scheme…. It’s also a strong magnet, so don’t put it in your wallet. It will erase your credit cards gua-ran-teed.”—Tom to Andy, after handing him an unreadable business card

• “As acting manager of the Parks department, I declare that everything YOU are saying is stupid! I love you.” —April, hanging up on a caller

• “Well, I started crying because he gave me an eclair. And then we made out and spent the night together. But this morning, in the cold light of day, I… cooked breakfast and we made out some more.” —Leslie to Ann, confessing that she didn’t break up with Ben as planned

• “I don’t know what you mean, but it had the cadence of a joke.”—TV newsman Perd Hapley, after Leslie made a coy “if you know what I mean” reference to the size of Joe’s package. (Also behold his absurd wrap-up: “There you have it, where it is the thing Leslie Knope just said, about the situation.”)

• “Oh my god — your inbox is literally filled with penises.”—Chris to Ann (His runner-up: “The testicles are like the ears of the genital system. They serve an important function but they’re not that great to look at.”)

• If you’re going to stay here, there are three rules you need to follow. One, no talk about Tammy 1. Two, no talk about Ben. Three, no talk.”—Ron to Leslie

• “Fishing it is.” —Ron, to Leslie, after he offered her a choice of hunting, fishing, or drinking, and she said that she’d really love to shoot a gun

• “That man has the largest penis I have ever seen. Actually don’t even know if he has mumps. Forgot to look. I was distracted…. by the largest penis I have ever seen.” —Pawnee doctor, about Jerry

I’m about to ask you a question right now, and that question is this: Which of these jokes from the season premiere made you laugh the hardest? Or was there another line that floored you?


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…
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