Leslie and Ben make out big in The Smallest Park in Indiana
Parks and Recreation
Credit: Danny Feld
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…

NBC just gave me the best early Christmas present of all. I’m still bitter about them shelving Community for the time being. But the last few minutes of “Smallest Park” slowly melted away my anger. You see, I haven’t been taking the Leslie/Ben breakup very well. I had a visceral reaction two weeks ago when it looked like Shauna Malwae-Tweep was moving in on my Leslie’s man. And my heart litt-ruh-ly aches for them to be together. (Draw your own conclusions about how sad it is that I feel this strongly about fictional characters.) So when Leslie decided to lay it all on the line, stop being a steamroller, and tell Ben she wanted to be with him, I was practically cheering at my TV screen. And I know I couldn’t wipe the goofy smile off my face as Pawnee’s very own dream team made out in the smallest park in Indiana.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s recap exactly how Ben and Leslie got to their makeout sesh in the aforementioned tiny park. The former couple was working together on their latest project: The Smallest Park in Indiana! The town’s newest tourist attraction, which lived up to its name at only 0.000003 square miles, was a slam dunk for the Parks and Rec department. In fact, there was such little resistance to the project, the tiny park was planned to open without a hitch. Things were going quite smoothly until Leslie realized that Ben wanted to make the Smallest Park project his last project with her. In an effort to drastically decrease the time he was spending with Ms. Knope, he asked Chris to take over all of his Parks and Rec duties. To say that Leslie took this news poorly would be an understatement.

Leslie did everything in her power to delay the opening of the smallest park until Nov. 12, 2070. She tried to get the normal group of Pawnee naysayers to oppose the project during a town forum. But the locals failed her in her time of seven-hour-forum need. Ben came to the rescue and, at least temporarily, subdued Leslie’s crazy. In doing so, he essentially ended the dream team. And you’re right, Chris. That was very hard to hear. “So many negative words!”

NEXT: Leslie accepts that she’s a total steamroller

As usual, Leslie continued to live in a state of denial. Ben had called her a steamroller, and she refused to accept any responsibility for all the problems in her life. Beautiful Ann carefully pointed out that Leslie is, in fact, a steamroller. In a big step for Leslie, she decided to hang up her “rolly thing on the front of the machine” and end her life as a steamroller. And that’s how she ended up kissing Ben in Indiana’s Smallest Park. It was perfect and heartwarming. (Also, they did an excellent job of turning that phone booth cement into a lovely park.)

Tom and Jerry were tasked with rethinking the department’s visual brand by redesigning the Parks and Recreation logo. Really, that was just Chris-speak for selecting a new font. So Tom and his No. 3, Jerry, (who was later demoted to No. 4 even though they were the only two people working on the project) set out to re-invent the logo. The ever-entrepreneurial Tom attempted force a top-to-bottom makeover on the department instead of just selecting a new font. This came complete with The Sopranos’ pistol font and a community center that looked like an Apple store. It seemed that they might just fail Chris, but then Tom found inspiration from an unexpected source. (See, maybe you can learn something from Jerry!) They decided to go back to the good ole days with the Parks and Rec logo from the 1970s.

Meanwhile, April and Ron encouraged Andy to take a class at the local community college. The college was having a shopping special where you could attend classes to try them out before enrolling. April suggested he take something he was great at just to get an easy A. (See: Andy in Guitar for Beginners and running out of the class yelling, “Goodbye, everybody! I was secretly an undercover rock star this whole time!”) Ron, on the other hand, wanted Andy to take advantage of the opportunity to expand his horizons: “Of all my coworkers, [Andy] is one of a small number whom I do not actively root against.” Aww. I love it when Ron gets all sappy. After Andy’s Introduction to LASERS class wasn’t exactly what he expected — one of the most significant bummers of his lifetime, to be exact — Andy found himself in an Introduction to Women’s Studies course. The class was surprisingly a good match for Andy, April “I want to be burned at the stake” Ludgate-Dwyer, and Ron “Amen” Swanson.

NEXT: Andy wins a scholarship and the most memorable lines of the night

Unfortunately, at $940 the class was out of Andy’s price range. But before he took to his original plan of begging for money on the street like a drug addict, he attempted shoe shining for $100 a pop. But then big softie Ron Swanson came in and saved the day. Andy was awarded a Ron Swanson scholarship. I think we can all agree that we wished we were as lucky to have won a Ron Swanson scholarship for college.

What did you think of “Smallest Park?” How much did you love Ben and Leslie’s passionate kiss in the park? Do you hope to see more of Andy at college? And are you glad Tom is back to the old, but new Parks job? Sound off in the comments below after you read the most memorable lines from the episode….

Lines of Merit:

Chris: “Take these words and make something amazing.”

Tom: “So you’re saying you want me to choose a new font?”

Chris: “Yes. Essentially, I’d like you to choose a new font.”

“I did not graduate college because I did not attend it.” —Andy

“Well, if you’ll excuse me, I need to ascertain the whereabouts of some oversize ceremonial scissors.” —Leslie

“I think that Comic Sans always screams fun, right? But, man, those R’s in Helvetica, they’re just really popping for me.” —Jerry (As someone who once worked in an office with this sign and has seen this documentary more than once, this line just killed.)

“Yes, technically my new job is my old job, but I’m not some old Jerry Gergich-type guy. I’m more of a Steve Harvey. I dream big. I shake things up. And I always wear dope suits.” —Tom

“For what it’s worth, I think you would make an incredible brunette. Ron Swanson.” —Ron to the blond guitar instructor

“Your quiet supports means the world to me, as well as your tacit endorsement of all my behaviors.” —Leslie to Ann

“I would like one ticket for women.” —Andy attempting to enroll in his first college class, Intro to Women’s Studies

“April, where have you been? Over two phone calls came in unimpeded!” —Ron

“One thing I promised myself when I buried gold in my backyard is that I’d never be a hoarder or a miser about it.” —Ron


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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