'Parks and Recreation': The Season in Review


With one week left in the show's third year, a look at how each member of the Pawnee Parks Department has changed



Last night, NBC offered up two very funny episodes of Parks and Recreation that served as a fitting appetizer for next week's two-part finale.

"The Fight," the first episode, offers a great solution to one of Parks and Recreation's last nagging questions: if Ann Perkins is a successful nurse, how can she spend so much time hanging out in the parks department? When a position opens up with the Pawnee health department, which shares office space with the parks department, Leslie hooks Ann up with an interview—an interview that Ann's not even sure if she wants. Later that night, a few too many rounds of Snake Juice bring the tension between Leslie and Ann to the surface, but the two friends reconnect over their mutual affection (and mutual hangovers) in the morning, and Ann takes the job.

The second episode, "Road Trip," finally pays off this season's slowest-building plotline: the budding romance between Leslie and Ben. Chris sends his "dynamic duo" on a work-related trip to Indianapolis, and Leslie—burying her feelings for Ben thanks to Chris' strict "no interoffice dating" rule—does everything she can make the trip as unsexy as possible (fallback conversation topics include the New Yorker's "History of the Ladder" and the contents of Leslie's Sonicare toothbrush booklet). Just as Ben breaks through Leslie's defenses, Chris arrives, spoiling the chance for the long-awaited tryst. But back in Pawnee,when Leslie and Ben finally get a moment alone, he immediately kisses her. Uh-oh, indeed.

The major developments in last night's episodes are a reminder of just how far the parks department has come. Before Parks and Recreation's spectacular third season comes to an end next week, let's look back to see how each member of the Pawnee parks department has changed:

Though there are plenty of questions left to be answered in next week's finale, one thing is already clear: Parks and Recreation's third season is also its best season yet.

Pawnee History:
in "Road Trip," April woos Andy back by assembling his band members and playing "The Pit," Mouse Rat's Battle of the Bands-winning single from season 1's "Rock Show."

Wise Words from Andy Dwyer:
On the fine arts: "Art is supposed to be happy and fun. And everyone knows that."

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Scott Meslow is entertainment editor at TheWeek.com.

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