Episode Title: "The Treaty"
Writer: Harris Wittels
Director: Jorma Taccone
There's something happening with Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) this season on "Parks and Recreation." She's always been a little bit loopy even on her best days, but this year Leslie has been self-absorbed and selfish almost to the point of becoming as abhorrent as the King of the Douchebags, Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari).
In short, Leslie is becoming a politician. And I don't like it.
Somehow, I think that may be the whole point of her transformation. Leslie has admirable goals to go along with her ambition for public office. But she's losing pieces of herself along the way. Occasionally, we get glimpses of the old Leslie; like when she geeks out about the Model United Nations event at a local high school and over her collection of tiny international flags from around the world.
Leslie's ex-boyfriend, Ben (Adam Scott) shares this geek-tastic love with Leslie and boasts that he was also big into Model U.N. as a kid. Between the two of them, they rope in April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy (Chris Pratt) to help them revitalize the Model U.N. for the high school and prevent it from being cut. And for a while, it works. Using an international food crisis as the catalyst, Ben (representing Peru) and Leslie (representing Denmark) lead the efforts to solve the problem with some enthusiastic students. Meanwhile, April hilariously insists that she also represents the Moon and Andy trades all of his country's resources for lions.
But when Leslie's advisers keep pulling her away for photo ops, Ben is told to tread water until she gets back. It's the perfect metaphor for his relationship with Leslie. Ben voluntarily stepped aside so that Leslie could run for public office without fear of a scandal coming out to haunt her. However, when Ben almost made a romantic connection with Shauna Malwae-Tweep (Alison Becker); Leslie inserted herself between them and sabotaged the blooming relationship.
So, to recap: in Leslie's mind Ben can't be with anyone except her until she's ready to date him again.
Naturally, Ben has had enough of this and he tells Leslie that they can't be friends anymore. He also really offends her by forming an alliance with Russia and China to solve the food crisis by cutting Leslie's Denmark entirely out of the treaty.
In response, Leslie goes a little crazy. Okay… make that a lot of crazy, as Leslie formally declares war on Peru and the only member of her "coalition of the willing" is April's moon. Chris manages to get almost the entire United Nations to censure Leslie's Denmark, but their private feud disillusions the students and causes the kids to abandon the club. It's not the proudest moment for either Chris or Leslie.
To the rescue come April and Andy, who suggests a Camp David summit between the warring parties. Chris is stunned that Andy knows anything about Camp David, so of course it's just something that Andy his childhood friend, David came up with. But in the end, Leslie and Ben reconcile somewhat and resurrect the Model U.N. club by allowing them to use the Pawnee city counsel chamber for a statewide Model U.N. summit.
Meanwhile, back at the office, Chris (Rob Lowe) freaks out when he realizes that Millicent Gergich (Sarah Wright) — the beautiful daughter of his subordinate, Jerry (Jim O'Heir) — isn't returning his calls. Approaching the lovely Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) for advice, Chris acts on her sarcastic suggestion to launch an investigation to bring in Jerry, Donna (Retta) and Ann to evaluate the situation.
Donna loves the gossip and Ann uses the opportunity to get a few things off her chest about her relationship with Chris. As always, Jerry is miserable to be even having this conversation. He wasn't initially opposed to the idea of Chris dating his daughter, but Chris can't shut up about any of their personal details and it's eating away at Jerry. But it was Ann's part of the conversation that I found particularly interesting. When Ann was dating Chris, she adapted to him so completely that he became bored with their similarities and he dumped her. It's kind of a shame actually. Chris and Ann were much more fun together.And so far, Millicent hasn't developed any real personal traits other than her face sucking activities with Chris.
In the last subplot, the great Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) notes that Tom has fallen so far that he is currently working at the local Macy's in the cologne department. But no matter how many bad candidates he brings into the office to replace Tom, Ron can't seem to trick the fallen entrepreneur to come back to his job. Finally, Ron asks Tom directly and he gets a positive response… if Ron agrees to beg him to come back in front of all of their co-workers.
Ron lives up to his end of the bargain, but Tom proves once again that he earned his title of King Douchebag when he humiliates Ron and turns down the job. That's really screwed up, even for an egomaniac like Tom. As much as Ron likes to pretend otherwise, he genuinely seems to like Tom. Of course, he also likes the way Tom makes government even more inefficient. But either way, this was a big proverbial kick in the balls.
That's why I laughed so hard when Ron chased down Tom and practically choked him for pulling that crap. And shortly thereafter, a much more contrite Tom finally apologizes and publicly asks for his job back. Personally, I'd rather just see Ron choke Tom for the whole half hour. Although I suppose that Aziz Ansari has to occasionally breathe…
Overall, this was another solid episode. However, I'm still concerned about the creative direction that Leslie is going in. Her turn towards the Tom-side of the Force may be a planned arc complete with redemption at the end… but her bouts of selfishness and craziness are getting a little unbearable. The rest of the group is still fun to look in on.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.