Parks and Recreation: “New Beginnings” Season 6 Episode 11 Review

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Considering the circumstances, this was actually a really smart episode that showed its characters long-term growth over the length of the series. Namely, Leslie and Tom.

It’s a fascinating move the show has taken by removing Leslie from office. Now she’s back in the Parks Department where everyone she mentored had to grow up without her while she was on city council. When Tom takes the lead on a lemonade stand presentation, Leslie worries he’s going to ruin everything. She hatches a plot to stop him, but not before Ron can knock some sense into her. Before Leslie took office, Tom didn’t seem to be going anywhere. But he picked himself up this last year and a half, something Leslie wasn’t around to see. Thinking further about it, I can’t really remember the last time Leslie and Tom shared a storyline.

By the end Leslie learns to trust Tom and lets him “rip it”. Finally, Ron restates what was said last week: Leslie isn’t going to be here long before she finds the next big thing for her career. I can’t wait to see where that takes her.

Chris and Ann, meanwhile, debate whether marriage is the best thing for them. After a very off storyline for the pair last week, things were back on track with possibly the funniest scene of the season, Chris proposing to Ann as Jerry/Gary/Larry chokes on cracker dust.

Later in the jewelry store, the two realize how unconventional of a romance they’ve had and decide to keep it that way by not getting married. Kudos to Parks and Rec. for once again not taking the traditional sitcom route with love.

Then there was the weak C-plot of the episode. April, Andy, and Donna play a nasty prank on Ben where he thinks he’s getting arrested. To get back at them he comes up with an elaborate plot (which he did explain hilariously) to fake his death and send them into a lake while in a van. It was super over-the-top and did nothing more than the typical subplot on this show as of late, show how loving everyone’s friendship is.

But still, the rest of the episode was really really good. As Leslie bides her time before moving forward, Ann and Chris take the necessary steps before leaving Pawnee. I’m excited to see where everyone ends up. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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