Parks and Recreation S7 E3 “William Henry Harrison”

Episode 3 of Parks and Rec‘s final season began with Leslie and Ron’s feud picking back up again. Although they had been able to look past their differences to help Jamm out in the last episode, they are once again back to hating each other. Their feud has unfortunately also split up the former (and current) Parks crew and has pitted friends angainst friends.

While we saw such a great friendship between Tom and Andy in the last episode, they are on opposite sides of the battle. With Ron and Tom is also Donna. Leslie’s power still holds over Andy, April, and Terry, while Ben attempts to remain impartial (though he is legally required to be on Leslie’s side, as per their marriage, apparently).

The focus of this episode is once again on the Newport land. Leslie is grasping at straws, trying to find any reason to get the land named a national park. Leslie is opening her office to anyone who can provide a reason to preserve the land, and hears quite a variety of proposals.

  • The Reasonablists (the cult based in Pawnee which predicts the end of the world every few months) believe that the land is where “all human souls will be transmuted when Zorp the lizard god passes through Jupiter’s sphincter.”
  • A scientist warns Leslie that the land needs to be preserved because of the rate that the Indiana Brown Ants are dying. He predicts that they’ll be extinct by 203060 if she doesn’t do anything.
  • The tattooed pawn shop owner climbed in through the window and proposed turning the land into Disney Land.

Finally, though, Leslie finds her straw: Bill Hagerty from the Pawnee Historical Society informs her that U.S. President William Henry Harrison had a hunting lodge in what is now the Newport land.

William Henry Harrison is the U.S. President who is most famous for barely being in office before dying. That’s right, he’s famous for dying. He refused to wear a coat on the day of his inauguration in 1840, delivered an incredibly long speech, caught a cold, and died 32 days later. He was also the former governor of the Indiana Territory, so Leslie and other Indianans take a lot of pride in that apparently.

Leslie, Bill, April, and Andy head out to see Harrison’s hunting lodge and are only slightly disappointed. There is only a small pile of bricks remaining of the lodge, and a pile of garbage. But Leslie is grasping at straws, and this is the best straw she can find, so she goes with. They head on over to the William Henry Harrison Museum nearby in order to collect more straws for their case.

Parks and RecreationThe museum, as April points out, is a bit pathetic. There’s not enough material to fill a whole museum about him, so there are additional exhibits like, “If He’d Worn A Coat,” “Other Things That Were Famous For One Month,” and “Other Famous Harrisons.”

Leslie finds the prop she needs for her press conference at the museum, a 10-foot paper and tin ball that Harrison’s supporters rolled across America during his campaign. This, and a few other artifacts, builds Leslie’s main idea for her bid for the land: quantity over quality.

Gryzzl, although confident in their flashy techniques, is concerned that Leslie has the home court advantage. So they task Ron, Tom, and Donna with finding a local celebrity. The meeting is conducted in Gryzzl lingo, so Tom is left to translate for Ron (example: a “brain tornado” is a good idea”). Ron is hesitant to involve a celebrity because he prefers “quality over flash.”

Leslie’s final artifact: Harrison’s decendant, Zach Harrison. When she learns that Ron and Gryzzl got Annabel Porter as the face of their campaign, she decided that her campaign needed a face as well. Unfortunately, Zach isn’t quite as effective as Annabel.

Parks and RecreationRon, Tom, and Donna go over a list of Pawnee’s celebrities (including the still unseen Perd Hapley) before deciding on Annabel Porter. If you recall, Annabel was the former Eagleton phone book model, moved to LA, moved back to Pawnee, and now runs the popular (and odd) lifestyle blog, Bloosh.

Ben needs both Leslie and Ron to sign city point of sale documents, but they refuse to be in the same room. Luckily Terry (aka Jerry, aka Garry, aka Larry) recently achieved one of his life-long goals and became a notary public. Ben doesn’t have to make multiple notary appointments and the two can sign the form in different places.

When he goes to get Ron’s signature, Ron questions Ben about Leslie’s plans. He refuses to talk, choosing to instead remain neutral, so Ron turns to the easier man to break: Terry. Terry naturally spills all, so Ron gets planning a counter-attack.

Parks and RecreationSince this involves Terry, it can’t go right on the first try. Not all of the pages were included in the documents when they were signed by Leslie and Ron, so they have to be re-signed and re-notarized. Then Annabel porter ruins the documents by signing them herself. Ben is practically insane from running after the two for the whole day, especially with Terry at his side.

Though Leslie and Ron’s feud holds the spot for main plotline this episode, Andy does his best to try to help April. She is still floundering, unsure of what she wants to do. Like the perfect, but dim, human being that he is, Andy manages to say the right thing and helps her figure out a direction in which to look. “See, we don’t make a list of the things that you love, we make a list of the reasons why you love them, and then we find something that fits that list.”

Parks and RecreationAt Leslie’s Operation Quantity press conference about the Newport Land, Ron ambushes her and her team with his own Gryzzl + Annabel Porter press conference. Tom and Donna are both a little unsure when they learn that it had been sprung on Leslie, but they continue with their jobs.

Leslie’s press conference is sincere but lacks substance. She found a jug band to play Harrison’s campaign song, and hypothesized about what may have happened in the hunting cabin before Ron’s Gryzzl press conference interrupted. Their press conference also lacked substance, but had Gryzzl and Annabel Porter to provide flash.

Afterwards, Leslie and Ron got in another shouting match and stormed off, still refusing to sign Ben’s documents. The former Parks crew gathers together to figure out what to do about the two of them. Terry sums it up perfectly when he says, “They’ve always butted heads. But really, I don’t think they hate each other. I just think they’re very different people and they just drifted apart once they stopped working in the same office.” Sad, but probably true.

Ben gets both Leslie and Ron to a neutral site – the Parks Department – to sign the forms. But once they’re in the office Ben locks them in. All their former co-workers appear and deliver the ultimatum: Talk, or you’re stuck together. The doors are all locked, there are no phones or internet, and no one will be in until 8 tomorrow morning.

Quotable Moments:

“So hold on to your straws everybody, ’cause momma’s going grasping.” – I told you Leslie was grasping at straws.

“The sales for Chick-Fil-A went through the roof once Elton John bought ’em.” – Donna delivering one of my favorite jokes of the night

“He’s an embarrassing footnote, but he’s our embarrassing footnote.” – Leslie on WHH

“That book sounded so boring, I cried a little.”
“Oh, babe, I’m sorry you had to hear that. You’re safe now.”
– Andy and April after hearing about “Barely A President: William Henry Harrison’s Thirty Two Days in the White House”

“’Here we are’ like ‘Here’s the place where I buried the map that will show us the way to William Henry Harrison’s awesome hunting cabin?’” – Leslie discovering that her straw is even more pathetic than she first thought

“Well, this season I am intrigued by asymmetrical overalls, angora toothbrushes, and locally-sourced Italian flipflops.” – Annabel Porter’s odd lifestyle suggestions

“You’re not that good at scrapbooking.” – Ron, delivering the ultimate burn to Leslie

“This is like when the triplets fight except I can’t just give Leslie and Ron stuffed animals to make them calm down. Actually, that might work. Have we tried that?” – Ben, the idea man

“I’ll let you rename the triplets Ruth, Bader, and Ginsberg.” – Ben, although who other than Leslie would want to name their kids after the Notorious RBG?

So folks, what did you think? I have a feeling we’re going to learn what Morningstar is very soon based on that ending!

Also, does anyone else think it was perfectly fitting that Parks and Rec aired at the same time as the State of the Union? (And who else will admit that they chose Leslie over the Commander in Chief?)

Episode 4 “Leslie and Ron,” the continuation of tonight’s events will be up soon!