‘Parks and Recreation’ Recap: Rules for Bailing Out a Friend

Parks and Rec episode The Bailout

Welcome to Pawnee, Indiana. We are located 90 miles from Indianapolis and we are the state’s seventh-largest city. We are a city of kind citizens, green places, and a deep love and respect for the land. For the care and protection of these public outdoor spaces, we turn to the Parks and Recreation Department, headed by the honorable Ronald Ulysses Swanson. In order to ensure that the parks, pools, and public spaces of Pawnee remain in their tip top condition and able to provide good, clean fun for the citizens of Pawnee and their guests, the Parks and Recreation Department asks you to follow the following pertinent rules and regulations. Please and thank you, rest in peace L’il Sebastian.

Sometimes, a friend in need deserves a bailout in deed. Whether the problem is personal (like wanting your ex-boyfriend to father your child) or professional (is your coworker lazy, or is your friend’s business closing?) we all sometimes need a little help to get by from our friends. And we Pawneeans are kind, helpful people, always ready to lend a hand. But when doing so, be sure to follow these 10 guidelines to ensure your friend safely gets the help he or she requires. 

10 Rules and Regulations for Bailing Out a Friend

1. Does your friend seem upset? Ask yourself, what can I do to help out? What do I have that they need? Maybe your friend is trying to get pregnant, and just needs a friend to listen. Maybe your friend owns the snobbishly depressing Pawnee VideoDome and will go out of business without your financial help. Maybe your friend wants your sperm. Regardless, the first step is the same: Look deep inside yourself and determine what you can do to make his or her life happier. 

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2. Sometimes, your friend will come to you. She will be forthright and forthcoming with her needs. If this is the case, play along! If, say, someone you haven’t always particularly liked (because she dated and lived in a romantic way with your husband before he was your husband) asks you to be her friend — even if it is in exchange for something you need in return, like a recommendation for veterinary school in Bloomington — go along with it. You never know, she may be hurting behind her beautiful tropical fish eyes. She may be looking for more than a pedicure partner, something greater than a scary Charlotte to her Carrie. 

3. Get a team behind you. Not all problems can be solved tete-a-tete, some require help from a larger group. Take, for instance, the example of Dennis Lerpiss and the closure of his VideoDome. You can’t single-handedly fix that one up! To keep that sad little video rental store going you’ll have to turn it into a historic landmark and bail it out with government funds. The place is a relic anyway — you can download movies on the Internet now; I’m watching zoolander on my phone right now! — might as well make it official. 

4. Prepare for the opposition. Not everyone will think bailing out your friend (and his business) is the right thing to do. Expect resistance from the libertarian with the mustache, but remain strong in your convictions if you think what you are doing is right. 

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5. Channel your own needs in order to better to help your friend. Perhaps you are yourself struggling with a dilemma. You can’t help but wonder, Will you make a good father? Do you want to donate your sperm to a friend? Are you ready for that kind of responsibility? Will raising a kid infringe upon your strict exercise regimen? The best way to work out your issue may be to offer your assistance to someone else. 

6. Say yes. After spending time pretending Tom Haverford — who is struggling with his drunk, brash, skanky (Jean-Ralphio’s words, not ours) employee — is your son, you may learn something. And that thing may just be that your paralyzing fear of negatively affecting anything is something you can overcome. So go ahead and say yes to your friend. Help yourself by helping her. Now, doesn’t that feel nice? 

7. Don’t be afraid to help yourself. Listen to your helpful friends, think about what they say, and then do what feels right for you. Stand up for yourself, lay down your own law. But at the end of the day, if you want to begin a sexual relationship with your employee, Jean-Ralphio’s twin sister Mona Lisa, then do what you need to do. 

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8. Listen. This is the most important rule, so we’ll say it a few more times for good measure — listen, listen, listen! And really listen; like, read between the lines listen. Maybe your (new, sort of pretend) friend seems like she is happy to just sing karaoke in her office — because, let’s face it, “Time After Time” really does cure all woes — but if you are really there for her you’ll know that what she needs is companionship… and a baby names book with a bow. 

9. Know when to stop. Because sometimes — okay, all the times — the libertarian with the mustache is correct, and you need to let your friend fight his own battles. You can always start a government-funded movie night of your own to make up for the new lack of video store in Pawnee, one where you can feel free to show The Sound of Music  instead of Paths of Glory. 

10. Do not throw rocks at a hornet’s nest! 

Follow Abbey On Twitter @AbbeyStone

[Photo Credit: Danny Feld/NBC]

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