‘Parks and Recreation’ Recap: Andy’s Swan Song

 Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC

In Thursday’s “Swing Vote” episode of Parks and Recreation, we learned that the show has officially run out of Parks Dept.-regulated organizations to grapple with. The pit has been taken care of, the parks have been saved, the creek has been cleaned. Heck, even the local video store has already been given a handout by the Pawnee government. So what’s left for Leslie (Amy Poehler) to save? The government subsidized miniature golf course, of course!

As Leslie battles to save the only publicly-owned mini golf course I have ever heard of, Andy (Chris Pratt) struggles with disputes within Mouse Rat, and Tom (Aziz Ansari) tries to break up with Mona Lisa — who, apparently, he’s still dating. 

Way to Be, Duck!

The A-plot of “Swing Vote” includes the aforementioned battle for the mini-golf course. Libertarian extraordinaire Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) has decided to cut the funding for the course in his most recent bout of budget cuts. Leslie — who, despite being a City Councilwoman now, is always in the Parks Dept. — storms into Ron’s office to make very clear to him that she will do whatever is in her power to keep the golf course open. Which, frankly, is ridiculous. Aren’t miniature golf courses private, for-profit businesses? But I digress…

In order to keep Ron from doing away with the putt-putt, Leslie has to convince Councilman Jamm to vote her way. Let the bribery begin! Leslie and Jamm hit the green (with Chris the Excessively Positive Caddy in tow) for a fun day of snow cones, sunshine, windmills, and giant gorillas. As many times as Leslie said the day was about showing Jamm how much fun the course was, however, it was really about buying him a bunch of s**t so he would support her. Ron, who crashes their date, of course (ha! like, golf course!) sees right through this. 

The night ends with Ron and Leslie going head-to-head on nine holes as a very tired Calculus student/snow cone scooper looks on — winner gets Jamm’s vote. Ron, being the superior athlete (probably because of his high-protein diet), wins, therein securing Jamm’s support and the retraction of the mini golf course’s funding.  

Or does it? Sneaky, weasly Jamm decides to throw his gentleman’s agreement with Ron out the window and approach Leslie to make a better deal. She is aghast. What has she become? Is she just as bad as Jamm? Eager to haul herself out of government’s seedy underbelly, Leslie climbs back on her metaphorical high horse and declines Jamm’s offer. She then tells Ron that he is her favorite and all is right with the world again. Oh yeah, and she gave him a giant gorilla. 

Swan Song

Meanwhile, at some nameless dive bar, Andy, April (Aubrey Plaza), and Ben (Adam Scott) are celebrating Andy’s good day at work. But they can’t enjoy their $2 beers because Mouse Rat is playing… without Andy. Andy is sad, hurt, angry, and confused — which is a lot of emotions for our loveable goofball to feel at once. It doesn’t matter to Andy that his bandmates tried to call and tell him about the gig and he just didn’t get the calls because he dropped his cell phone in a bowl of cereal — they could have called him!

So Andy, bidding adieu to music once and for all, sings his swan song. “Once I was a golden swan, swan of a man,” he sings. “Now that swan’s name was Andy and he made a rock and roll band. He made incredible nachos that everybody claimed they loved … I’m going to find a place where I can be the beautiful duckling I always was inside. ” It was a thing of beauty. 

But quitting doesn’t come easy to Andy, so his retirement (much like Jerry’s) lasts all of one commercial break.  Mouse Rat is reunited, and it feels so good. 

 I Don’t Eff with Poorsies

The third plot of this episode involves Tom desperately trying to break up with his girlfriend, Mona Lisa (Jenny Slate). As glad as we are that Tom has realized Mona Lisa is a nut job, we are even more glad that this means we won’t be seeing any more of Mona Lisa. Dear God, please let it mean that. As much as I love Jenny Slate — and I love her a good deal — her character is too over the top to be enjoyable. 

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