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2011’s Most Memorable Episodes: Parks and Rec “Pawnee Rangers”

Photo Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

I’m not really sure where to start. I can tell you “Pawnee Rangers” is my favorite episode of Parks and Recreation ever. I can tell you I’ve watched it maybe ten times. I can tell you I had so many rewind and repeat moments, my DVR got mad at me. And I can tell you I’ll be keeping this episode on my DVR for the foreseeable future. What made it so freaking awesome? Let me count the ways.

Photo Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

Ron as a troop leader. There’s no place in modern society for Ron to be the kind of troop leader he wants to be. While he’s interested in teaching the kids how to rough it in the wild, all they’re interested in is candy and convenience. I love that Ron took it upon himself to write a handbook. And what does it say? Be a man. Of course Leslie was forced to start a troop of her own called the Pawnee Goddesses because the Rangers wouldn’t let girls in. Oh, stupid boys. Do you know who you’re dealing with? Leslie Knope cannot be stopped. While Leslie’s planned activities for the first day alone include a puppet show about the bill or rights and a s’mores off (amongst other things), the only thing Ron has planned for the boys is: not getting killed.

Treat Yo Self. Retta‘s Donna Meagle and Aziz Ansari‘s Tom Haverford are solid gold comic geniuses in this episode. When Donna and Tom see how miserable Ben is, they make him accompany them on their special day. Ben, as a relaxation novice, is having a hard time relaxing despite being in a spa and listening to a harp. Ben finally gets into the spirit of the day when he tries on a batman costume. Donna and Tom’s expressions when he came out of the dressing room? Priceless.

Chris Wants to Date Jerry’s Daughter. After Chris meets Jerry’s very attractive daughter he retroactively accepts his lunch invite from earlier. Chris and Millicent are definitely having a moment at lunch and afterwards Chris wants to set out a very involved plan for Jerry to get to know him so Chris can date his daughter. But Jerry has no interest in that. Millie’s an adult and Jerry trusts her. Of course, Chris is trying to keep everything above board and continues to give Jerry way, way too many details.

Andy as Brother Nature. Chris Pratt‘s facial expressions alone make this episode worth watching. Can someone say puppy party? Watching Andy with those little furballs was so funny. And it’s those puppies that finally make every single Ranger want to be a Goddess. Watching those boys (and Andy) take the pledge was strange and magical.

Leslie Being Leslie. When she sees how hard the Ranger’s defection hits Ron she takes it upon herself to start a new club for him. She puts an ad in the paper for an extreme outdoor club and it’s just what the doctor ordered. They’re aptly named Swansons.

Favorite quotes:

Donna: What is wrong with you today? Did they cancel Game of Thrones?

Ben: Nothing is wrong. Just do your job. And they would never cancel Game of Thrones. It’s a crossover hit. It’s not just for fantasy enthusiasts. They’re telling human stories in a fantasy world. Fill out the forms please.

Tom: Donna, you and I are relaxation professionals. There’s no way Ben can slow down enough to keep up with us.

Chris: Did you know that lab rats who were deprived of rest grew tumors all over their bodies? You should google it. It’s horrifying.

Donna: Needles in your face. Pleasure in your base.

Donna: Uh oh. Batman’s crying.

Anne: It feels pretty good to have a bunch of little boys be super into me. That came out wrong.

Did you love this episode as much as I did? Feel free to share your favorite moment.

Parks and Rec airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c.

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