Parks and Recreation—Season 4

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8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great characters, strong over-arching story

Many jokes are for regular viewers so new viewers might miss some of the fun

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The gang’s all here!

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) has a dream.  She’s running for City Council and facing the challenges of the campaign.  When Chris (Rob Lowe) learns that Leslie is carrying on a relationship with Ben (Adam Scott), the relationship could be threatened.  As Election Day grows closer, Leslie finds new challenge in a town favorite Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd)…could Leslie’s dreams be crushed?

Parks and Recreation—Season 4 aired from September 22, 2011 to May 10, 2012 on NBC.  The show continues to receive acclaim.  Amy Poehler was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series—Musical or Comedy.

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Leslie demonstrates her iMovie skills

This season has an interesting path in that it has a goal.  The season encompasses Leslie’s whole run for city council.  It also has Ben and Leslie’s relationship developing.  With the two central stories, it is a more focused season which isn’t always the case in network TV or comedies.

Parks and Recreation is a character show.  Much like The Office, you have to care about the characters, and Parks and Recreation does a great job making lovable characters.  Leslie and Ben are fun a fun couple, but April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy (Chris Pratt) are the fun couple.  Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) could have his own spin-off show at any point, and Tom (Aziz Ansari) is good in small doses.  I also love the fallible Jerry (Jim O’Heir).  I still think Donna (Rette), Ann (Rashida Jones), and Chris (Rob Lowe) need developing, but their characters are still being fleshed out.  The show also has tons of little supporting characters that really add to show.

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Pawnee’s got a drinking fountain problem…

The show is a building show.  Jokes come from years in the past like Little Sebastian jokes and the return of Louis C.K. as Leslie’s former boyfriend.  It is a great payoff for longtime viewers but can make it difficult for newer people on the Parks and Recreation bandwagon.

Parks and Recreation is just fun.  With a rocky first season, the show has found its footing in the last few seasons and has become a worthy replacement for The Office.  With struggling ratings, it is unfortunate that the series constantly teeters on cancellation, and I wish it could get a real footing.

Parks and Recreation—Season 4 Complete Episode Guide

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“I’m Leslie Knope”

4.1       I’m Leslie Knope Airdate:  09/22/11

Leslie (Amy Poehler) decides to run for office but realizes it means that she’ll have to end her relationship with Ben (Adam Scott).  A sexting scandal has Ann (Rashida Jones) receiving explicit texts from everyone in the government.  Andy (Chris Pratt) debates taking a job working for Tom (Aziz Ansari) at the 720, and Ron (Nick Offerman) learns that his ex-wife Tammy One (Patricia Clarkson) is leading an audit of his finances.

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“Ron and the Tammys”

4.2       Ron & Tammys Airdate:  09/29/11

Leslie finds Ron is under the control of Tammy One and that she is having him audited to try to get his money.  Ben looks over Tom’s company the 720 and realizes that Tom and his partner Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz) are losing money.  Ann tries to shoot a PSA with Chris (Rob Lowe) and finds it is harder than she thought.  Leslie gets desperate and is forced to recruit Tammy Two (Megan Mullally) and Ron’s mother to help free Ron from Tammy One (Patricia Clarkson).

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“Born and Raised”

4.3       Born and Raised Airdate:  10/06/11

Leslie makes a big statement in Pawnee by releasing her book about her love of Pawnee.  When Leslie goes on Pawnee Today she’s accused of not being from Pawnee.  Now Leslie is trying to prove her birth and finds it is turning into a political situation.  Tom and Ben try to get Joan to approve Leslie’s book for her book club but find that she is trying to seduce them.  Leslie learns the truth about her birth in a trip to Eagleton.

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“Pawnee Rangers”

4.4       Pawnee Rangers Airdate:  10/13/11

Ron leads the Pawnee Rangers while Leslie leads the Pawnee Goddesses.  Ben questions why he stays in Pawnee since he can no longer date Leslie.  Tom and Donna (Retta) have their “Treat Yo Self” day and decide to take Ben.  Ron’s Pawnee Rangers try to defect to Leslie’s Goddesses and Leslie is accused of being a hypocrite for denying boys.   Jerry (Jim O’Heir) tries to hook Chris up with his daughter.

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“Meet ‘N’ Greet”

4.5       Meet ‘N’ Greet Airdate:  10/27/11

Andy and April (Aubrey Plaza) throw a Halloween party and everyone’s invited.  Leslie and Tom throw a party to meet with local business owners but Tom takes over with his Entertainment 720.  Ben finds himself angry that he’s not invited to a party in his house and Andy tries to get Ben to tell him what is wrong.  Ron and Ann work to repair Andy and April’s home.

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“End of the World”

4.6       End of the World Airdate:  11/03/11

Pawnee’s resident cult predicts the end of the world…again, and Ben, Chris, and Leslie have to go to cult’s gathering.  Tom and Jean-Ralphio deal with the loss of Entertainment 720 and decide to throw an End of the World Party with their left over money.  Leslie deals with the idea that Ben might be dating again and finds she can’t.

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“The Treat”

4.7       The Treaty Airdate:  11/10/11

Leslie tries to help say the school’s model UN club and brings in Ben to help lead the summit.  Ron tries to get Tom to take his job back and finds Tom has too much pride to take it.  Ben tells Leslie that he can’t be friends and Leslie declares war on his country.  Chris tries to find out why Jerry’s daughter hasn’t called him back.

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“Smallest Park”

4.8       Smallest Park Airdate:  11/17/11

Ben and Leslie are assigned to design the smallest park in Indiana, but Ben tells Leslie that he wants to spend less time with the parks and recreation department.  Jerry and Tom are assigned to redesign the logo for the apartment.   Andy decides to go back to school and tries to pick out a class.

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“The Trial of Leslie Knope”

4.9       The Trial of Leslie Knope Airdate:  12/01/11

Ben and Leslie tell Chris about their relationship and Leslie and Ben are forced to undergo an ethic probe and trial.

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“Citizen Knope”

4.10     Citizen Knope Airdate:  12/08/12

Leslie finds herself forbidden from working at the Parks & Recreations office until the election is over and fights the boredom.  Ben tries to find out what to do with his life now that he’s out of work.  Leslie tries to do damage control from the controversy and forms a public action committee (PCP…aka Parks Committee of Pawnee) when she’s ordered not to campaign.  The office decides to make a gingerbread office for Leslie’s Christmas gift.  When Leslie’s campaign committee quits, Leslie wonders if she’s out of the race.

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“The Comeback Kid”

4.11     The Comeback Kid Airdate:  01/12/12

Leslie appoints Ann her campaign manager and starts the relaunch of her campaign.  Chris worries about Ben’s mental state as he tries to adjust to being unemployed.  Leslie prepares for a rally and gets Ron, April, Andy, and Tom free when they get arrested for transporting the stage.  Ann tries to get Pawnee’s basketball legend Pistol Pete (Tuc Watson) to endorse Leslie with his patented dunk.

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“Campaign Ad”

4.12     Campaign Ad Airdate:  01/19/12

Leslie finds herself facing Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd) whose family runs the Sweetums Candy Corporation that employs the town.  With Ben now behind her campaign, he suggests that Leslie make a negative ad against Bobby which puts him at odds with Leslie.  A face off with Bobby Newport changes Leslie’s view on the election.

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“Bowling for Votes”

4.13     Bowling for Votes Airdate:  01/26/12

Leslie does a focus group to see where she needs to grow and decides to have a bowling gathering when she feels challenged by one of the members of the group named Derek (Kevin Dorff).  When Chris starts to win a fundraising contest, April vows to win.  Ron finds himself challenged by Leslie gets in a bowling war Derek and has a surprising hero when she’s insulted.

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“Operation Ann”

4.14     Operation Ann Airdate:  02/02/12

It is Valentine’s Day and everyone is seeking love.  Leslie sets up a scavenger hunt for Ben to decode secret messages from her, and Ben is joined by Andy and Ron.  Leslie asks everyone to set up Ann, and Chris deals with Jerry’s daughter dumping him.

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“Dave Returns”

4.15     Dave Returns Airdate:  02/16/12

Ann deals with having gone on a Valentine’s Day date with Tom.  Ben deals with his fear of police officers and finds Leslie’s former boyfriend Dave Sanderson (Louis C.K.) has returned.  Andy tries to get Leslie’s campaign team to do a promotional song for Leslie.  When Dave announces he’s still in love with Leslie, Leslie realizes she needs to solve the problem.

 

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“Sweet Sixteen”

4.16     Sweet Sixteen Airdate:  02/23/12

Leslie is having problem keeping up with the parks department and her campaign, and Ron suggests having a leave until Election Day.  When Leslie realizes she’s missed Jerry’s 64th birthday (which occurs on Leap Day), Leslie sets out to throw a Sweet Sixteen party…but forgets to invite Jerry.  Tom questions if he should break-up with Ann when she continues to commit sins against his “must know” list.  When Andy and April’s dog Champion goes missing, the party may be off.

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“Campaign Shake-Up”

4.17     Campaign Shake-Up Airdate:  03/01/12

Leslie’s up in the polls and Bobby Newport brings in a Washington ringer named Jennifer Barkley (Kathryn Hahn) to help his campaign.  Ron learns that he has to shape up the parks department or bring in more employs, and has Ann spearhead a campaign to fix drinking fountain problems.  Leslie and Ben try to capture the seniors and court Pawnee’s senior community leader Ned Jones (Carl Reiner).

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“Lucky”

4.18     Lucky Airdate:  03/08/12

Leslie worries about changes in Ben during the election.  When an interview with Buddy Wood (Sean Hayes) is cancelled, Leslie goes out drinking with Ann and Tom, but learns the interview is back on.  Donna finds Jerry’s special gift.  April works to set Chris up with Andy’s teacher Linda Lonegan (Danielle Bisutti), but Linda’s has eyes for Ron.  When Leslie goes on Buddy Wood’s show, the interview doesn’t go well.

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“Live Ammo”

4.19     Live Ammo Airdate:  04/19/12

Leslie works to save the Parks Department budget and Ben worries that it could negatively affect the campaign.  April fills in for Leslie and finds she hates Leslie’s job.  Chris asks Ron to meditate with him.  When Leslie’s actions get the animal care shut down, Leslie needs to find a way to keep the animal care open.

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“The Debate”

4.20     The Debate Airdate:  04/24/12

Leslie prepares for her big debate.  Tom and Anne break up and Chris decides to get back together with Anne.  Leslie prepares for the big debate and finds herself head-to-head with Bobby Newport.

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“Bus Tour”

4.21     Bus Tour Airdate:  05/01/12

Election Day is getting close and Leslie plans a bus tour for Pawnee.  Andy works as Leslie’s security and tries to determine who hit Jerry with a pie met for Leslie.  When Bobby’s father dies, Leslie finds she has a new obstacle to overcome.  Tom, Ron, and Donna try to get vans to get seniors to the polls, but finds Newport has leased all the vans.  Chris tries to find direction and receives an interesting proposition.

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“Win, Lose, or Draw”

4.22     Win, Lose, or Draw Airdate:  05/10/12

Election Day is here and Leslie is out for her final battle with Bobby Newport.  Ben receives a job offer from Jennifer that might take Ben away from Pawnee.  April accidentally erases the computers in the office and hopes that the data isn’t all gone.  Jerry realizes he made a mistake and hope it doesn’t cost the election.

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Related Links:

Parks and Recreation—Season 1 Review and Episode Guide

Parks and Recreation—Season 3 Review and Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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