Parks and Recreation—Season 3

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great cast, great episodes



Welcome back to Pawnee!

The parks and recreation department is running on a shoestring budget and Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) must come up with an idea to make a profit.  With that in mind, Leslie hopes to resurrect the Pawnee Harvest Festival…and getting the festival off the ground is going to take her whole team.  With Andy (Chris Pratt) and April (Aubrey Plaza) having a tulmoltuous relationship and Chris (Rob Lowe) seeing Ann (Rashida Jones), Leslie finds herself repeatedly saddled with Ben (Adam Scott)…but it could turn into a relationship that will change both their lives.


Ron Swanson…a man…and his view

Parks and Recreation—Season 3 aired on NBC as a mid-season replacement airing from January 20, 2011 to May 19, 2011.  Though the series continued to garner fans and critical acclaim, it still struggled with ratings.  The season received Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Poehler), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (“Fancy Party”), and Outstanding Comedy Series.

Being from Indiana I find myself a bit predisposed to Parks & Rec (as it is often called).  Despite this, it is a great show and has rightfully earned the praise it receives.  The show is smartly written, has a great ensemble cast, and continues to survive despite the ratings.

This season sees a bit more focus with more of a goal.  You can tell that the series was probably originally arranged differently when the series was going to be a full season.  I imagine the first half of the season would have been the Harvest Festival and the second half would have been the romance between Ben and Leslie…or they might have intended the Harvest Festival to be the whole season…regardless, this show works best when there is a goal for the characters which can provide a basic framework for the season.


Feel the power of Leslie Knope!

The characters are what make this show special much like its original sister show The Office.  By this season, the cast is working great together and as viewers, you also have a better understanding of the characters…even minor ones.  It has the best couple (Andy & April) and everyone has can have their favorites (I particularly like Ron and goofy schmuck Jerry).  Plus, you get Li’l Sebastian…the best horse ever!

I hope that Parks and Recreation continues to fight.  Like Leslie Knope the show just doesn’t seem to give up and that is a good thing.  With continued support and the struggles of NBC, I hope that the network latches onto the show since it has such buzz and online fans…keep Parks & Rec alive even if Li’l Sebastian isn’t.

Parks and Recreation—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:


“Go Big or Go Home”

3.1       Go Big or Go Home Airdate:  01/20/11

The government’s reopened and the Parks and Recreation department is back, but on a shoestring budget.  Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), and Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) find themselves coaching youth basketball.  Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) forces Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) on a date but finds herself stuck with Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) when the date becomes a double-date.  Tom takes his anger toward Ron dating his ex-wife Wendy (Jama Williamson) out on Ron’s team.  Leslie comes up with an idea to get money for the parks department.


“Flu Season”

3.2       Flu Season Airdate:  01/27/11

It is flu season and Ann finds that April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) is in the hospital enacting her revenge on Ann for kissing Andy.  Leslie tries to work on the Harvest Festival but finds herself coming down with the flu.  Andy fills in for April as Ron’s assistant but learns April is sick.  Chris finds himself sick and hospitalized.  Leslie tries to get businesses for the festival against the suggestion of Ann.


“Time Capsule”

3.3       Time Capsule Airdate:  02/03/11

Leslie plans a time capsule for Pawnee but finds herself dealing with a man who wants the Twilight series in the capsule.  Andy tries to win back April with Chris’s help.  Tom is introduced to the story of Twilight to help him deal with his break-up with Lucy (Natalie Morales).  Leslie calls a meeting to discuss the time capsule when she changes her mind on Twilight.


“Ron & Tammy: Part 2”

3.4       Ron & Tammy:  Part 2 Airdate:  02/10/11

Leslie tries to work the police to get their support for the Harvest Festival.  April is forced to work with Chris when his assistant quits, and Chris offers April an opportunity that she might not be able to turn down…which surprises Ann.  Tom tries to make Ron jealous by dating Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally), but Tammy 2 taken control of Ron again…leaving Leslie to form an intervention for Ron.


“Media Blitz”

3.5       Media Blitz Airdate:  02/17/11

The Harvest Festival is approaching and Leslie has to get the word out.  April agrees to move to Indianapolis as Chris’s secretary, and Andy and Ron try to get her to stay.  A radio appearances on “Crazy Ira and The Douche” and “Ya Heard? with Perd” turns bad for Ben and makes problems for the Harvest Festival.



3.6       Indianapolis Airdate:  02/24/11

Ron, Leslie, and Chris go to Indianapolis to receive a reward for Pawnee.  Leslie spies on Chris to find if he has another girlfriend for Ann, and Ron discovers his favorite restaurant has been shut down.  Tom and Ben go to the Snakehole premiere of a cologne, and Tom tries to pimp his new cologne “Tommy Fresh”.  April and Andy go to the Snakehole and set out to find out who can collect more free stuff.


“Harvest Festival”

3.7       Harvest Festival Airdate:  03/17/11

The Harvest Festival is here, and Leslie finds a problem from the local tribe the Wamapoke due to the site of the festival being on the location of a massacre.  April’s confession of love to Andy doesn’t go over as planned.  Donna (Rett) tries to get Anne over being dumped by Chris by finding her a rebound.  With the threat of a curse, Leslie tries to turn the festival around, but when Tom (blaming Jerry(Jim O’Heir)) loses the famous mini-horse Li’l Sebastian, things could go south.



3.8       Camping Airdate:  03/24/11

The mayor (Phil Reeves) has had a heart attack, and Chris is brought as the temporary replacement.  Leslie forces the parks department on a camping retreat to plan their next move.  Unfortunately, Leslie’s all out of ideas and when Tom drains all the power, the group ends up at a bed and breakfast.  Anne and Chris try to mend their differences.


“Fancy Party”

3.9       Fancy Party Airdate:  04/14/11

April and Andy are throwing a fancy party and the whole parks department is invited.  Anne finds herself at a dating party and finds Donna there.  Ben debates leaving Pawnee or taking a job for Chris.  When April and Andy reveal that they are planning to get married, Leslie sets out to stop it while Tom vies for Best Man status.



3.10     Soulmates Airdate:  04/21/11

Chris is out to help get Pawnee fit…and finds himself facing off against Ron Swanson when he plans to eliminate red meat from the commissary.  When Ben seems to ignore her, Leslie has Anne seek out a soulmate in an online dating service but finds herself paired up with Tom.


“Jerry’s Painting”

3.11     Jerry’s Painting Airdate:  04/28/11

Ben’s looking for a place to live and finds himself rooming with April and Andy.  Chris tries to set Ben up with a girl to Leslie’s dismay.  Leslie finds Jerry has painted a picture of her as a centaur for his entry in the art display…giving Leslie a more powerful perspective.  When there are complaints about the painting, Leslie finds herself in a fight to save the painting.



3.12     Eagleton Airdate:  05/05/11

Leslie finds out that it is Ron’s birthday and puts April in charge of the celebration when Leslie is forced to take on her former friend Lindsay Carlisle Flay (Parker Posey) when Eagleton builds a park fence to keep out Pawnee children.


“The Fight”

3.13     The Fight Airdate:  05/12/11

Tom works on his new drink Snake Juice and tries to recruit the park department.  The Pawnee health director quits and Leslie puts Ann’s name in for the job.  When Ann doesn’t seem to care about the job, Leslie and Ann finds themselves at odds with each other.  April and Andy use Tom’s party at the Snake Hole as an excuse to roleplay.  Chris learns about Tom’s party which leads to Tom being forced to make a big decision.  As the evening progresses, the Snake Juice gets the best of everyone.


“Road Trip”

3.14     Road Trip Airdate:  05/12/11

Leslie and Ben are sent to Indianapolis to win the Indiana Little League tournament and Leslie worries that her feelings for Ben will come out…unfortunately Chris might interfere.  Tom creates a couples’ game show which shows weaknesses in April and Andy.  Ron finds a student visiting the government office and tells her the real deal with government and taxes.


“The Bubble”

3.15     The Bubble Airdate:  05/19/11

Ben and Leslie are secretly dating and Leslie learns that Ben is supposed to have a meeting with her mother (Pamela Reed).  Tom and Andy are given assignments and in the record keeping department, and Tom tries to get out of it.  Ron finds that Chris is making changes in the department…including getting rid of his office.


“Li’l Sebastian”

3.16     Li’l Sebastian Airdate:  05/19/11

Tragedy has struck Pawnee…Li’l Sebastian is dead!  As the whole parks department tries to put on Pawnee’s biggest funeral, Leslie and Ben find themselves found out by Ron…and a nosy maintenance worker.  Tom makes a decision about his future in the parks department, and Ron finds that the legendary Tammy-1 has returned.  Leslie finds she might have a shot at her dream.

Related Links:

Parks and Recreation—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Parks and Recreation—Season 4 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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