The show that never seems to disappoint did the predictable and delivered on nearly every level. As I tweeted, I laughed out-loud at least 11 times (yes, I counted most of them) and a near handful of those nearly killed me as I saw the tunnel closing in as the blackness welcomed me.
The plot? Leslie Knope's campaign for the City Council has hit a snag after her campaign managers dumped her over several public relations issues. Leslie has decided to go with her friends and co-workers instead and made her best pal, Ann Perkins, her campaign manager.
Meanwhile, Leslie's darling lover, Ben Wyatt, is out of work, lounging around, making calzones and claymation movies. Or movie. A few seconds of something, to be exact (in one of those laugh out-loud moments, Ben shows Chris what he's been working on, which amounts to about 5 seconds).
When Ann has to get a famous local basketball player, Pistol, to not just endorse Leslie at a rally, but also perform one of is famous dunks, the pressure builds. Obviously, to a sophisticated TV viewer, the setup is for Ben to replace Ann. But that setup never feels contrived.
The episode is filled with excellent writing, delivery, and settings. Even a painfully embarrassing sequence on ice (sounds like a ready-made promo) that goes on and on and on like something out of an Austin Powers movie works well and had me laughing several times.
Since the best stuff was in the dialogue, let's kick out some QUOTABLES!
Leslie meets with her friends and co-workers at the office to announce who she has selected as her new campaign manager. Everyone is clearly worried she will pick them. To their relief, she picks Ann.
Ann: Leslie, I don't know the first thing about running a political campaign.
Leslie: Ann, you beautiful tropical fish. You're smart as a whip, and you're cool under pressure. You've resuscitated a human heart in your bare hands.
Ann: No, I haven't!
Leslie: You haven't?
Leslie: You will. You're that good of a nurse.
When Ann accepts the job as campaign manager, Leslie has some words before she exits the room.
Leslie: And your first job as my campaign manager is to start dressing like one. I don't wanna have this conversation again.
Ann: Again? You just hired me eight seconds ago.
April: Wow, you're doing a really bad job.
Leslie talks to the camera about her decision to hire her friends and co-workers to work on her campaign.
Leslie: It's true. I no longer have highly trained professional campaign managers. So what? Are most murders committed by highly trained professional assassins? No. They're committed by friends and co-workers. [pause] That analogy was way better in my head.
When Ron, Andy, April, Tom, and a dog get pulled over by a cop, while hauling material for Leslie's rally in a truck, Ron is coolie defiant.
Ron: Now I respect you and your service to this town and your country. But what laws are we breaking exactly?
Cop: Well, you got four people in the front seat. Nobody's wearing a seat-belt. You were speeding and blasting your horn through the hospital zone. The rear of the vehicle is open. Debris' been falling out, and you don't have a commercial license to drive a truck.
Ron: Okay, well we have a philosophical difference on what constitutes a law.
When Leslie has to leave her meeting with Pistol to help Ron and gang out with the cop, she leaves it up to Ann to convince the basketball star to dunk at her rally.
Leslie: I'm polling at one percent. He must dunk, Ann! Do whatever it takes. You know, anything short of sexual favors.
Leslie: I do not, I repeat, I do not want you to tempt him with sexual favors.
Ann: I wasn't going to.
Leslie: Good. I wouldn't neither. That's where I draw the line. Although, I am a little offended that you wouldn't do that for..
If I had to rate this one, I'd give it:
94 out of 100.
Not the best story episode but full of fun, laughs, and the usual kick ass performances by this killer cast.