Top 10 Parks and Recreation Episodes

by - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In honor of Parks and Recreation starting back up this week, I am going to list off my favorite episodes ever. I'll be honest, I am really nervous about this season, because the election stuff was not that good to me, but watching it over to make this list, season 4 did have a couple of gems ("Treat Yo Self" and Feminist Andy come to mind). And I still think Parks and Rec is one of the most underrated, straight up best shows on television. 

10."Christmas Scandal" (2/12)- Maybe the bittersweetest episode of the show ever, with the break up at the end being so incredibly good (Louis CK is truly the best sad sack ever)and the quiet ending being even better. But you have to give the show credit for not antagonizing its female lead for choosing a job over a boy, balancing that story with many of the reasons why she really does belong where she is. I like that this is a continuing trope of the show, and it is this same feeling you get at the end of season 4. You can feel the gooey center of the show (and the department) here.

9. "End of the World" (4/6)- I know there are other options for most romantic episode of this show, but I think this one wins. Watching April help Andy fulfill as many items on his bucket list as possible is so sweet, and their reaction to the Grand Canyon is amazingly touching in a quiet way most comedies couldn't handle (also, props to Parks and Rec for successfully transitioning a couple from pining into an interesting and romantic married couple). The main plot line, that the cult is waiting for Zorp to return and set them all on fire with their lava mouth is a hilarious frame for Leslie's sad grappling with her relationship with Ben and Tom's glorious final stand as the owner of Entertainment 720. Writing this makes me realize just how sad this episode could be, but the tone remains upbeat and very funny, because Parks and Rec clearly loves their characters.

8. "Summer Catalog" (2/20)- Is it weird that my favorite moment from this episode is that Leslie has bacon in her purse because she knew Ron would be hungry and Ron already ate it? This show has seriously the best friendships on TV. A great episode for showing how women have to participate in boy's clubs and finding the humor in these interactions. I also LOVE when Tom pitches the tiny cup picture in meeting.

7. Pawnee Rangers (4/4)- Amazing. Absolutely Rashida Jones's best episode of the show. She is so funny in it. The plot is great, so in line with the Leslie Knope character (I love how annoying she finds the little mini-Knopes). Features a Gertrude Stein and a womanly roar. You can't fight with that business, and it isn't surprising the men cross over. I also love that the resolution is two mixed gender clubs. Feminist episode while being funny and not stupid or heavy handed about it. Even better is the "Treat Yo Self" subplot. Thank the heavens for Donna and Tom in a sparkly blazer. Also, a great episode for Ben. So nerdy and amazing!

6. "The Fight" (3/14)- If this only had Ron Swanson drunk on snake juice it would be in the top ten, but there are so many great things going on- Ann and Leslie's fight is hilarious, the Douche, Jean Ralphio's raps (I love him, I know he is supposed to be annoying but he is my favorite recurring character- "How bout you turn that friz-own uside diggity?"). I also love that nearly all of the characters are in the same place in this episode, so we can just enjoy them all being together and super drunk.

5. "Telethon" (2/22)-I love the way this episode becomes about Leslie and her friendship with Ann (the sleeping at the end is super fun). Also, I love the accountant. And "Pawnee's most bookable celebrity" And the beginning of Detlef Shremp. No a huge episode in terms of moving the plot along (except with Mark and Ann), but this episode is just one hilarious thing after another.

4."Fancy Party" (3/9)- Andy and April's wedding is hilarious and sweet. Their vows to each other can make me tear up. Chris Trager's dancing is hilarious, Jean Ralphio's toast advice is amazing, and Tom Haverford's feeling on best men is clearly on point. The wedding is lovely, but I actually love the subplot with Ann and Donna too- Retta is absolutely hilarious in this episode- "Are you Nell, from the movie Nell?"

3. Ron and Tammy Part 2 (3/4)- The first Ron and Tammy episode is great because it is so unexpected (it made my brother's list), but the second episode takes it to a whole new level (come on, Ron Swanson with braids in a kimono?). The two biggest highlights, I think, are the police interviews about their fight at the police party ("Real piece of work") and the intervention. I especially love Donna and Andy's speech and Ron's reaction to his own film ("That's you, that's you talking").This is also one of the best Tom Haverford episodes, culminating in his entrance to Tammy's bridal shower ("Tammy Swanson Swanson!"), seeing Jerry ("Damnit Jerry"), and getting the crap kicked out of him.

2."Go Big or Go Home" (3/1)- Has the Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness- What else do you need? Parks and Rec comes back strong every season, but this season opener was the greatest.Ron and Andy's time with their basketball teams (who would "develop a great rivalry") is a perfect summation of the characters. It also has the beginnings of Chris and Ann's romance, and Rashida Jones is very funny in the episode (though she is even better in the flu episode). Also, props to them for showing the members of the department doing their part-time jobs while the government was on hiatus. Throwing Jerry's painting in the lake gets me every time.

1. "Greg Pikitis"- (2/ 7)-  My favorite episode of all time. I realize this may not seem like the obvious choice, but watch the episode again. It is literally perfect. Every line is funny. Stories are moved forward and bonds change, but in such a funny way. it is also the first time we see Andy get to work as Bert Macklin, FBI agent ("I'm not crying, I'm just allergic to jerks!"). Also, Amy Poehler is so funny from the first shot on as a crazed Leslie Knope. I fully believe that Parks and Rec is best when it keeps its scale small, and this episode shows its strength when it just puts most of its characters at a party and have at it, because by this point you can just genuinely enjoy spending time with them.

Alright,  which episodes am I missing? What would you name as the best?

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  1. I just started watching Parks and Rec (I'm currently at Season 2). My favorite episodes so far are "Ron and Tammy" and "The Camel".

    I absolutely loved the script for Ron and Tammy! Offerman was incredibly funny in that episode, and his deadpan humor really made my day.

    What I really liked about the Camel episode is how Leslie chose her team's composite collage (because it definitely wasn't a mural!) over Mark's plain but spot-on spirit of Painting. It was touching, really. Because when she saw how the police department were in glee for their "Dogs in Fire" collage, she decided to choose their original piece.

    I don't regret I'm six or seven years late in watching this series.

    Nope, not one bit.



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