Does anybody do uptight passive-aggression better than Parker Posey? The indie darling’s guest spot on tonight’s episode of Parks and Rec was so pitch-perfect that I can’t wait for her character, Lindsay Carlisle-Shea, to appear on the show again. Just like another memorable guest played by a different funny lady (Megan Mullally’s Tammy Swanson), Lindsay is an important figure from one of our protagonists’ pasts. 35 pounds and one nose job ago, she was Leslie’s best friend and colleague at Pawnee’s Parks Department. But their bond was shattered when Lindsay took a cushy job in Eagleton, the snooty Shelbyville to Pawnee’s earthy Springfield – a job Leslie had turned down.
The former BFFs met again tonight to discuss a fence Eagleton had built to divide its side of a shared park from Pawnee’s side. After Lindsay insulted Ann (“Nursing! You must be so tired and sad”) and, worse, Leslie’s beloved hometown (“Pawnee is, and always will be, a dirty little nightmare from which you’ll never wake up. But it was good seeing you”), our heroine became more determined than ever to get rid of the fence. She, Tom, and Ben then took a trip across the border dividing the towns, and we got a glimpse of the paradise that is Eagleton: Their town hall meetings include complementary crepes made out of porcini mushrooms and Boursin cheese. They give out free iPod Touches and verbana scented soy candles to everyone who attends said meetings. And because of the burg’s cupcake factory, the air always smells like vanilla. It’s a far cry from Pawnee, where residents believe arson is a valid way to solve most problems.
When the Eagletonians failed to respond to her impassioned pleas, Leslie decided to take matters into her own hands. But her plan was thwarted, first by a few wise words from Ben and then by the sudden appearance of Lindsay. The snobby shrew had the nerve to tell Leslie that she only came to Pawnee so that she could pick up waffles from JJ’s Diner… to use them as dog laxatives. Clearly she forgot that nobody besmirches waffles in front of Leslie and gets away with it. Knope jumped on Carlisle-Shea, prompting police officers from both towns – Eagleton’s, of course, arrived on Segways – to turn up and haul each lady to jail.
After a hard night in Eagleton’s prison (they only had maple walnut scones available; the horror!), Leslie got bailed out by Ann – and, finally, came up with a brilliant solution to her problem. In just one day, Knope and co. transformed the scruffy Pawnee side of the park into a beautiful baseball diamond. It was a sweet coda to a great, funny episode; one of the greatest pleasures of Parks and Rec is watching Leslie achieve the seemingly impossible by sheer force of will.
The baseball diamond wasn’t Leslie’s only great accomplishment tonight. She also managed to give Ron the perfect birthday celebration: a solitary night including a cozy chair parked in front of a table piled with steak, bacon, and scotch, and a TV playing Bridge on the River Kwai and The Dirty Dozen. Man, what can’t that centaur lady do?
- Ron is so fiercely protective of his privacy that he’s had his birthday redacted on all government documents. It took Leslie three years of snooping to figure out the date – and she only managed to do it after bribing the Baskin Robbins guy, who knew when Ron was eligible to come in for a free scoop of Rum Raisin.
- Hey P&R writers: More Donna, please! Though she only had one real line tonight, it was hysterical: “Eagleton is a bunch of rich snobs. And that’s coming from someone who has a Mercedes.”
- Leslie: “Our side [of the park] is this scrappy piece of land where kids go to smash fluorescent light tubes. But it has a lot of heart.” April: “That’s what people always say when something sucks.”
- “Where are my kids supposed to play, the rock quarry? There’s rocks in there!”
- Joey Plunkett, who broke an arm trying to climb the fence: “Uh, I can wave with this arm.” Leslie: “No you can’t. Both your arms are broken.”
- Ann strikes fear into Ron’s heart when she describes the crazy blowout Leslie planned for her last birthday. First, she kidnapped Ann from work and took her to a cheesy Mexican restaurant. Then she brought Ann back to her house for a party that included a bouncy castle, and karaoke, and a face painter who painted Ann to look like “a fairy tiger.” What would I have to do to get Leslie to plan a party for me?
- What disgusted Ron more: Chris’s veggie loaf, or when Chris wished him a happy birthday, then kissed him on the mouth?
- Tom’s finest moment tonight: “You listen to me, Lindsay Carlisle-Shea! Why don’t you take your fancy dog, get in your Escalade, and if you have any job openings, maybe you should let me know about them! I’m sick of being treated like I’m not willing to relocate to Eagleton, because I am! So here’s what you can do, lady. Take this resume, and shove it into your human resources slot.”
- And Andy’s: “I love you like a father, who’s not that much older than me. Like a young uncle. Or like, uh, you’re my camp counselor. But we’re adults, so we hang out it’s not weird. Or actually, here’s what it is—you’re my lacrosse coach—”
How did you like tonight’s Parks, PopWatchers?