“Parks and Recreation”: Roast it and toast it

One sip of wine is more than enough to get the parents of three little monsters a bit toasty at Donna and Joe’s rehearsal dinner, and that’s where Leslie and Ben fall in line. It’s been too long since the rowdy couple got drunk, so, for goodness sake, let them splurge all they want!

Get that hotel room!

Make some more babies!

(Wait, what?)

Have that extra drink!

Leave the kids overnight with Roz! (Played by legendary Amy Poehler/Tina Fey teamster and SNL alum Rachel Dratch.)

Dial 867-5309 a hundred times!

Decide to run for Congress!

Sure, it was the wine speaking, but sometimes a little alcohol gets you to say exactly what you want to say. It got Ben to say it four times, in fact, which is evidence enough to prove he’s been thought about it more than once. Of course he has. A teenager running for mayor is more ambitious than he lets on.

It’s the perfect scenario for Parks and Recreation. The show runners have already given Leslie her dream job. The Newport land bid is all but settled now. Donna and Joe have a beautiful wedding in the aptly named “Donna and Joe,” though this episode isn’t as isolated on the two characters as “Leslie and Ron.”

Where does the show go after all of its initial season seven story lines are resolved? Simple, in retrospect: continue bringing back outstanding old characters — now, the hilarious Kathryn Hahn as Jennifer Barkley — and let Ben chase a dream.

“Donna and Joe,” singled out on its own this week apart from the show’s normal Tuesday night doubleheaders, is a smart placement to bridge the resolution of first-half conflicts (Gryzzl feud and bid for land) and introduce the next. Parks ends this month, people, and its ship is sailing to Washington, D.C.

But let’s not forget the heart of “Donna and Joe,” which is happening around a beautiful wedding — albeit one that comes and goes in a flash. It draws out Donna’s romantic side, a part of her character we rarely get to see. Although the wedding itself isn’t a major point of emphasis (more like the rehearsal and reception, as we’d expect from a Meagle), the vows are really nicely done, allowing us to feel a glimmer of happiness for the character.

She has chosen April to be her maid of honor, not only because she loves her like a sister but because Ludgate is a hard-ass with a soft inner core for love. She’s a drill sergeant, whipping the dramatic Meagle crowd into shape, but her ears are open to what Donna wants because she actually cares about her happiness.

Leslie cries, as Leslie always does. April avoids all public displays of affection, although you know she’s really happy. Jerry/Larry/Terry, well, gets the best gift of all, as Donna’s place setting trick everyone into calling him by his real name: Garry.

The wedding isn’t quite the spectacle of Leslie and Ben’s and it’s definitely not the surprise of April and Andy’s; in fact, it’s the most put-together one of the Parks weddings. The church and reception hall look like Donna treated herself to the best Pawnee has to offer. Heck, she probably did and I don’t blame her.

The timing was right for everyone to splurge this week.

My favorite thing: There were too many amazing things about this episode to name just one. So I’ll name a few. Leslie’s already getting turned on by Ben’s campaign. Tom and Lucy’s matching outfits. Three bridesmaids, three different dresses. The Questlove appearance was so hilariously out of the blue, playing Donna’s estranged brother, but it was so perfect.


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