TV Recap: Parks & Rec, ‘Donna & Joe’

Written Megan LaBruna

Parks and Recreation

Donna & Joe Plot Summary :

April (Aubrey Plaza) tries to keep Donna (Rhetta) and Joe’s (Keegan-Michael Key) wedding running smoothly. Jennifer (Kathryn Hahn) makes Ben and Leslie an offer they can’t refuse (and which they don’t remember accepting).

We’re now into February, which means I have come to the sad realization that we are in the final month of Parks and Rec. We’ll be saying goodbye to our favorite civil service employees before we even get to say goodbye to winter. Luckily for viewers, this week’s episode was reason to celebrate…Meagle gets married!!

Photo Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC
Photo Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC

While nothing will top Ben and Leslie’s wedding. Donna’s (Rhetta) was pretty entertaining. Not only did she have Ginuwine in attendance, she had a house full of Meagles that are notorious for not getting along. Seriously, if you thought your family was bad, just listen to Donna list off the statistics of what has happened at past event gatherings. My favorite might be that no more than three Meagles are allowed on a flight together, but like she says, they give good gifts; “Gotta get that Flatware”. Surprisingly, April (Aubrey Plaza), of all people managed to wrangle up the key trouble makers and put the fear of April Ludgate into them, allowing for a drama free wedding weekend. Is it possible she is getting closer to what her dream career might be? If this is any indication she’ll make an excellent summer camp counselor. Not only would she keep those kids in line, but she would be more than capable of retaliation if any camper tried to prank her.

We finally get a glimpse of Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben’s (Adam Scott) children. Apparently they do exist, but only to destroy everything including their poor nanny’s sanity (guest star Rachel Dratch). Donna’s wedding weekend provides a much needed night away from the chaos for Ben and Leslie, if only they can get out of their house in one piece. Amidst all that is going on, they receive a visit from Jennifer Barkley (Kathryn Hahn), happy, childless Jennifer Barkley. Normally she is approaching Leslie for career advancement opportunities, however this time it’s Ben she has in mind. She gives them one day to decide if Ben will run as congressmen for the House of Representatives. With this major decision, Leslie comes up with a plan. During the rehearsal dinner Ben can act how he would if he decides to run for the position and during the wedding he can act like he would if he declines the offer. At the end of the weekend he can decide which option he likes better.

Photo Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC
Photo Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC

Leslie of course wants him to run for the position, but she surprisingly reels back her tendency to become too involved. She wants him to make the decision for himself. Unfortunately, pretending to run becomes more of a reality after a night of drinking. The pair wake up to find that Ben has drunkenly agreed to run for the House of Representatives and Leslie attempted to dial 867-5309 about a hundred times….it is a great song though, so I can’t even blame her.

After some pressure by the media and a discussion with Leslie, Ben decides to accept his decision and declares he is running. He shuts down the media’s accusations of Ice Town like a boss, by pointing out the fact that his current job, which he’s actually good at, is all about solving problems, which is exactly what he’ll be doing. If you weren’t already in love with Ben Wyatt, you might be after his campaign announcement.

Ron (Nick Offerman) also manages to stir up some trouble in paradise between Tom (Aziz Ansari) and Lucy (Natalie Morales). Tom having been appointed Donna’s Butler of Honor buys Lucy a matching dress for the wedding. He confides to Ron that he would marry Lucy tomorrow if possible, because he’s so in love. Ron being a matter of fact man who doesn’t comprehend the complexity of feelings relays Tom’s exact words to Lucy. To punish Ron, Tom blocks his access to all the delicious meat until he takes back everything he said to Lucy. Ron tries to rectify the situation which only makes it worse by telling Lucy how Tom simply meant that he can imagine being with Lucy and their kids on a private island that he will eventually buy. If that doesn’t freak out a person after only a few weeks of dating, I don’t know what does. Fortunately, Ron is able to share his Ron Swanson wisdom that if you’re in love, you should say you’re in love, that’s all, problem solved.

Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC
Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC

Finally! We get to the wedding. Donna looks beautiful and marries the man of her dreams (Keegan-Michael Key) without any interruption. But of course, in a family that is used to drama, it can be almost boring when everything goes exactly as planned. April manages to fix that with a little wedding gift of her own: Donna’s estranged brother comes in, throws a microwave ranting about something from their childhood and then leaves, adding just the right amount of drama for a beautiful and entertaining wedding.

Oh, and Terry (Jim O’Heir) is now Garry thanks to his “mislabeled” seating arrangement card. It only took 30 years, but finally his coworkers are calling him by his actual name….even if they think it’s a mistake. We’ll see how long that lasts.

While this episode had a few great cameos, I’m still holding out an appearance by Chris and Ann, there’s still a few episodes left to make that wish come true!

Parks & Rec airs Tuesday nights on NBC.

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