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Top 10 BEST Parks and Recreation Episodes

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Hannah Collins
Pawnee: “When you’re here, then you’re home.” For this list, we’ll be looking at the episodes across all seven seasons of the NBC sitcom that made us laugh, cry and/or cringe the most. Be warned if you’ve yet to binge-watch this modern classic comedy as we will be talking spoilers ahead. Our list includes “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show,” “The Debate,” “Leslie and Ben,” “Li’l Sebastian,” “April and Andy’s Fancy Party,” and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Parks and Recreation Episodes.
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Top 10 Parks and Recreation Episodes


Pawnee: “When you’re here, then you’re home.” Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Parks and Recreation Episodes.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the episodes across all seven seasons of the NBC sitcom that made us laugh, cry and/or cringe the most. Be warned if you’ve yet to binge-watch this modern classic comedy as we will be talking spoilers ahead.

#10: “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show”


The final season of this beloved series marked not only the end of the show, but also a show within the show. After a slew of different jobs, Andy finally found his calling when he started hosting a low-budget kids show. As well as getting some of the old Parks and Rec team to host segments, Andy plays himself, Johnny Karate and FBI Agent Burt Macklin. It also included fake commercials featuring some familiar faces: The episode served as an early farewell for April and Andy who eventually left Pawnee for April’s new career and proof that, along with the “Leslie & Ron” episode, the show stayed sharp to the end.

#9: “Ron & Tammy: Part 2”


No name in “Parks and Rec” is as feared as Tammy’s. After being introduced in season two, Ron’s second ex-wife - played by actor Nick Offerman’s real-life wife, Megan Mullally - returned to seductively terrorize him. At first, he resists thanks to his stable relationship with Tom’s ex-wife Wendy, but Tammy #2 ups the ante by pretending to date Tom. It isn’t long before Ron ends up remarried and jailed. The biggest victim? His hair. Things only get worse in season four’s “Ron and Tammys,” when Ron’s first ex-wife, Tammy #1 returns to claim him, only to be challenged to a drinking contest by Ron’s mom... also named Tammy. Leslie throws her hat in, but hilariously crashes out.

#8: “Harvest Festival”


Other than the filling of the pit, the Harvest Festival is one of the Parks department’s biggest projects. Of course, the lead-up to its grand opening is far from smooth. First, Tribal Leader Ken Hotate of the Wamapoke Tribe raises concerns that the festival is situated on an ancient burial site, which - following a tip - the local press spins into fake news that the area is “cursed,” reenacted with clunky computer animation. Then, Pawnee’s most famous tiny celebrity, Li’l Sebastian, vanishes. Don’t worry, he turns up eventually… at the center of a corn maze. In the end, Leslie manages to come to an agreement with Ken who agrees to pretend to a lift a curse that never existed.

#7: “The Debate”


In the race for the empty City Council seat, Leslie is faced by charming idiot, Bobby Newport, played by Paul Rudd. Despite Leslie being over-qualified for the job, she knew she had to go on the offensive to contend with Bobby’s popularity. Unfortunately, she just comes off as mean, and has to switch tactics. Her pornstar doppelganger, Brandi Maxxxx’s presence didn’t help either. Leslie finally gets her moment to shine in a speech accusing the Newport family of holding the town hostage with their wealth. Even Bobby was a fan! During all this, Andy reenacts the movie “Road House” at her campaign HQ to distract from his failure to televize the debate for Leslie’s supporters.

#6: “Leslie and Ben”


In season five, Leslie is forced by Councilman Jamm to come up with enough money to secure the plot of land she needs for her park. She and the Parks department quickly throw together a plan for a fundraising gala, and like all Leslie Knope plans, everything comes together perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that she and Ben decide to use the event to double up as an impromptu wedding. Of course, Jamm just can’t let Leslie have anything nice, but Ron gallantly comes to the rescue. Just when we think that the nuptials are off, the gang surprises Leslie by hosting a beautiful and intimate ceremony in - where else? - the Parks office.

#5: “Li’l Sebastian”


It’s a dark day in Pawnee when Li’l Sebastian passes away. The Parks department are devastated (well, apart from Ben who still doesn’t get it… But, they use their grief productively by putting together an epic memorial, along with some over-the-top assistance from Tom and Jean-Ralphio’s new company, Entertainment 720. Andy also pitches in to outdo Elton John by 5,000 more metaphorical candles in the wind. Backstage, Leslie and Ben are forced to bribe a maintenance guy into keeping quiet about their relationship after he witnesses them kissing, resulting in another fatality: Ron’s moustache. The episode ends with Leslie starting her journey towards City Council, all while knowing her affair could jeopardize everything.

#4: “April and Andy’s Fancy Party”


This episode has possibly one of the best openers, as Ron asserts his dominance over the department by pretending to pull a tooth from his mouth during a meeting with a pair of pliers. And that’s not the only surprise the gang have in store for them. Later, at the titular “fancy party” in April and Andy’s house, it’s revealed that the fledgling couple are actually getting married. Everyone is thrilled except for control-freak Leslie, who worries they’re jumping into a big commitment too hastily and does everything she can to talk April out of it. Uncharacteristically, she totally fails, which is good because the ceremony is one of most touching moments of the show’s run.

#3: “The Comeback Kid”


Get on your feet - come on, sing it with us now! Leslie faces a crisis in this Season Four episode when her campaign managers leave her to run by herself for City Council. Luckily, the Parks and Rec team rally around her, with the exception of Ben who worries his presence will be “toxic” because of his reputation as a failed teen mayor. This leaves him free to work on his calzone recipes and uh… claymations. Leslie doesn’t fare much better. A day of mishaps culminates in a rally at an ice rink without enough carpet to get her to a comically small podium. The stopping and starting of her entrance music is brilliantly ironic.

#2: “Flu Season”


This hospital-based episode is particularly stressful for Ann, who is forced to care for the bedridden trio of April, Leslie and Chris, aka the worst patients ever. April is still mad at Ann for accidentally kissing Andy and finds ways to punish her even in her weakened state. Chris, whose body is like a finely tuned machine, completely breaks down, becoming 100% reliant on Ann like a baby. Leslie, on the other hand, is the opposite.Determined to return to work, she manages to sneak away to deliver a surprisingly coherent speech. Once recovered, Chris decides that he and Ben should extend their stay in Pawnee, as they’ve started to put down roots.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Two Parties”

“One Last Ride”

“Jerry’s Retirement”

#1: “The Fight”


Leslie and Ann’s strong friendship is one of the things we love the most about “Parksand Recreation,” but like all relationships, these two have been through trying times. In season three, they have their first fight - and it’s a real messy one. When a job in the Health department becomes available, Leslie convinces a reluctant Ann to study up to be interviewed for it the next day, only to find Ann partying at the Snake Hole Lounge later. The pair get into a huge argument, drunkenly fuelled by Tom’s “Snake Juice.” And they’re not the only ones to over-indulge. The BFFs make up in the morning - in between alternating bin-barfing in the interview room!
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