- I'm a little amused that this is mostly the way reaction for Eagleton can be divided: people who didn't like this episode much have adored the season so far, and people who have mostly been indifferent about the season so far really enjoyed this episode. (Someone else has really hated all the post-Harvest Festival episodes and for some reason that really bums me out, aww; mostly because I personally haven't felt this good about thirty consecutive episodes of one TV show.) A lot of these reactions seem to tie into how people feel about Leslie/Ben, too, I think?
As someone who really thinks they've held back more on Leslie/Ben than they could have (I mean, Leslie is still out being a goddess and Ben is still getting settled into this town) and really loves that, and as someone who also has simultaneous Leslie/everyone-ever friendship feelings, and whose love for this show is rooted in 'Leslie is my hero and everything I want to be and the greatest of best friends and greatest of ladies' feelings, I enjoyed it a lot.
- Oh my god, Leslie Knope, you fabulous human being.
- because okay, really: in Lindsay Carlisle Shay's introduction scene, there was a cut-away shot to April holding up scissors and looking kind of murderous, and there was some tag going around on Tumblr talking about how April was awesome because she acts indifferent but would cut people up for being mean to her friends, or something, and I really don't think that's what that cut-away showed at all, because Lindsay Carlisle Shay is just an incredibly annoying person so of course April wanted to kill her, who wouldn't? - but weirdly enough, I do think what this episode came down to was what Leslie does to inspire that kind of loyalty in people?
Leslie throws people-specific birthday parties. She gives up jobs that will take her away from her hometown. She'll get guilted out of dumping garbage into enemy territory, but she will throw a punch if you insult her favourite diner/waffles. She'll get together a wiffle ball team and field in a day, but if you ask her about it she'll only tell you she works with some really great people.
So Ron will smile when Leslie tells him his next party will be "a rager", because he's figured out that's not going to be true. Ann will threaten anyone who comes in Leslie's way or gives her a hard time with extreme violence. Ben will continue to glower at anyone who tries to put Leslie or her work down. April will keep voluntarily helping out with spur-of-the-moment children's concerts and children's ball games. (I like to think that Lindsay Carlisle Shay was given one of the lousier holding cells in Pawnee.) And everyone she works with will be ready to put their jobs on the line because she believes, fiercely and with everything she has, that she can always do something. They've never been given reason to act otherwise.
Oh Rachna, you fucking sap.
- Eagleton was over-the-top, but it made me cackle. The jail scenes did it, I think - how about some herbal tea? Here's a towel in a colour that looks amazing on you. Here are scones (we only have maple and walnut, though, sorry). And take a prison gift-bag before you go. A prison gift-bag.
- Lindsay Carlisle Shay (whose name I will only type in full) was pretty excellent as a stupid jerk. I'm convinced I feel this way because Leslie called her a stupid fartface in a snooty English accent, because those are my favourite things - snooty-people mockery and insults with "face" tacked onto the ends of them. (My favourite insults are "your face" and "stupidhead", you should ask anyone I know. especially my sister: "You're dumb." "Your face is dumb." "At least I have a face." "I'd rather have no face than yours." The height of intelligent debate.)
- Loved the groundwork Leslie laid out for the steady increase of Ron's anxiety, especially Andy very subtle clue giveaway, and April needling him with orders for inflatable saxophones and fedoras, because clearly she's teasing him about Duke Silver (which we know she knows about, hooray!). And how perfect was his present? I teared up, you guys, and it's that final scene's fault.
The give-and-take in that relationship is usually only seen in the background, where one of them pushes the other just a little bit to get things that are central to the plot done, but then occasionally we get things like this, storylines that focus on the tangible ways they affect each other and help each other and make each other better, and ugh, just. this friendship is fucking flawless. It's shifted a lot over the last couple of years, and it went from the way he used to kind-of give her things to do because he was lazy and knew she'd do them all, to him giving her things to do because he trusts in her ability to do them, to him giving her things to do because he trusts in ability to care for them, and now we have him trusting her ability to care for him. And that's significant, because this man's best friendship was someone he never talked to, and he's had two awful ex-wives, and he gets joy in the solitary things. I've been thinking about this and even the way he actually teases her in Woman of the Year gives me feelings, because I can't imagine him giving into the urge to do something as simple and friendly as that, you know? The joy this friendship gives me is just unparalleled, basically; it's my favourite one on the show, hands-down.
- Other little things:
- Andy trying to figure out what Ron was to him cracked me up.
- I really loved Tom's little "hire me!" speech - ending with Andy trying to give him a high-five, which April tried to stop immediately, which killed me.
- I also loved Ben looking offended on both Leslie and Pawnee's behalf, and the way he said "Leslie" without even looking at her face before she got into the fight at park, because he knew she'd be angry. And I adored the way he is automatically her right-hand man, if necessary - teamwork!
- Tom and Ben's friendship continues to be fucking delightful, because they keep bonding over the weirdest things, and oh man, their friendship is so unlikely, but they work together so well. Their faces when they smelled the vanilla!! OH, BOYS. (And how about how Tom and Ann and Leslie and Ben will be able to double-date as BFFs and as endgame-'ships eventually? I'm just saying.)
- Leslie Knope is ridiculously expressive. Amy and her facial expressions have been on fire for the last three weeks.
- Andy/April and the little married couple things they're doing make me so happy. I loved that April took an active part in the wiffle ball game we saw, and the way she was actually teasing Andy over who he's rooting for. too cute. I knew there was a reason why established relationships are my favourite kind of relationship.
- This is dumb, but the way we saw Leslie and Ben at the front of the car together also made me stupidly happy, because it's so couple-y, and it's so married couple-y. And the fact that we saw it from the back made me giddier, because that's how I've been looking at my parents and my uncles and aunts for years - from the back of the car, at the front of the car, arguing or discussing things or giving each other a hard time. WOW, THERE ARE TOO MANY FEELINGS IN THIS ENTRY.
What do you mean, "do you watch anything else?"