|Why do I want to build this park so bad? Maybe because a pit filled with garbage isn't the best that we can do in America. You know, in Russia they could pretend that pit was a park. Bring their kids down there, ‘Hey Vlad, uh, look at these rocks. Let's pretend they're potatoes. Nikolai, do you want to swim in the dirt?’ But not here, okay? 'Cause we're a nation of dreamers and it is my dream to build a park that I one day visit with my White House staff on my birthday. And they say, ‘President Knope, this park is awesome. Now we understand why you are the first female President of the United States."|
|— Leslie Knope|
Leslie Knope, Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department for Pawnee, Indiana, plans for an upcoming town hall meeting about her proposal to turn a construction pit into a park. She invites her mother Marlene Griggs-Knope, an official with the county school system, but she does not appear supportive and tells Leslie she may be too busy to attend. Leslie holds a subcommittee meeting with Tom Haverford, interested citizen Ann Perkins, intern April Ludgate and city planner Mark Brendanawicz. Mark warns her it might be too early for a meeting with the public, who could opt to vote the proposal down if they are unhappy with it. Leslie remains confident about the meeting and says the group will be doing neighborhood canvassing to try to win support.
The canvassing is largely unsuccessful. Most of the supporters of the park say they will not be able to attend the meeting; Mark, April and Tom speak with one seemingly interested resident, who is implied to be a sex offender. Leslie becomes frustrated with the lack of success and attempts to push poll the community residents; she suggests phrasing the question, "Wouldn't you rather have a park than a storage facility for nuclear waste?" Tom leaves the canvassing group to call prospective contractors about the park project, hinting at accepting bribes and making corrupt deals. Several residents express a lack of support for the park; resident Kate Speevak vows to attend the public meeting and voice her disapproval after a frustrated Leslie says, "You don't care about your kids if you don't support this park." The canvassing ends with an angry Leslie finding Mark and April playing Rock Band with Ann's boyfriend, Andy Dwyer.
Leslie tries to get her boss Ron Swanson to postpone the town hall meeting, but Ron says he cannot because the City manager Paul Iaresco has "fast-tracked" the project. As the meeting begins, Leslie notices her mother has attended after all, along with many of the people critical of the project. Led by Kate Speevak, the crowd says they do not support the proposal and are angry an environmental study has not been conducted. Leslie tries to pretend April is a supportive resident, but one of the audience members recognizes her from the canvassing.
When Ron tells Leslie to try to place a positive spin on the meeting and prevent a vote from occurring, Leslie attempts to filibuster the meeting. Kate pushes for a vote, but Leslie says she will not hold one until she has heard from each audience member individually. They criticize and yell at Leslie until 9 p.m., when she announces time is up and ends the meeting. Marlene, who privately described the meeting as a "train-wreck", nevertheless expresses her pride for Leslie with a smile. Although frustrated with the meeting itself, Leslie says she is happy to have hosted her first subcommittee meeting. When one resident, Lawrence says, "Hey park lady, you suck", Leslie says with pride, "Hear that? He called me 'park lady.'"
- Amy Poehler
- Rashida Jones
- Paul Schneider
- Aziz Ansari
- Nick Offerman
- Aubrey Plaza
- Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer
- Eric Edelstein as Lawrence
- John Ingle as Man with Dog
- Jim O'Heir as Jerry Gergich
- Lennon Parham as Kate Speevak
- Pamela Reed as Marlene Griggs-Knope
- Phil Reeves as City Manager Paul Iaresco
- Retta Sirleaf as Donna Meagle
- various pigeons in courtyard
Leslie: I'm not above using my expertise to change hearts and minds if the cause is just. When I was in sixth grade, I was voted best dressed by 87 votes. And there were only 63 people in my class.
Old man: It's a good idea, but I'm just not sure.
Ann: Okay, which part are you not sure about?
Old man: Turning the pit into a park.
Ann: That's kinda the whole thing.
Leslie: My mom's here... [ breathes heavily ] my mom's here... [ looks at fire alarm ] No, I can't do that; that's illegal.
Mark: Any questions?
Lawrence: I have more of a comment than a question.
Mark: Go for it.
Lawrence: It's for the guy in the casts.
Andy: Here we go, Lawrence.
Leslie: Yes, yes, yes... That is Andy Dwyer. He is a local resident and he tragically fell in the pit.
Lawrence: Oh yeah, I don't care about any of that. This guys plays music all night in his garage. It's driving me nuts.
Andy: [ to the crew ] Lawrence lives with uh, his grandma, which is pretty awesome. He takes care of her, yes, but he's a douchebag.
Lawrence: It's loud, it's abusive and it's waking up my birds.
Andy: You have birds now?
Lawrence: Yeah, I have birds. I have nice, pretty expensive birds and you play that music it wakes 'em up.
Andy: Look, I don't work for the government, okay? Uh, I do play rock and roll, guilty as charged. I'm in a band. It's called "Just the Tip" and actually, if anyone here plays bass, we need a bassist.
Leslie: Yes, let's take a five minute break, shall we?
Leslie: And now I'd like to take a magical journey through a little something I'd like to call The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Jester.
Woman: Excuse me, can't you read that children's book on your own?
Leslie: I have the floor. [ pauses ] There once was a boy named Milo. He didn't know what to do with himself. Not just sometimes--
Woman: Okay, alright. You know what? This is a public forum which means that we all get to tell you what we think.
Leslie: Well, you did already talk, ma'am and I would love to listen to someone else, someone I don't know. Uh... [ closes eyes and points at April ] That girl over there with long brown hair and the yellow top. Could you tell us how you feel about this park? Go ahead.
April: Hi. Uh, I'm a youth in the community and I think a new park is a great idea. And I fully support it, as would the rest of the youth in the community.
Lawrence: Hey, hey. I recognize her. That kid came to my door yesterday.
Woman: Oh my god, they have planted people in this audience. Unbelievable! You know what? We all agree that this park is a bad idea, we should just take a vote. Right? [ crowd murmurs ]
Leslie: Okay, we will take a vote. Before we do that, I want everyone up, lined up behind that microphone and I wanna hear it from all of you, one by one.
Lawrence: Hey, park lady. You suck!
Leslie: Hear that? He called me park lady.
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