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|My problem is I don't know how to tell if we're doing good, because when you play a rock show, it's really easy to know if you're doing great because chicks will flash their boobs at you. When you're up on stage. And you're like, "That must've sounded pretty good." But I can't, if that happens here my eyes will fall out of my head and I'll die.|
|— Andy Dwyer|
In the episode, Leslie Knope and her boyfriend Justin Anderson seek to reunite Leslie's mother with her teenage flame. Meanwhile, April Ludgate's feelings for Andy Dwyer continue to bloom, while Ann Perkins appears to be growing apart from Mark Brendanawicz.
Leslie Knope throws her annual "Galentine's Day" party for her female friends, celebrated the day before Valentine's Day. She asks her mother, Marlene Griggs-Knope, to tell the story about how she fell in love with a lifeguard that saved her from drowning in 1968, but the two had to break it off over objections from Marlene's parents. Leslie later tells the story to Justin Anderson, who is amazed by the tale and wants to reunite the two. He successfully tracks down Marlene's old flame, Frank Beckerson, so they decide to drive to Illinois and reunite the two on Valentine's Day at the Edward Phillips Senior Center Valentine's Dance, which the Parks Department is overseeing.
Leslie and Justin meet Frank, who is a strange and depressed man who has frequent panic attacks. Leslie begins to have doubts about bringing him to her mother and tries to call it off, but Justin insists that it must be done. At the dance, where Andy Dwyer's band Mouse Rat is playing, Frank meets up with Marlene, who is repulsed by Frank's past, current unemployment, and overall failure at life. She ultimately turns down his offer at a second chance at love, prompting him to storm onto the stage and denounce her over the microphone before leaving. Leslie apologizes to her mother for bringing Frank. She is later upset with Justin, but has trouble pinpointing why. Ron Swanson explains that Justin is a "tourist," meaning that he takes vacations in people's lives and only cares about telling interesting stories to impress other people, which makes him selfish. Two old women then recognize Ron as jazz saxophonist Duke Silver, but he denies it. Leslie later breaks up with Justin, which Tom Haverford takes especially hard, reacting as if his parents were getting divorced.
Before the senior dance, Tom invites his ex-wife Wendy Haverford to his office in an attempt to woo her romantically, but she rejects him. He then sues her for alimony in an attempt to blackmail her for a date. Tom eventually apologizes at the senior dance and the two part ways. Meanwhile, April Ludgate's boyfriend Derek and his boyfriend Ben mock the senior citizens, which annoys April. They accuse her of changing her ways ever since she began spending time with Andy. She breaks up with them in response. Ann Perkins and Mark Brendanawicz, meanwhile, celebrate their first Valentine's Day together, and while Ann is happy, there are hints that she is bored with such a normal relationship. She later seems jealous when Andy dedicates a song to April, and April seems suspicious of Ann.
At the dance, a senior citizen approaches Ron Swanson and asks for an autograph from Duke Silver. This is a reference to the previous second season episode, "Practice Date", which establishes Ron's secret identity as a jazz musician.
Leslie referred to her Galentine's Day breakfast tradition as "Lilith Fair minus the angst and plus frittatas", a reference to the concert tour and traveling music festival. She also said the love story between Marlene and Frank makes the 2004 romantic comedy film The Notebook look like the 2008 horror film Saw V.
Mark gets Ann a necklace similar to the Heart of the Ocean, the fictional jewelry given to Kate Winslet's character in the 1997 romantic drama film, Titanic.
During one scene in "Galentine's Day", Leslie does a voice impersonation of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Tom mistakes the impression for that of the Arnold Schwarzenegger character Terminator, which prompts Leslie to do that impression as well.
Among the songs performed by Mouse Rat in "Galentine's Day" were "The Way You Look Tonight", originally performed by Fred Astaire in the 1936 film, Swing Time. Andy's bandmate suggests he sing a song more like jazz musician and trumpeter Louis Armstrong, who Andy admits he has never heard of.
Leslie said reuniting Marlene and Frank would be like reuniting Romeo and Juliet, the protagonists of the William Shakespeare play of the same name, or reuniting actress Jennifer Aniston and actor Brad Pitt. Ironically, Justin Theroux, the actor who plays Justin on the show, would go on to marry Jennifer Aniston in real life.
Leslie also warns to the camera for Aniston to "stay away from John Mayer", the musician who previously dated Aniston. In the days prior to the original broadcast of "Galentine's Day", Mayer publicly apologized for a number of explicit sexual and racial comments he had made in the past months, which prompted news outlets to praise Parks and Recreation for the timeliness of their Mayer joke.
Leslie: It's the most romantic story ever. It makes The Notebook look like Saw V.
Leslie: But if you find him and he's weird, like a ventriloquist or a puppeteer or anyone who pretends toys are people, then abort the mission.
Leslie: It's not just a job, gang. We're gonna learn a lot from these seniors. Some of them have been married for half a century. And, no offense, but everybody here is terrible at love. [points to Tom] Divorced, [points to April] dating a gay guy, [points to Ron] divorced twice, [points to Ann and Mark] jury's still out on you two, [points to Jerry] and Jerry, who knows.
Jerry: I've been happily married for 28 years. You've met my wife Gayle many times.
Wendy: Tommy, I just want you to know I'm so grateful for everything you did for me, but I only see us as friends.
Tom: For now. But think how much better our friendship would be if we added...doin' it.
Leslie: Or, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Oh, Jen. I really want you to be happy. Stay away from John Mayer!
Wendy: You're suing me for alimony?
Tom: Yes. When we were married I got accustomed to a certain lifestyle and I'm entitled to money to maintain that lifestyle.
Frank: Marlene! [leans in for kiss]
Leslie: Ooh, no, Poo-Paw! Poo-Paw, no! I'm not Marlene.
Frank: Oh, so sorry. I really should wear my glasses.
Frank: Well, it's been an interesting ride. I got a job at a grocery store, right out of college. Just for a way to make money. Here I am, 40 years later, completely unemployed.
Frank: Take one last look, Marlene, because you'll never see this body again.
April: God, why does everything we do have to be cloaked in like 15 layers of irony?
Ron: He's a tourist. He vacations in peoples' lives, takes pictures, puts them in a scrapbook, and moves on. All he's interested in are stories.