After three months of closure due to the Pawnee budget crisis and government shutdown, Leslie Knope excitedly informs her fellow employees that the Parks Department has been reopened, although on a shoestring budget. State auditors Chris Traeger and Ben Wyatt announce they may only conduct existing park maintenance, but Leslie wants to offer better programs and services. Meanwhile, the always-optimistic Chris continues trying to convince Ann Perkins to go on a date with him. Ann finds him too intense, but Leslie convinces her to accept a date and try to persuade Chris to increase the parks budget.
Due to popular demand from citizens, Ben restarts the Youth Basketball League, although with only two teams. The teams practice at the North Pawnee Recreation Center. They are coached by Ron Swanson, who is extremely strict and disciplined with his players, and Andy Dwyer, who is very laid back and lets his kids go out of control. Tom Haverford, who referees the game, becomes jealous when his ex-wife Wendy Haverford arrives to support Ron. Tom insists he is happy with his new girlfriend Lucy and does not mind that Wendy is dating Ron. However, Tom repeatedly calls false fouls against Ron's players until all of them are benched. When Ron and Wendy get angry, Tom ejects them from the games and declares it a forfeit, which concerns Lucy.
Ann finds she enjoys her date with Chris. When she asks why he is always so positive, he explains he was expected to die as a baby due to a blood disorder, so he now feels fortunate to be alive every day. Leslie crashes the date to help Ann persuade Chris to increase the Parks budget, but to her surprise, Ben also arrives, having predicted Leslie's plan. The four end up taking their date to a gay bar called The Bulge, where Chris tells Leslie he will consider increasing the parks budget. Leslie excitedly declares "mission accomplished", accidentally giving away her scheme and prompting Chris to leave, hurt that Ann had an ulterior motive for the date. Later, however, Ann apologizes to Chris and asks for another date, to which he happily agrees.
Meanwhile, April Ludgate shows up to work after having disappeared for three months. Andy still has a crush on April, who previously liked Andy until she learned Ann had kissed him. Andy had been leaving messages to April ever since, but she did not return them because she was in Venezuela, where she met her new boyfriend, the handsome Eduardo. A discouraged Andy seeks advice from Leslie, who encourages him not to give up and to "go big or go home". Inspired by her own advice, Leslie proposes restoring the parks department with a Harvest Festival, which was once a Pawnee tradition until eliminated by budget cuts. Leslie and the other parks employees agree that if it is not a success, the parks department will shut down. Impressed by their enthusiasm, Chris and Ben agree to the idea.
Leslie: The bankrupt government of Pawnee has been shut down all summer so it's been three months of no work, no meetings, no memos, no late nights, nothing. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Woman: These are way too tight.
Tom: Well, the real Cinderella didn't have hippo feet.
Leslie: Tom, we're back.
Tom: Jeremy, suck it. By the way I've been giving away free sports bras to the girls at Hot Dog on a Stick.
Leslie: Our budget's been slashed to zero. I tried to buy fertilizer the other day for the soccer field... request denied. We literally can't buy s**t.
Leslie: Would you be cool doing things that a prostitute does?
Leslie: Minus the money?
Ann: Definitely yes then.
Ben: Newspaper headline was "Ice Town costs ice clown his town crown."
Ben: They were big into rhymes.
April: I'm sorry, I was in Venezuela.
Andy: Oh, really? Wow. Across the pond.
Leslie: You go big or you go home. And you don't seem like the kind of guy who goes home.
Andy: I'm not. I don't even really have a home.
Andy: I thought you were going to say yes, but that's OK. Because I'll be back tomorrow to ask you again. And again, the next day. And the next day. Not Friday I have to go visit my cousin. But I will be back after that to ask you again.