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How a Bill Becomes a Law

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Take the easy way out. I always do! It's easy!
Tom Haverford

"How a Bill Becomes a Law" is the third episode of season 5 of the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. It originally aired on October 4, 2012 to 3.53 million viewers.

Storyline Edit

Leslie is video chatting with Ben, showing off her new council chambers that comes with her own private bathroom. However, fellow Councilman Jeremy Jamm interrupts the call when she discovers he's using her bathroom. He is frustrated he doesn't have a private bathroom of his own and thinks her bathroom shouldn't be private. He attempts to make a deal with her, promising to only use her bathroom for brief "liquid" stops, but he is only rejected.

Chris Traeger, inspired by his therapist and no longer relying on his mother and running coach for counsel, has started a 311 phone service. The Parks and Recreation Department employees are taking calls from concerned citizens who want to voice complaints and requests to their local government and are then directing their calls to the proper city department.

On Pawnee Today, Joan Callamezzo criticizes Leslie and the City Council for being unable to pass any significant legislature that would benefit Pawnee. Leslie then announces her Leslie No Fun in the Sun Act she has been pushing to pass the City Council vote, which would extend the local community pool hours during the summer so the swim team can practice for longer, and inspired by the local Pawnee Porpoises Swim Team. She is confident the bill will easily pass.

In Washington D.C., April suggests she and Ben should make a surprise road trip to Pawnee to surprise Leslie and Andy. However, they have gotten stuck in the parking lot due to a presidential motorcade that's nearby and are stuck exploring Ben's unique music collection, his Star Trek fan fiction, and April's bizarre conversational style.

Back at the call center, the Parks and Rec department are having trouble fulfilling Chris' all-in-one call center. Despite rerouting all calls to one center, there still seems to be some disconnect once the calls are transferred to the correct department. A woman named Diane Lewis continually calls Ron's line, demanding the city fix a pothole in front of her house. Ron eventually decides, due to the gridlock of government and lack of help Diane has received, that he will go to fix the pothole himself, along with Andy.

Looking to parlay a membership with Pawnee's most exclusive smoke shop, Tom makes an appointment with Jamm, an active member, for a checkup. Jamm completely overlooks Tom's subtle hint for a smoke shop membership; however, Tom finds out that Jamm is going to vote against Leslie's newly introduced bill. He then reveals to Leslie, mid-perm, that she doesn't have the votes to get her Fun in the Sun bill to pass.

Meanwhile, Ron has arrived at Diane's house and begin to dig the loose gravel, remove the larger pieces, and fill the hole with cold-patch asphalt. Ron has started to like Diane, who questions Ron's ability to fill in the pothole but then takes an interest in learning how he did it so she could fill the next one. Andy befriends the woman's daughters, Ivy and Zoey, and quickly, in his usual harmless manner, joins in on the make believe and dress-up fun.

Leslie begs Councilman Milton in his office for his vote, who agrees. Leslie tries one more time to get Jamm's vote, but Jamm says he will only vote "yes" on Leslie's bill if she trades offices with him, which she refuses to do.

Back in D.C., when the line finally begins to move, Ben's car runs out of gas. They push the car back into a parking spot and Ben offers to buy them both plane tickets to Pawnee for the next weekend.

Ron finishes patching up the pothole while Andy plays princess with Diane's daughters. Andy suggests to Ron that he play with Diane's daughters to impress Diane. Ron begrudgingly agrees, as the girls pile make-up on him and turn Ron into a princess. Diane is amused and Ron is embarrassed, and he gets up quickly and leaves.

Back at Councilman Milton's office, Leslie tries one last time to persuade Milton to her cause. She is successful, but he isn't when he tries to land a kiss when they shake on the deal, falling on his face. Milton ends up in the hospital and now Leslie must submit to Jamm's demands.

Ron arrives back at City Hall and is pleasantly surprised when Diane shows up. With Andy's help, she asks Ron to go out to dinner with her, which he agrees to.

Wanting her bill to pass, Leslie agrees to trade offices with Jamm, who also demands her parking spot. She agrees and the bill becomes a law. At a later poolside press conference celebrating with the swim team, Jamm attempts to tell the reporters about the deal they made to pass the law, but an angry Tom shoves Jamm into the pool before he can reveal the secret. In response to a shocked press pool, both Leslie and Tom then jump into the pool as if it was planned. Thankful for Tom's quick thinking, Leslie offers up her new office to him as the new Tom's Smoke House. After trying his first cigar, he discovers that he doesn't like them.


Special Guest StarsEdit

Guest StarsEdit


  • Yvans Jourdain as Councilman Howser
  • Autumn Butler as Autumn
  • Tyler Anderson as Parking Attendant
  • Rylan Lee as Ivy
  • Sadie Salazar as Zoe
  • Cameron Krugman as Mason
  • Hailey C. Sole as Tina


A gallery of episode photos can be viewed here.


Leslie: I am big enough to admit I am often inspired by myself.

Leslie: Councilman Milton was first elected as a city counselor in 1948 as a member of the Dixiecrat party. Their platform? De-integrate baseball.

Councilman Jamm: I'm gonna drop my liquids in here and drop my solids down the hall.
Leslie: Ew, no.
Councilman Jamm: Okay. Your loss.
Leslie: How?

Councilman Jamm: I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve got irritable bowel syndrome.

Ben: I’m excited to bond with April. She’s like the little sister I never had. Because the little sister I do have is normal and not terrifying.

Ron: Diane, for potholes you want to speak with public works. I understand you’ve tried them four times. Government is inefficient and should be dissolved. Please hold while I transfer you.

Ron: Andrew, get your lunch, some water, and a 40-pound bag of asphalt.

Chris: I love this idea and I love me for thinking of it.

Leslie: Not only am I a city counselor, but I'm a city councilor with porpoise.

Leslie: I’m doing a porpoise call, which we used to do when I was part of your group, but it seems like you don’t do it anymore and that’s fine, I’m not weird.

April: Are you busy? And writing Star Trek fan fiction doesn't count.
Ben: Haha. And I finished that last week.

Councilman Jamm: Tom, wanna know why I moved to Pawnee? The two leading industries here are corn syrup and rubber nipples, it is a dentistry jackpot.

Tom: Well, D.D.S. doesn't stand for "Dumb Dumb Stupid".
Councilman Jamm: I like that. I’m gonna steal it. That’s mine now.

Leslie: Ann has told me repeatedly not to get a perm. But Ann's not here. While Ann's away, the mice get perms.

Little girl 1: I'm a princess.
Little girl 2: I'm a mermaid.
Ron: I'm the director of Parks and Recreation.

Tom: Mmm. You can really taste the ignorance.
Councilman Milton: It's pronounced 'anchovies'.

Leslie: The perm must wait. THE...PERM...MUST...WAIT.

Tom: I'm not eating racist salad.

Andy: Can we please make you into a princess?
Ron: No.
Andy: I think it would make Diane happy.
Ron: Why does that matter? Shut up.

Tom: Take the easy way out. I always do! It's easy!

Chris: What did you do for her?
Ron: Fixed her pothole.
Chris: Is that a euphemism?

Andy: Ron and Diane, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I. Do you hear that bird?

Councilman Jamm: You got a deal. Can’t wait to drop my kids at the pool. And by kids I mean turds.

Chris: My therapist said I need to be more vocal about appreciating myself. Thank you, Chris. You’re welcome, Chris. I sound insane. I need to call my therapist.

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