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|You know why tonight is so much fun? Because everyone's so gay. And they know how to have fun, and the dancing ... everyone is just who they are and who they are is just stone cold gay.|
|— Leslie Knope|
In the episode, Leslie Knope accidentally takes a stand in favor of same-sex marriage when she holds a marriage for two male penguins during a publicity stunt for the zoo.
The episode was written by Norm Hiscock and directed by Paul Feig. It received generally positive reviews, with several commentators claiming it showed improvement and growth compared to the show's first season, which received lukewarm reviews. According to Nielsen Ratings, "Pawnee Zoo" was watched by 5 million households. Among viewers aged between 18 and 49, the episode was seen by 30 percent less viewers than the first season pilot episode.
The episode opens with Ron Swanson saying to Leslie, "Here's the situation...", prompting her to go into a full rendition of the rap "Parents Just Don't Understand". Afterward, he tells her someone is on fire at a park and needs immediate assistance. Later, Leslie holds a marriage for two recently acquired penguins to help promote the Pawnee Zoo. Immediately after the marriage, the two penguins begin having sex in front of a crowd of children, who realize both penguins are actually males. The Bulge, a gay bar in Pawnee, later send Leslie a wedding cake with two penguins on top to thank her for supporting the gay community. April Ludgate introduces Leslie to her boyfriend Derek, who himself also has a boyfriend named Ben, much to Leslie's confusion. They declare her their "hero" for holding the gay penguin wedding, but Leslie insists it was simply a publicity stunt, not a political statement. Nevertheless, Marcia Langman, a member of the Society for Family Stability Foundation, demands she annul the penguin wedding or resign from the parks department.
Ann Perkins, who has been nursing Mark Brendanawicz at the hospital since he fell into the pit, says he has acted much nicer since the incident. Ann also reveals she has broken up with Andy Dwyer. Despite having shared a kiss before Mark fell, Mark and Leslie both insist they are just friends. Mark tries to ask Ann out, but she declines out of respect for Leslie's friendship. Meanwhile, the Bulge holds a party in Leslie's honor, which she attends along with Tom Haverford to announce she has not taken a political stand. However, she accepts the free drinks they offer her and ends up getting drunk and having a great time. The next day, she is invited to go on the Pawnee Today talk show to discuss her supposed stance on gay marriage with Marcia Langman and television host Joan Callamezzo.
Meanwhile, Andy shows up at Ann's house wearing a fancy suit. He tells her he has matured, gotten an office job and would like to get back together, but Ann declines. The camera follows Andy as he leaves, revealing he is actually living in a tent inside the Sullivan Street Pit. During the Pawnee Today show, Leslie and Marcia argue fiercely. Leslie insists she has not taken a political position, even after Marcia brings up the recent party at the Bulge. They take several callers, all of whom agree that Leslie should resign. Fed up, Leslie adamantly insists she will not resign, nor will she annul the penguin wedding. Later, she visits Ann and insist that Ann go on a date with Mark. The episode ends with Leslie driving the penguins from the Pawnee Zoo to a zoo in Iowa, where gay marriage is legal.
- Amy Poehler
- Rashida Jones
- Paul Schneider
- Aziz Ansari
- Nick Offerman
- Aubrey Plaza
- Chris Pratt
- Pratt is no longer listed as a guest star
- Mo Collins as Joan Callamezzo
- Josh Ducendeck as Ben
- Darlene Hunt as Marcia Langman
- Blake Lee as Derek
- Jim O'Heir as Jerry Gergich
- Retta Sirleaf as Donna Meagle
April: This is my boyfriend, Derek, and this is Derek's boyfriend, Ben.
Leslie: Hey...oh...wait, sorry. What's the situation?
April: What do you mean?
Leslie: How does this work?
April: Derek is gay but he's straight for me, but he's gay for Ben, and Ben's really gay for Derek. And I hate Ben.
Derek: It's not that complicated.
Leslie: The thing about youth culture is that I don't understand it.
Ron: Leslie. Some guy who owns a gay bar sent you a cake.
Leslie: Pawnee has a gay bar?
Ron: The Bulge. It's behind my house.
Leslie: The Bulge is a gay bar? The nights I've wasted there ...
To see more Trivia, go here.