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It's more than a promise. It's a pinky promise!
Leslie Knope

"Pilot" is the series premiere of the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. It originally aired on April 9, 2009 to 6.77 million viewers.

Storyline Edit

The episode opens with Leslie Knope, a mid-level bureaucrat with six years of experience in the Parks and Recreation Department in the town of Pawnee, Indiana, as she surveys children about their experiences in the park. Before she dislodges a drunk man from a slide, she is shown discussing with a documentary crew her strong belief in the power of government to help other people. Later, Leslie hosts a community outreach public forum at an elementary school along with her jaded colleague Tom Haverford. Leslie is enthusiastic despite the low turnout and angry complaints, which she describes as "people caring loudly at me". Local nurse, Ann Perkins, complains about a giant pit near her house, which was dug out, then abandoned by a condominium developer that went bankrupt in the middle of the construction project. Ann says her boyfriend broke both his legs after falling into the pit, and she demands something be done about it. Leslie is inspired by the challenge and vows that she will fill in the pit and build a park on the land.

Leslie seeks advice from colleague Mark Brendanawicz, who feels the project would prove practically impossible due to the logistics and bureaucratic red tape, but Leslie's enthusiasm is undeterred. Leslie later fondly tells the documentary crew that she and Mark made love five years ago, but Mark only vaguely recalls the encounter. Leslie, Tom and department intern April Ludgate visit Ann at her house where they meet Ann's boyfriend Andy Dwyer, a lazy and demanding musician who she is forced to wait on and support financially. As the four of them inspect the pit, Leslie envisions the vast amount of things that could be done with the lot. Leslie then decides to go into the pit, but while making her down, she falls and tumbles to the bottom. Some time later, Leslie asks her boss Ron Swanson, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, for permission to form an exploratory committee for the pit project. Ron initially refuses, but eventually agrees to consider it so that Leslie will leave his office. Ron explains that he does not want the Parks Department to build any parks because he believes government is a waste of tax-payer money, and that the parks system should be privatized and run by corporations for profit. Leslie repeatedly pesters Ron about the park project, but he refuses to commit.

Meanwhile, Tom and April openly mock Leslie with photos taken of her in the pit, much to the displeasure of Mark. Mark, who tells the documentary crew he is impressed that Leslie has somehow maintained her optimism about government for six years, secretly asks Ron to give her the park project. Mark said doing so would return an unspecified favor Ron owes him. Leslie and Ann are extremely excited about the new exploratory subcommittee, and despite her skepticism about politics and government, Ann pledges to do whatever it takes to help get the pit filled in, "even if it takes two months".


Main CastEdit

  • Amy Poehler
  • Rashida Jones
  • Paul Schneider
  • Aziz Ansari
  • Nick Offerman
  • Aubrey Plaza

Guest StarsEdit

Animals seenEdit

  • various pigeons in courtyard

Quotes Edit

Leslie: What I hear when I'm being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.

Ann: Hi, uh, hi, hi! I'm Ann Perkins. Uh, I'm a nurse and frankly, I don't really care for politics. [ crowd applauses ] Uh, that's um... I'm-I'm here to talk about the abandoned lot on Sullivan Street.
Leslie: Excellent, that sounds like a good idea. Tell us about that.
Ann: No, it's a problem. It almost killed my boyfriend.
Leslie: Oh?
Ann: There's a lot nearby my house and a developer dug out a basement for some condos and then they went bankrupt. So, there's just this giant pit and it's been there for almost a year.
Leslie: 12 months, yes, go on.
Ann: Yeah, and my boyfriend, who is a musician; actually, I support him, but anyway. He fell in and broke both his legs.
Tom: Ann, let me speak with you for a minute. So, your boyfriend fell down into this pit, right?
Ann: Yes.
Tom: And um, this guy--is it pretty serious? Are you guys living together?
Ann: Yes.
Tom: Wow uh, I'm sure it must be really tough for you. You know, just--this guy--sounds like he didn't have a lot going on for him to start with and now both legs broken. He's just weak; you have to take care of him and you probably feel like you need to move on--
Ann: Wha--
Tom: Just become more adventurous--
Ann: What is thi--
Tom: relationships with your body, just in--
Ann: Are you... are you actually hitting on me right now?
Tom: Oh, oh god no, I'm not hitting on you. I'm actually married. I'm just an open person and I like connecting with people. I'm, you know, very comfortable around women, attractive women. I spend a lot of time with them. And I just... I don't know, I feel like we might be taking up too much of the forum's time. Maybe we can just exchange numbers. You know, maybe go away one weekend and just kind of talk about this.
Ann: Look--
Tom: I'd love to do it.

Leslie: You know what I need to do? Form a committee. Right?
Tom: Yeah, that could work.
Leslie: Yeah, 'cause committee's are power and committee's make things happen. Committee's are the lifeblood of our democratic system... That's really good, right that down.
Tom: Yeah. [ starts writing ]
Leslie: [ to the crew ] From time to time, when I think of an eloquent saying or a phrase, I have Tom write it down. He's collecting them for my memoirs.
Tom: [ to the crew; separately ] Here's Leslie's quote from Wednesday. [ shows scribbled page ]
Leslie: Okay, read it back to me.
Tom: Um... committee's cover our democracies with blood.
Leslie: Hmm. Sounded better when I said it. Still good though.

Ann: So um, Andy jumped over this fence he was crossing through to get home and then he fell right there.
Leslie: Oh my god, how did we let this happen? [ sighs ] Dream with me for a second, Ann. Doesn't this neighborhood deserve a first-class park? Imagine a shiny new playground with jungle gym and swings, pool, tennis courts, volleyball courts, racket-ball courts, basketball courts, regulation football field... We could put an amphitheater over there with Shakespeare in the park.
Ann: It's really not that big of a pit.
Leslie: We could do some of those things. It's gonna take a little extra work. But why not try?

Leslie: Oh, yeah. This is our crown jewel. It's one of our best murals. It depicts the very famous battle at Conega Creek. We have a lot of children visits, so often we have to cover up the more gruesome parts with a poster.
Ann: That is horrifying.
Leslie: Yes, it is.


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