Back on Day 4, I did say that this season didn’t get that coveted distinction of Favorite because the Ben and Leslie relationship thing took way too long to resolve, and I stand by that assertion. I mean, it took nearly half the season for them to say, “Fuck this, we want to be together,” and while it was incredibly sweet to hear Ben declare his love for Leslie as he was resigning, I was more or less feeling, “ugh finally,” as oppose to, “OMG YAYYY!!” I’m pretty sure that’s not the reaction the writers were going for, but here we are.
But once that was over and done with, the season picked up with a vigor, like it was happy to shed the nasty old shoulder pads of the GET IT TOGETHER YOU TWO era and right into the breezy baby doll dress of Leslie’s campaign*. Which of course brings me to my favorite episode: “The Comeback Kid.”
But recap first! Because of the scandal involving Ben and Leslie, Leslie’s profesh campaign team abandons her, and the parks crew steps up to fill their shoes. With Ann as campaign manager, they manage to plan somewhat well, but they ultimately fall flat on their faces with various mishaps. Meanwhile, Ben is suffering from depression but doesn’t realize it until Chris points it out. After a disastrous speech, Leslie asks Ben to be her campaign manager.
Okay, so the scene on the ice rink is one of my favorite moments in the entire series. From the short red carpet provided by Tom leading to the teeny platform built by Ron to the theme song playing over and over again, everything is just this perfect storm of hilarity. Unfortunately, it ends with “Pistol Pete” Disellio** breaking his arm, but whatever. I never really liked that guy much, anyway.
I love that all of Leslie’s friends eagerly jumped at the change to help her when she was abandoned by her first team, and it really shows just how central Leslie is to the group. Sure, she’s the main protagonist, but I don’t believe this could have happened even a season before. I could probably blame that on Mark, because when will I not blame bad things on him; but seriously, maybe they needed a whole season to wipe out his nonchalant influence?
My favorite part of this episode, though, is Ben slowly coming to terms with his depression. As someone who suffers from depression, I can confirm there’s a lot of denial that comes before beginning your healing process. “No, I’m totally okay! I just need to focus on distraction and everything will be fine!” His sad claymation video slapping him back into reality resonated strong with me, because it was literally the smallest thing that made me realize I was struggling with chronic depression.
I really want to write more about this episode because I love it so much, but I am exhausted (I’m writing this around 2A), so, I offer you this, just for your listening and viewing pleasure:
Runners Up: “Pawnee Rangers” and “Bus Tour”
* This is a very weird metaphor, but I’m not changing it.
** I get that we’re supposed to feel for him, but I just … I don’t know. Like … dude, stop wallowing and tell them no, you don’t want to be remembered just for your teenage achievements and close the door. Jesus.
Art Credit: Reppiced