Let's Rank The Booziest Episodes Of Parks & Recreation!
Because the Pawnee Parks Department was all about that after-work drink.
There were so many things that Parks & Recreation did well. Inventing holidays. Offering odes to breakfast foods. Passing the Bechdel test with flying colors. Objectifying Vice President Joe Biden. And yet one area in which it really excelled was getting its characters good and drunk. Nearly once a season, Leslie Knope and friends would get sloshed. Shenanigans always ensued. With that in mind, here are the booziest episodes of Parks & Rec, from mildly buzzed to blackout wasted.
This show established its love of the drink early on. In this episode from Season 2, alcohol pits Ron and Leslie against each other. After a night of drinking, Leslie won't let Ron drive home until he's sobered up. Ron, a true Libertarian, thinks Leslie should mind her own business and let people live their lives however they like. Their tiff spills over into their work when a local candy company wants to take over the concessions in the park -- and, along the way, Ron proves his sobriety by presenting Leslie with some custom carpentry he did after drinking.
- "Sweet Sixteen"
Jerry/Gary/Larry was born on Leap Day, so his "sweet sixteen" comes...late in life. Leslie is busy juggling a city council campaign and her Parks duties, but decides to throw Jerry a surprise party at Donna's lake house. At the party, Tom and Ann -- who are in the middle of their brief romance -- keep turning to April for advice on their relationship. April has a hard time with this, until she remembers that alcohol exists.
- "Practice Date"
Early in Season 2, Leslie meets Pawnee police officer Dave (Louis C.K.) and gets very nervous about the prospect of their first date. Ann, ever-perfect bestie that she is, takes Leslie on a practice date, so that she can relax about the real thing. Her plan works and she and Leslie get a little tipsy in the process. Leslie, drunk and over-confident, winds up at Dave's front door and tells him how lucky he is to be going out with her. It's like your classic drunk text scenario, but in person. Bonus: introduced us all to the "restroom" synonym "Whiz Palace."
- "Flu Season 2"
Season 6 was the booziest of all Parks & Rec seasons overall, and in this episode, the Parks department crew attends a wine tasting event so that Tom can find a sommelier for his new restaurant. Meanwhile, Leslie -- mistaking her upset stomach for the flu -- finds out that she's pregnant. She tries to share this news with Ben, but he's hammered on blueberry wine and drops his phone in a mud puddle. And the episode is directed by none other than Nick Offerman, so you know it's good.
Leslie had a long, hard fight to win her city council seat. In this episode from Season 4, an interview with a reporter from Indianapolis (Sean Hayes) falls through, and Tom and Ann take Leslie out, hoping to get her mind off the campaign. Leslie is a few flaming tequila shots deep when Ben calls to inform her that the interview is back on. She goes on air tipsy. It's not great, but her close ties to Pawnee airport personnel help save the day, when the reporter's luggage -- containing the embarrassing footage -- mysteriously goes missing....
- "Recall Vote"
The citizens of Pawnee make a bold (wrong) choice in Season 6, when they recall Leslie and remove her from her seat on city council. The vote happens on Halloween, and Leslie and Ben get super-sloshed, while dressed as Buttercup and Westley from The Princess Bride. As they drunkenly wallow in their perceived career failures, they decide to declare their love for each other by getting tattoos. This leads to my favorite drunk Knope line ever: "I'd like a portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt tastefully done."
- "The Master Plan"
This episode from Season 2 is where we first meet Ben Wyatt and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe), who've come to Pawnee to audit the city's budget. The two newcomers and the rest of the Parks Department are invited to the wonderfully titled Snakehole Lounge for April's 21st birthday party. April and Andy are crushing on each other, but can't seem to get on the same page. Leslie, upset about the budget cuts, drunkenly berates Ben. The episode ends with the future spouses getting, wait for it, more booze! And it's the beginning of a beautiful love story. It also features an appearance by Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz), as all great Parks and Rec episodes do.
In the Season 6 opener, everyone at the Parks Department heads to London; Leslie, a thoughtful land mermaid, arranges a special surprise for Ron: he treks up to Scotland to visit the Lagavulin distillery, where his favorite whiskey is made. He even sits on a cliff and reads poetry. It's wonderful.
- "The Fight"
This is arguably one of the best episodes of the whole series. Tom creating his own "Kahlua-style" liquor that he dubs Snake Juice, and ropes the gang into helping him promote it, where else, at the Snakehole Lounge. The bulk of the show's cast is in this episode, and everyone gets hammered. Leslie and Ann have the first fight of their friendship. Nick Kroll is on hand as "The Douche"! Amy Poehler wrote the episode! Ron Swanson dances!
It is truly the best and booziest of times.