Emma Doherty ‘16/ Emertainment Monthly Staff
Last night’s hilariously entertaining episode of Parks and Recreation, “Doppelgangers”, contained multiple guest stars, many humorous moments, and a surprising amount of heartache.
We are introduced to the Eagleton equivalent of the Pawnee Parks Department employees we know so well. It was revealed last week that Eagleton is bankrupt and is now being absorbed by Pawnee. Pawnee is faced with merging these two towns together, and Leslie (Amy Poehler) is head of the process, calling herself the “Merger Czar” and taking in Eagleton’s old employees for a trial period.
Having already met Leslie’s Eagleton equivalent last week, this episode revealed the rest, making for some great guest appearances. April’s (Aubrey Plaza) dim witted counterpart Jennifer who goes by “Tynnyfer” is played by the incredible June Diane Raphael. April says that she is the worst person she has ever met but wants to travel the world with her and therefore spends the entire episode pretending to be her best friend.
Ron’s (Nick Offerman) equivalent, also named Ron (Sam Elliott), appears to be the perfect match in the beginning of the episode. But Pawnee Ron quickly learns that Eagleton Ron is his worst nightmare, finding out that he is a hippie who loves yoga, environmental conservation, and open toed shoes. Tom (Aziz Ansari) is embarrassed to find out that his Eagleton equivalent is just a computer program called “Eric”. Tom feels threatened by this news and in order to secure his job, tells Leslie that Eric is a racist drug dealer that she must fire right away.
Comedian and actor Billy Eichner appeared for the first time on the show and shined as Donna’s eccentric Eagleton counterpart Craig. Compared to Donna’s laid back “treat yourself” attitude, Craig could be seen as her absolute opposite. He is deeply devoted to his job and loved working for Eagleton, taking everything he does very seriously. Craig adores Donna and finds out that they do have one thing in common, their love for the TV show Scandal. Craig responds to this discovery by saying, “Of course you like Scandal because you’re amazing! I love you.”
While all this is going on in the parks and rec department, another hilarious storyline is occurring elsewhere in Pawnee. Ben (Adam Scott) and Chris (Rob Lowe) are back in action as the “auditing bros” resuming their old “good auditor/ bad auditor” roles from way back in season two. Their task is to deal with the snooty Eagleton workers and manage the new financial problems the towns are facing.
All of these matches were wildly entertaining and the Ben/ Chris storyline keeps a light-hearted tone throughout the show but the core of the episode revolved around the fact that Ann is leaving Pawnee. If you haven’t heard by now that Ann (Rashida Jones) and Chris are planning to leave, the most recent episode has made it absolutely official. It was announced earlier this year that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe will be leaving the cast of Parks and Rec on the thirteenth episode of this season and the writers are not wasting any time sending them off.
Last night in an extremely entertaining scene, Ann breaks the news to her best friend that she is stepping down from her job and planning to move away from the place Leslie loves so dearly. Although this is the moment fans of the show have been dreading, the scene was everything it should have been. Ann tried to ease the blow of her saddening news by having waffles and pictures of shirtless Joe Biden on hand but even that wasn’t enough to distract Leslie from the thought of losing her “beautiful tropical fish” best friend. Leslie was deeply hurt by her friend’s news and takes her feelings out on the rest of the Parks department.
Leslie has many great traits but sometimes they can hurt her and in this episode we see how. Leslie is very passionate and deeply devoted to her hometown and her friends and when she finds out that they are not as serious as she is about Pawnee, she lashes out. She tries to get everyone in the department to sign loyalty contracts promising that they won’t leave Pawnee but this does not go well. No one signs the contract because of its overly baring rules and commitments and her friends are confused as to why she’s behaving more irrational than usual.
Leslie is flustered and acts a little crazy, but not for long. In a tender moment, Ron helps get to the bottom of what’s bothering her and as always, helps her through it. He gets Leslie to realize that she needs to be supportive of her friend and try to understand where she is coming from.
Ben unsurprisingly handles the news of Ann and Chris’s future departure much better than his wife does. While on a celebratory auditing dinner, he tells Chris that he is very sad that he will be leaving but is incredibly excited for him as well.
The episode ends on a bittersweet note when Leslie tells Ann that she is finally ready to talk about her future departure from her beloved city, leaving it unknown to the viewer how the conversation goes.
Watch Parks and Recreation Thursday at 8/7c on NBC.