In its final season, Parks & Recreation is really going for it—taking its humor and political heart as far as they both can stretch. Last night's double-header was one for the ages: in the first episode, "Mrs. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington," Leslie and April travel to DC to get some support for Leslie's national park initiative, and it was a full slate of women in government: Sen. Barbara Boxer had a fairly long cameo, as did Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Sen. John McCain showed up again, too, and was charming as hell—proving again that he should have ditched the dubious politics years ago and just gone to Hollywood.
But the best appearance was by Madeleine Albright, first woman Secretary of State. In the scene, aired above on an MSNBC appearance this morning, Leslie is having a crisis of conscience and decides to muse on her problems over some waffles, as she does. Albright is her lunch pal and voice of reason, giving her sage, kind advice about how to handle said problems. There is a joke about a brooch. And after the clip, Albright tells MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell that she very much likes Amy Poehler, and is excited to have a waffle party. So are we, Albright! So are we.
In the second episode of last night's Parks & Rec, "Pie-Mary," Leslie has to navigate the traps and pitfalls set for her as Ben runs for Congress, particularly after she refuses to participate in the "pie-mary," in which Pawnee's potential first ladies are expected to compete in a pie-baking contest, Hillary Clinton-cookie style. Of course, Leslie objects, but gets into all sorts of hot water for "hating her family" and "being a terrible mother"—and when she concedes in order to take the media's focus off her and back onto Ben's platform, a local woman's organization threatens to protest. It was a brilliant lampooning of the damned if you do/damned if you don't dichotomy, particularly regarding women political figures, and even included a faux "Men's Rights" movement who showed up to a press conference and shouted, "LET BEN SPEAK! LET BEN SPEAK!" (At some point, she tells the MRA guys, "It's NOT A THING!") The clip of the MRAs storming the Pie-mary is below. The juxtaposition of those episodes last night was canny as hell, a one-two punch of a show we'll miss dearly.