Consistently funny from start to finish, “Smallest Park” is a definite season 4 highlight for “Parks and Recreation.” With all three storylines grooving along, the cast really shines and delivers some very funny dialogue with a few sweet moments thrown in for good measure. Plus, we reach yet another signpost in the Leslie/Ben relationship. Big changes in the smallest park!

Check below for the complete review…

The Players:

  • Director: Nicole Holocfner
  • Writers: Chelsea Peretti
  • Cast: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Aziz Ansari, Jim O’Heir, Retta, Aubrey Plaza, Rob Lowe, and Chris Pratt

Episode: “Smallest Park”

Leslie decides the construction of a very small park is a good method of keeping Ben close. Ron and April help Andy go to college and Tom and Jerry need to redesign a logo.

The Good:

  • Ben/Leslie: Resolution! I was getting bored with the back and forth between suddenly annoying Leslie and buttoned-down Ben, but the writers opted for some tough love. Set against the creation of the smallest park – ever, Leslie starts in with some crazy antics to keep Ben close, but thank goodness Ben pulls the plug and lets her have it. With Chris standing there as witness, Ben calls Leslie a steamroller! Boom! And even better, Ann agrees! Ben and Leslie do share a kiss at the end, so there’s more fun to follow for the ‘dream team.’
  • “For what it’s worth, you’d make an incredible brunette. Ron Swanson.”: One of my favorite lines of dialogue of the season thus far and a highlight of the Andy goes to college storyline. It was nice watching Ron helping Andy, one of his co-workers he doesn’t root against.
  • Chris Pratt: Andy delivered some seriously funny material in the episode, and the entire process of watching him try different classes – with Ron and April along for the support – was great. His disappointment that there’s no actual lasers utilized in the intro to lasers class was terrific.
  • Tom & Jerry: This segment worked very well. Tom gets a mission from Chris to redesign a new logo for the parks department – really, just choose a new font. The mundane task is a far cry from the sexy action of Entertainment 720. So Tom goes all Apple design team and breaks out style do-overs for the park ranger uniforms, the community rec center (looks like an Apple store) and so on. But Jerry, in his own way, helps Tom see the light about what’s important. They also end up with a kick-ass retro design.

The Bad (but not that bad):

  • Leslie: I return to Leslie because she is so annoying when she doesn’t get her way. Her wacky actions to keep Ben close as they build the ridiculously small park were funny, but she was close to the edge of madness. Poehler makes it all work so her steamroller ways come covered in much laughter and tender moments. But at least she realizes she’s a steamroller!


Just a darn good episode from the cold open to the very end. The cast was a-plus, the writing sharp and there was plenty of laughs and sweet moments. The comic timing of the cast was on full display as Andy, Tom, Ron and Jerry – among others – all provided some very funny content in the episode.

Tom back working in the Parks Department is a good thing, even if he has to bring some that Entertainment 720 magic with him to dull the pain of his regular job. The Ron/Andy/April story was delightful, and even though Leslie was driving me insane, the climax of the episode between she and Ben in the small park was picture perfect.

Great episode all around!

Rating: 9/10

“Parks and Recreation” airs on NBC at 8:30 pm (ET/PT) on Thursday nights.

What did you think of last night’s episode?