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It’s wedding bells for Ron Swanson. In the season premiere of Parks and Recreation Thursday night, it is quickly revealed that Diane (Lucy Lawless) is pregnant, which she tells Ron right in his office. Ron (Nick Offerman) is extremely unsurprised, because, after all, “Standard birth control methods aren’t usually effective against a Swanson.”
Ron expressed how he initially wanted to go someplace romantic (in a canoe!) to pop the question, but instead proposes to her right there in his office. Since everything is happening so quickly, why not make it happen even more quickly? The pair decide to head upstairs that second and get married by a justice of the peace.
Naturally, they run into Leslie and Ann (Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones) in the hallway, and while Leslie is surprisingly understanding of their desire for a non-frills, no-advanced-notice wedding, she and Ann, of course, go with them. Standing right there in a cramped upstairs office, with Diane holding what Leslie called a “bouquet” of colored markers, the pair exchange what can barely be called “vows."
And so, Ron is once again a married man within the first four minutes of the episode.
Jumping forward one month, and Leslie is heading across the pond to London to accept an award from the International Coalition of Women in Government. Unfortunately, this coincides with the people of Pawnee attempting to get her fired due to their dissatisfaction with the job she is doing (this is truly the only show on television where the viewer sympathizes with government officials and sees the masses as deluded annoyances). Leslie finds herself unable to truly enjoy her trip, and so after breaking down and hilariously ripping on the people in her town during her award acceptance speech, she is determined to head home and fight even harder to let the people do her job.
Meanwhile, back in Pawnee, Tom is experiencing his own problems in his line of work. Viewers will remember that last season he refused to let his Rent-a-Swag store be bought out by a secret financier, and so that person sabotaged him by launching a similar — nay, twin — store called Tommy’s Closet just across the street. It’s the same in every way, except that it’s better. Tom soon finds his business floundering, and he is determined to find the person behind it all.
He succeeds, and that person is… Henry Winkler! Well, it’s Henry Winkler playing Ann and Chris’ prenatal doctor (oh yeah, Ann is officially pregnant now). He also happens to be the father of two of the most incredibly annoying-but-it’s-okay-because-they-suck-at-life TV characters in history, Jean-Ralphio and his twin sister, Mona-Lisa. Deluded by his own kids’ lies, Winkler — er, Dr. Saperstein — blames Tom for their failure and is thus out to get him. The twins do eventually come clean, but their dad decides to stick with his business anyway. After all, it’s making money.
Meanwhile back in the U.K., Leslie gives Ron a mysterious ticket and travel instructions, saying he can’t go home just yet. Ron, who is there alone because Diane was unable to go and therefore made him promise to take photos (as he puts it, “I agreed because my love for her trumps my hatred for Europe.”), reluctantly agrees. In the end, he is taken for a random, but cool, trip all the way out to an Irish brewery. It certainly pays to have friends like Leslie.
On an interesting side note, the show addresses actor Chris Pratt’s weight loss (done largely for the actor’s action film roles). In a casual exchange between his character and Ben (played by Adam Scott), Andy insists he lost all the weight just by giving up beer. Way to go, Andy! Unfortunately, the episode also paves the way for his character’s upcoming departure from the series. While in London, he and Ben meet with a wealthy British lord to make plans for expanding their charity to Europe. It turns out that the lord is basically Andy if he were English and extremely wealthy, and he and the American Andy hit it off. He offers Andy a three-month position there in the U.K. to help him launch the company, which April is fully in support of (she did, after all, spend several months away from Pawnee and Andy in Washington, D.C.)
So, what will become of Tom’s store? Will Leslie ever win over the citizens of Pawnee again? How will Ron, Chris and Ann deal with their upcoming parenthood? New episodes air Thursdays at 8/7 c, only on NBC.