Parks and Rec’s second season was longer, funnier, and more popular than the first – thanks to amazing episodes like these.
While Parks and Recreation quickly became one of the best comedies that NBC has ever produced, it was truly the second season that helped elevate this sitcom into one of cable’s most-watched shows.
The show itself can’t be blamed for taking a little while to take off, mainly because the first season only consisted of 6 episodes. But luckily the first season showed audiences just how funny a few small-town government officials from Pawnee, Indiana could be, allowing a second season to be born that would take the world by storm.
10 The Stakeout, Episode 2 (8.2)
Before Leslie’s soulmate strolled into town (Ben) she had been notorious for doing poorly when it came to dating. However, it looked like things might have been turning around for her during this episode when she meets Dave, a cop for the Pawnee police force. Leslie and Tom discover marijuana being grown in the community garden, so they stake out the garden at night to see who’s doing the growing. Unfortunately, Leslie sees Ann and Mark going on a date and leaves Tom unattended in the stakeout van… which leads Dave to believe that he’s a stalker/creeper and arrests him. Leslie shows up to bail Tom out and Dave likes her attitude and tenacity so much that he asks her out.
9 Park Safety, Episode 19 (8.2)
Before Andy Samberg took on the role of Jake Peralta in Brooklyn 99, he guest-starred in an episode of Parks and Recreation as Carl Lorthner, a park security ranger. During this episode, Jerry hurts his elbow and claims that it happened from being mugged in a local park, causing Leslie to try and implement better safety protocols for the park. However, after Leslie publicly scrutinized Carl, the park, and their overall lack of security, it’s revealed that Jerry actually hurt his elbow from falling over after dropping a burrito… Suffice to say, the park’s safety was just fine and Leslie and Carl come to an understanding.
8 Practice Date, Episode 4 (8.4)
As stated, Leslie had managed to get herself a date with Dave but she was well-known for being terrible when it came to dating/relationships. So, to prepare a nervous Leslie for her date, Ann decides to take Leslie out on a “practice date” where Ann acts like the most obnoxious, rude, and unpleasant dinner-date that a person could imagine. Unfortunately, Leslie gets drunk during the practice date and shows up at Dave’s house in the middle of the night. Luckily for Leslie, Dave is very cool about the whole situation and tells her the next day that he’s very much looking forward to their “2nd date”, helping to take some of the pressure off Leslie.
7 Greg Pikitis, Episode 7 (8.4)
During this season 2 Halloween special, Leslie reveals that she has an arch-nemesis… and it’s a child. The adolescent is the titular Greg Pikitis who apparently spends every Halloween defacing a renowned Pawnee statue and Leslie has yet to catch him in the act.
However, Pikitis decides to step things up during this Halloween and he vandalizes the parks and recreation office to spite Leslie, but still manages to carry out the act without being seen. With no evidence, Leslie feels defeated… only to catch Pikitis defacing the original statue and getting him to confess to everything else as well.
6 Ron and Tammy, Episode 8 (8.4)
Audiences were introduced to the infamous Tammy #2 during this season 2 episode when the Pawnee Library decides to place a claim on the lot that Leslie is trying to turn into a park. The library director, Tammy #2, happens to be Ron’s ex-wife and an absolutely horrid woman who will stop at nothing to get Ron back just to mess with him. As it turns out, Tammy’s ploy is just to get Ron to allow her to build a library on the lot by sexually manipulating him and Leslie comes to her friend’s aid by rescuing Ron from his ex-wife’s clutches (saving their plans for a park in the process).
5 Telethon, Episode 22 (8.4)
Leslie might have been a great friend 99.9% of the time, but this was one of the exceptions when she decided to assign the entire parks and recreation department to a 24-hour telethon to help raise money to cure diabetes. The episode follows the telethon as all of the members of the parks and recreation gang try to stay awake and give less-than-interesting performances to try and raise money for the cause. Luckily, a minor celebrity from Indiana shows up and gives Leslie a check for $5,000 which helps them surpass the $20,000 mark they had aimed for.
4 94 Meetings, Episode 21 (8.6)
April couldn’t have been a better assistant for Ron… except for one minor flaw where she didn’t realize March had 31 days and decided to schedule all of his meetings for March 31st, resulting in Ron having almost one hundred meetings in a single day.
The entire parks department (save for Leslie who tries to save a historical gazebo) helps Ron deal with his meetings, but the stress of the day causes Ron to lash out at April for screwing up – which then causes April to quit. After hearing that April has quit, Andy tells Ron that he’ll never find another assistant as good as her and convinces him to bring her back.
3 The Master Plan, Episode 23 (8.6)
When it’s revealed that Pawnee has a budget deficit and two auditors will be coming in to analyze the problem, Leslie does everything she can to try and solve the situation. Unfortunately, the two auditors (Ben and Chris) show up and derail every idea that Leslie has about trying to save the town’s budget. Leslie finds the auditors, specifically Ben, incredibly rude and short and tells him that she thinks he’s a jerk, causing Ben to immediately take a liking to how passionate she is about Pawnee. Despite Ben and Leslie starting to get along, it’s revealed that Pawnee’s budget is much worse than anticipated and the entire government will be shut down until further notice.
2 Freddy Spaghetti, Episode 24 (8.7)
The season finale dealt with the aftermath of the Pawnee government effectively being shut down and how Leslie was having a hard time coping with the lack of work. Going against the auditors’ wishes (and the city’s funds) Leslie decides to hold a children’s concert for the kids in Pawnee, despite having no money to do so. Ben and Chris show up to shut the concert down, but Leslie gives an impassioned speech that convinces Ben to pay for the concert out of his own pocket. Unfortunately, the season ends on a cliffhanger of not knowing when the government would open back up (but audiences were pretty sure it would be the start of the next season).
1 Hunting Trip, Episode 10 (8.8)
For the highest-rated episode of season 2, the entire parks and recreation department found themselves on a hunting trip that was originally just going to be Ron, Mark, and Jerry. Leslie decided to have everybody tag along so that the department could have some bonding time, but sadly the entire trip was hindered when somebody shot Ron in the back of the head (but just with birdshot, so he was basically fine). Leslie takes the heat when the park rangers show up to handle the situation, but it turns out that she was actually covering for Tom because he never got a hunting license. Leslie was a real stand-up human during this episode, and Ron made sure she knew it.
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