Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt got married on Parks and Recreation last night and ohmygoodness it was so perfect and lovely and beautiful and I teared up so many times I thought I was watching a commercial for puppy chow. It didn’t help my roller-coaster of emotion that the show was a full hour and jam-packed with sentimental moments and character connections, left over from when the producers thought this episode was gonna have to be the series finale. Remember? Back when we still thought Parks and Rec was gonna be canceled along with 30 Rock? But they ended up getting an order for nine additional episodes, so we don’t have to say goodbye to Amy Poehler and Adam Scott yet, but just try telling that to my tear ducts.
At the end of last week’s episode, Leslie and Ben decided to get married at the gala instead of waiting for their original date in May, and last night’s episode was about them rushing around to try to get everything organized and arranged in under two hours. Sounds tricky, but as Ann pointed out, she’s pretty much been in training for this situation since the day she met Leslie, what with all the insane things that she’s made Ann do over the years. Everyone gets a task, from Andy and April waking up an old lady to sign the marriage license they stole from City Hall to Ron making the rings from scratch by using a wall sconce and a waffle iron, to Ann completing Leslie’s unfinished wedding dress with clippings and memorabilia from her time in office. There are moments when it looks like the wedding definitely won’t come together, but what was so touching about the episode is that even Ben and Leslie don’t really seem to mind. They just can’t wait to be married to each other, and if it’s right it’ll happen tonight. I don’t want to completely ruin the episode if you haven’t seen it — because see it — but you should know that somewhere between Ben’s vows to Leslie, Ron’s last-minute pep talk outside the door, and the phrase, “I love you and I like you”, there were real Pawnee tears flowing down my cheeks and my heart was pitter-pattering like the hooves of a Lil’ Sebastian impersonator. Well done, Parks and Rec. Really well done.