Parks and Recreation may have left the air more than 5 years ago, but fans and audiences still flock to any streaming-service that houses the former NBC comedy due to the shows ability to not only remain hilarious after multiple viewings, but to stay culturally relevant as well.
Despite the comedy being one of NBC’s staple shows while it was still being produced, just like any other show some episodes are going to be worse than others and the series revolving around a group of small-town government employees in Pawnee, Indiana was no exception.
13 Pilot, Season 1 (7.0)
It’s natural not to have a stellar pilot-episode so it’s no surprise that the very first episode of the series is also the worst-rated of the entire first season (out of only 6 episodes). Audiences are introduced to the entire core-cast as well as the story-arc of Leslie trying to build a park on the empty lot next to Ann’s house.
The two future best-friends meet at a public forum where Ann demands the pit be filled in since her boyfriend Andy broke his legs falling into it, and Leslie vows to have the pit filled in with a park built on top.
12 Sister City, Season 2 (7.7)
The second season of Parks and Recreation had three episodes that tied for the lowest-rated and the first centered around the premise of Pawnee hosting government officials from their sister city in Venezuela.
Expecting the officials to be poor and astounded by Pawnee’s wealth, Leslie and the parks gang are thrown for a loop when the officials turn out to be vastly rich and immediately begin openly-disrespecting Leslie and Pawnee itself. Leslie tries to swallow her pride and suck up to the officials for a large check that would contribute toward their new park – but in the end she simply can’t do it and tears up the check.
11 Kaboom, Season 2 (7.7)
In the second episode of season 2 to tie for lowest-rated the story centered around the fact that Leslie finally got the empty pit next to Ann’s house filled in. Leslie and Ann spend the day “kabooming” a playground, which inspires them to “kaboom” the empty pit by filling it in.
Unfortunately, by doing so, they empty a load of dirt onto a homeless Andy which results in him suing the city of Pawnee for compensation. However, in response, Leslie comes up with a plan where Andy instead asks for the pit to be filled in – which he gets.
10 Galentine’s Day, Season 2 (7.7)
The last lowest-rated episode of season 2 oddly enough didn’t center around Leslie’s favorite holiday (Galentine’s Day) but rather around the premise that Leslie and her new boyfriend, Justin, tried to reunite Leslie’s mother with a long-lost-love from when she was 18.
Despite finding the man and arranging a blind date between the two, Leslie quickly realizes how selfish Justin is when he doesn’t care about Leslie’s mother’s feelings (or hers) and is only interested in creating a story to tell.
9 Media Blitz, Season 3 (8.1)
The third season of Parks and Rec also had three episodes tie for the lowest-rated of the season and the first followed the plot that the parks department (as well as Ben and Chris) were trying to promote the Harvest Festival by going on television shows and doing radio interviews.
Sadly, the meetings go horribly as the entire city of Pawnee finds out about Ben’s former “Ice-Town” debacle and begin reprimanding him for it. Luckily, after a shaky start, Ben is able to pull himself together and does a great job promoting the fair.
8 Indianapolis, Season 3 (8.1)
During the second episode to tie for season 3’s lowest, Leslie and Ron found themselves traveling to Indianapolis to accept an award for establishing the Harvest Festival.
Unfortunately, their trip is derailed when they stop at Chris’ house and Leslie thinks she’s found evidence that he’s cheating on Ann. When Ann ends up confronting Chris, the evidence turns out to all be circumstantial… however, Chris then drops the bombshell that (while he’s not cheating on Ann) he also broke up with her a week prior.
7 Camping, Season 3 (8.1)
After the success of Harvest Festival, the third lowest-rated episode of season 3 found the entire parks department on a camping trip where they could brainstorm about ideas to bounce back.
When nobody comes up with anything, Leslie admits that she herself doesn’t have any ideas either and worries if she has peeked with Harvest Festival. Thankfully, Ron finds a way to reset Leslie’s brain and she comes up with a million new great ideas on the spot.
6 Meet ‘N’ Greet, Season 4 (7.8)
Season 4 managed to only have two episodes tie for the lowest-rated with the first being the Halloween episode. While Andy and April throw a Halloween party (without telling Ben), Ron spends the entire time fixing all of the problems with the young couple’s house.
Meanwhile, Tom tries to help Leslie secure funding for her campaign, but then steals the spotlight and tries to highlight his business. Not only does his presentation fail, but Tom then reveals that his company has gone bankrupt after 4 months (it should have been sooner).
5 Sweet Sixteen, Season 4 (7.8)
It’s revealed during the second lowest-rated episode of season 4 that Jerry’s birthday is on February 29th, which meant that the parks department decided to throw a surprise “Sweet-Sixteen” party for Jerry’s 64th birthday. However, with Leslie being in the middle of her campaign, she stretches herself too thin and forgets to invite Jerry to his own party.
After several other problems that add to Leslie’s stress, Ron officially insists that she takes a sabbatical to focus entirely on the campaign… which she mostly agrees too.
4 Partridge, Season 5 (7.7)
Another season, another two episodes that tied for the lowest-rated. During this episode, Leslie and Ben go back to Ben’s hometown where he’s set to receive the “Key to the City” as a former mayor of the town.
However, the whole ceremony turns out to be a ruse and the town’s current mayor just wanted to make fun of Ben because of his “Ice-Town” blunder (which would score him some points with the voters). Leslie ends up stealing the key anyway for Ben to take home, but he decides to throw it in a lake instead.
3 Swing Vote, Season 5 (7.7)
Leslie and Ron battled putt-to-putt during the second lowest-rated episode of season 5 when it’s revealed that Pawnee would be cutting their funding to the local putt-putt course.
However, in the vote to decide whether or not to cut the funding, councilman Jamm promises his swing-vote to either Leslie (who wants to save the course) or Ron (who doesn’t) based on who wins at a round of mini-golf. Ron takes home the prize, Leslie stays true to her word, and Jamm votes to cut the funding for the course.
2 New Slogan, Season 6 (7.6)
In an attempt to help bring the towns of Pawnee and Eagleton closer together during their city-merger, the lowest-rated episode of season 6 centered on the premise of the parks department setting up an online poll for the citizens to choose a new town slogan.
Sadly, after Leslie goes on a radio-show and presents herself as a buzzkill, the radio hosts get their fan-base to vote for the slogan “Pawnee: Home of the Stick Up Leslie Knope’s Butt.” Luckily, the town pulls through and decides to select the slogan, “Pawnee: When You’re Here, Then You’re Home” instead.
1 William Henry Harrison, Season 7 (7.5)
Leslie and the National Parks department were grasping at any straws they could in order to obtain the Newport land to create a national park in Pawnee, which included claiming that former President William Henry Harrison had a cabin on the land.
Throughout the episode, Leslie tries to build up a case (centered around W.H. Harrison) in order to win the land, but she gets stymied by Ron and Gryzzl in the process. At the end of the episode, the gang locks Leslie and Ron in the old parks department office and won’t let them out until they settle their differences.
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