EJ: “Media Blitz” – This was maybe the hardest one to choose. Season Three is only sixteen episodes, but they’re almost all perfect. This is the episode where Leslie and Ben go out promoting the Harvest Festival and Ben’s background as a teen mayor comes up and derails the whole thing. And I love the Pawnee media. Shauna Malwae-Tweep, Perd Hapley, and (in their first appearance) Crazy Ira and the Douche all get to abuse Ben in their own ways. It’s one of Adam Scott’s best episodes, and it includes one of my all-time favorite Parks jokes. (The way everybody in Pawnee still uses Alta Vista.) It wraps up with a huge moment in April and Andy’s relationship, too. This one is just a delight from start to finish.
MYNDI: “Pawnee Rangers” – Ron’s Boy Scout-like Rangers are pitted against the recently invented Pawnee Goddesses, created by Leslie in protest when girls couldn’t join the Rangers. Predictably, Leslie’s group is ten times more exciting since she dives headfirst into every detail and doesn’t ever shy away from competition. While Leslie does everything, from an ethnic food court to a Puppy Party, (frankly, I want to be a Pawnee Goddess!) Ron gives his kids tarp and a box and says there is one activity planned: not getting killed. The boys wants to defect. When Ron admits defeat, Leslie puts an ad out for Swansons, the most intense outdoor club ever, and he gets several takers. Ben’s upset about his and Leslie’s recent breakup, and Donna and Tom take pity on him (even though they don’t know why he’s sad), inviting him to their annual Treat Yo Self! (Three words: Fine Leather Goods) Trouble is, he simply can’t relax, even while getting a massage. Then, he finds his ultimate splurge: a Batman costume. Ben in a Batman costume is everything, whether it’s how he looks when he breaks down crying in it, or how he flicks his cape aside when fixing the wifi for April. A third plot has Chris beginning to date Jerry’s daughter Millicent and proceeding to overshare all the details of their new relationship with an uncomfortable Jerry.