#1: "Readers, I’m all about April Ludgate’s deadpan delivery. It’s like Daria had sex with Alan-Rickman-as-Snape, didn’t even realize she was pregnant, had a baby that she was all “whatever, I don’t even care” about, and shipped that baby to Indiana. In case you’re not still with me here, that baby is April Ludgate. However! It’s nice to see Aubrey Plaza flex some other muscles, as in both literal other face muscles and figurative acting muscles. Her whole arc in this episode, which this first scene captures in miniature, takes her from embarrassed-and-proud to passionate-and-activist-y to scorned-and-betrayed and back again."
#2: "I don’t mean to go off on too far a tangent, but I occasionally get asked about my path as a journalist—what I did when, and why—by people who wish to recreate the steps. I’m able to spin them a yarn that is, I presume, helpful in some way. Or so I hope. By the end, it sounds like I took a very deliberate approach with my career, that every step was meticulously laid out, and the whole time, I was very aware of where I was about to go. That’s horseshit, though. Anyone who tells you they had a plan their entire life and managed to stick relentlessly to it like a vat of slow-moving molasses (I very much liked that Sweetums disaster) is either a) lying, or b) boring. In my experience, it’s the people who are able to roll with the punches, taking advantage of whatever computer disappearances life throws at them, that find themselves the most successful. Sure, if you ask them later, they’ll be able to say that yes, thing one led to thing two, and so on. But I guarantee that when thing one ended and thing two had yet to begin, they were fucking terrified.
The more Ben and Leslie hang around each other, the more I’m starting to see how similar they are. Ben, like Leslie, came from the mindset that there is a plan you must follow that leads to a good life, and veering away from that plan ruins everything. Leslie hangs photos of Joe Biden on her wall and deconstructs how he got where he got, and wants to emulate that. Ben doesn’t have as tangible a role model, only the idea of one, but it’s the same difference. He takes the job at the accounting firm because he believes certain things are meant to be easy. When he looks back on his time post-engagement to Leslie Knope, he wants to know he did all he could to best prepare for the future.It’s only after his parade around Pawnee, on the arm of Tom and his Rent-A-Swag business, that he realizes there’s no point in coloring inside the lines. His foray into political campaign-running was a wild success. His attempt to breach the walls of his ironclad Pawnee job responsibilities to date Leslie was a wild success. Why shouldn’t the rest of his life be as carefree and fanciful? Because it’s terrifying? Welcome to real life, Ben Wyatt. Things are terrifying because they are important."