A big question coming out of the seventh season Parks and Recreation premiere last week was how long the show was going to tease out the mystery behind Leslie and Ron’s big spat over something called “Morningstar.” Not terribly long, it turns out, as this week’s second episode of the two-parter pretty much centralizes its plot around discovering every minute detail of what went wrong all those years ago. In nearly all aspects – jokes, ridiculous plot lines, Amy Poehler’s bangs – it felt like a truer return to form for the series than the premiere ever was.
“William Henry Harrison” opens with Leslie searching for a cause to back her attempts in preserving the land that Ron wants to build a Gryzzl campus on. This, in classic Parks and Recreation fashion, spans from listening to a creepy returning character pitch an over-sexualized version of Disneyland to a guy worried about a particular ant species who could, under Ron’s plans, see their population decimated… in 200,000 years. As per usual, not much is going Leslie’s way.
The team eventually discovers that William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States, had a cabin on the designated land and scramble to find substantial reasoning behind marking the land as a historical landmark. The problem? Harrison died of pneumonia 32 days after being inaugurated and his museum in Pawnee isn’t exactly overflowing with life-time accomplishments. In a hilarious bit, April and Andy tour the museum’s various rooms, from the “Things Famous For One Month” exhibit, featuring the likes of the Harlem Shake, to “Other Famous Harrison’s” and a room filled with cardboard cut-outs of everyone from Harrison Ford to The Bachelor‘s Chris Harrison. Speaking of reference humor, the hour also manages to more cleverly reference the Parks and Recreation‘s Bizarro World 2017, with jabs at the likes of everything from Chick-fil-A to Game of Thrones providing humorous throwaway gags.
Simultaneously, Ron is ordered by Gryzzl’s “VP of Cool New Shizz” to get a big-name to represent Gryzzl’s presence in the town. Naturally, Donna and Tom turn him to lifestyle guru Annabel Porter, of Bloosh fame. She lets them know all the hottest new trends – “The hottest new craze is beef milk. It’s like almond milk that’s been squeezed through tiny holes in living cows.” – and Ron lets her know her trends have been around for literally hundreds of years – “It’s f*cking milk.” Anyway, in the end, she agrees to represent Gryzzl, and ultimately leads a press conference for Ron that maliciously interferes with Leslie’s bit-of-a-downer William Henry Harrison presser happening next door.