Live Ammo (Parks and Recreation)
|Parks and Recreation episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Tristram Shapeero|
|Written by||Dave King
|Original air date||April 19, 2012|
Bradley Whitford as Councilman Pilner
|List of season 4 episodes
List of Parks and Recreation episodes
"Live Ammo" is the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of the American comedy television series Parks and Recreation, and the 65th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on NBC in the United States on April 19, 2012.
In the episode, Leslie (Amy Poehler) faces problems when she convinces retiring Councilman Pillner (Bradley Whitford) to not cut the parks department budget, while Chris (Rob Lowe) takes Ron (Nick Offerman) to a meditation class.
Leslie (Amy Poehler) learns the parks department budget is going to be cut, but she successfully convinces retiring Councilman Pillner (Bradley Whitford) - whose seat she is running to fill - to reconsider. Ben (Adam Scott) criticizes Leslie for allowing her preference for the parks department to get in the way of the election, which proves to be true when Pillner decides to cut the budget of an animal shelter instead, giving the animals only days to live. Bobby Newport's (Paul Rudd) campaign manager Jennifer Barkley (Kathryn Hahn) goes on television to label Leslie as an animal killer, so Leslie adopts all of the animals to save them.
Chris (Rob Lowe) reveals that Ron (Nick Offerman) is among the finalists for Assistant City Manager, but he first asks Ron to join him at a yoga studio for a meditation session. Although Ron agrees to go, he refuses to meditate. Nevertheless, Chris is impressed that Ron joined him despite his reservations and decides to hire him as Assistant City Manager once he is voted by the City Council for another term as City Manager. April (Aubrey Plaza) - who has been miserable trying to fulfill Leslie's duties in the parks department - decides to hold an adoption fair at a park for the displaced shelter animals and feels good about it; unfortunately, only one girl adopts a dog while a woman drops off two cats, so April ends the day with more animals than she started with. Meanwhile, Leslie and Ben convince Pillner to cut the budget by releasing employees on retainer. This also backfires when Pillner goes further and cuts numerous employees, including Ann (Rashida Jones). When Leslie and Ben confront Pillner again, he tells Leslie that he plays with "live ammo", meaning any decision that he makes in his job will always negatively affect some people, and warns Leslie that she will need to do the same thing if elected.
Councilman Howser tells Chris that the City Council is currently voting 3-2 to keep him as City Manager, but since Pillner is retiring, whoever is elected will be the new deciding vote. Bobby is not happy about Chris campaigning for Leslie in his spare time, so he will vote to remove Chris if elected. Chris comes to Ron for comfort and the two get drunk together. Chris feels better from Ron's reassurance and after seeing Ann walk by. April is depressed about the failure of the adoption drive, but Tom (Aziz Ansari) tells her the joy of the one girl adopting a dog should be enough, advising April to cherish the few victories, not the many defeats that come with the job. Leslie and Ben ask Jennifer to advise Bobby to fund the animal shelter using his own wealth, as they convinced Pillner to cut the parks budget instead of cutting jobs should Bobby refuse, making Leslie look like a hero for making a sacrifice. Jennifer is initially confused on why Leslie would give Bobby's campaign such an opportunity for great press, but Leslie confidently responds that she will easily defeat Bobby in the upcoming debate the next week.
The West Wing References
This episode makes many references to episodes of the television drama The West Wing.
- Guest star Bradley Whitford played Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Lyman
- Regular cast member Rob Lowe starred as Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn
- The framed "Pillner for Pawnee" napkin is a reference to the "Bartlet for America" napkin given to President Josiah Bartlet by Chief of Staff Leo McGarry in Episode 53 of The West Wing.
- The episode title, "Live Ammo" is a reference to Episode 28, in which Ainsley Hayes, noting how quickly things move in the White House, is told by Sam Seaborn that "we play with live ammo around here.". Additionally, Pillner states "We play with live ammo around here," in a conversation with Leslie and Ben.
- In the same conversation between Leslie, Ben, and Pillner, Leslie starts off a protestation with the phrase "Due respect," often used in The West Wing.
- The shot when Leslie discusses National Parks with Councilman Pillner parodies the 'walk and talk' shots regularly employed in The West Wing. Additionally, the discussion of National Parks may be a reference to President Bartlet's discussion of them with Josh Lyman in Episode 8, "Enemies"