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The free market is a jungle. It's beautiful and brutal and should be left alone. When a business fails, it dies, and a new, better one takes its place. Just let business be business and government be government.
Ron Swanson

"Bailout" is the sixteenth episode of season 5 of the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. It originally aired on March 14, 2013 to 3.00 million viewers.


Tom Haverford's company, Rent-A-Swag, is in full swing. Due to the high demand, he is forced to hire an assistant. He brings on Mona-Lisa Saperstein, the twin sister of Jean-Ralphio. Mona-Lisa slacks off on the job, and Tom lets her walk all over him.

Leslie Knope is shocked to learn that Pawnee Video Dome, owned by Dennis Lerpiss, is closing. This really shouldn't come as a surprise since video stores are going out of business left and right, and the Video Dome doesn't even carry any mainstream films. But Leslie's determined to keep the business afloat and petitions the city council to declare it as a historical landmark. This sends Ron Swanson into a tailspin, because there's nothing he hates more than the government meddling in private matters. Ron shows up at the city council meeting to express his feelings, stating that this is nothing more than a thinly veiled government bailout.

Chris Traeger voices his concerns about Ann Perkins asking him to be a sperm donor to Ben Wyatt. Though the thought of being a father excites him, he's worried he's not qualified to be a parent. Ben suggests that Chris practice his parenting skills on Tom and help him work out his issues with Mona-Lisa. Meanwhile, Ann is completely on edge waiting to hear back from Chris about whether or not he'll be her sperm donor.

April Ludgate begrudgingly comes to Ann, asking for a favor. She's applying to veterinary school, and she needs a letter of recommendation. Ann is thrilled to finally have the upper hand in her relationship with April; she agrees to write the letter for April, under one condition. April has to be her friend for one whole week and do everything she says. April has no choice but to agree to Ann's terms and takes part in Ann's parade of girly activities, like manicures and boy talk. Later, April senses a strange vibe between Ann and Chris and finally forces the truth out of Ann about the sperm donor debacle. The two share a surprisingly warm moment, and Ann is thrilled to finally have a breakthrough with April.

Chris takes his fatherly advice to Tom, advising him to lay down the law and tell Mona-Lisa that he won't be disrespected. Tom takes the advice and stands up to Mona-Lisa, threatening to fire her if she doesn't do her job. Tom's assertive behavior has a surprising effect – Mona-Lisa thinks it's sexy when he's bossy, and the two quickly become a very dysfunctional "item."

Leslie's initiative passes and the Pawnee Video Dome receives government funding as a historical landmark. But Leslie is horrified to see the outcome: Dennis has transformed the store into a pornography rental service, giving the people what they wanted. Pawnee's infamous porn star, Brandi Maxxxx, is there to celebrate the opening and encourages the crowd to join her in thanking Leslie for reinvigorating the porn industry in Pawnee.

After learning about Tom and Mona-Lisa's relationship, Chris worries that he just made everything worse. But Jerry Gergich jumps in with some surprisingly wise words – every parent makes mistakes; it's the small victories that keep you going. This encourages Chris to commit, and he informs Ann that he's in.


Ron: This man is a failure. He is not up to snuff. His business is failing and you're bailing it out. This is a bailout and I don't like it.

Leslie: Any other questions before we- [sees Ron approach the podium; she's surprised] Ron? What are you doing in a city council meeting? Are you lost? Are you hurt?
Ron: No, I am here to express an opinion. This action, by Councilwoman Knope, is nothing more than a thinly veiled government bailout. And I, for one, refuse to let her to turn this town into a socialist hellscape.

Ron: The government should not prop up a failed business. That would be like giving food to a mortally wounded animal instead of slitting its throat and properly utilizing its meat and pelt.

[3 days later, Leslie and Andy walk down to the new and improved Pawnee Video Dome; Ron greets them]
Ron: Councilwoman! I just came down to see the effects of your government intervention and I've got to hand it to you - you really turned this place around. [Leslie and Andy are filled with joy]
Leslie: Really? [they go inside and Leslie is amazed] Oh, my God, this is amazing! Dennis!
Dennis Lerpiss: Hey!
Leslie: You did it! We did it! I did it!

[Ron shows Leslie Pawnee Video Dome's new advertisement: "XXX Adult DVD Emporium"; Leslie's joy turns to shock]
Dennis Lerpiss: I took your advice - got rid of all those dusty, old foreign films and used the money for the part of our business that has always done pretty well for us. [the camera shows some of the porn DVDs, such as "SPANKS For Coming to Dinner", "Hot Tub Nurses", and "High Heel Hellcats"]
Leslie: Do you realize what you have done? The Pawnee government now effectively owns a porn shop. You have made us porn peddlers! [Ron laughs]

Ron: And I'll have the Number 8.
Waiter: That's a party platter - it serves twelve people.
Ron: I know what I'm about, son.

Ron: Capitalism is the only way, Leslie. It moves our country forward. It's what makes America great. ...And England okay and France terrible.

Ron: When a business fails, it dies. And a new, better one takes its place. Just let business be business and government be government. [Leslie nods as if she now understands]

Waiter: [bringing Leslie and Ron's food] Here you go! And one Number 8.
Ron: Alright. Party time.
Leslie: [to the waiter] I would suggest sticking around and watching him eat it 'cuz it only takes four minutes, and it's pretty amazing.

Ron: These will not be necessary. [hands the waiter the parsley and tomatoes]