I just want to get the work over as soon as possible so I can do some fishing. Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga except I still get to kill something.
Ron Swanson

"Camping" is the eighth episode of season 3 of the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. It originally aired on March 24, 2011 to 5.15 million viewers.

Storyline Edit

Leslie Knope is being publicly recognized for her highly-successful Harvest Festival by City Manager Paul Iaresco. During the ceremony, Paul has a heart attack and grabs Leslie’s breast as he collapses in pain. Paul being out of commission brings back Chris Traeger to temporarily fill in as City Manager. Ann Perkins, who was dumped by Chris before he left Pawnee, is subsequently uncomfortable and awkward when running into Chris for the first time.

Chris requests of Leslie more large-scale ideas to generate revenue, placing pressure on her to follow up the Harvest Festival, so she organizes what she calls a mandatory work/brainstorming retreat for the Parks and Recreation Department, a fancy name for camping in Pawnee's Wamapoke County Forest. Naturally, the rest of the office is reluctant: Ron Swanson would prefer to skip the get-together and go camping by himself (presumably at some private campground) and fish; Tom Haverford would prefer to bask in his huge tent filled with items from SkyMall; and April Ludgate hates the outdoors altogether. Ben Wyatt also comes along, but brings only a sleeping bag. To entice April to go, Andy Dwyer decides to meet her there to keep her company; he sees it as an opportunity to build a love-tent for her. Tom expresses confusion as to why Ben, a state auditor who had been helping with Pawnee's financial problems, has not returned to his old job at Indianapolis; Ben does not explain his reasons, but it is hinted he harbors romantic feelings for Leslie.

The trip doesn’t quite go to plan for Leslie. None of her staff attempt to come up with a good idea as they deduce Leslie's grand idea will supersede any of their ideas anyway. Leslie later admits to the group that she never had an idea and expresses her concern for falling into obscurity following the Harvest Festival. Chris pays a visit during his nightly jog, and Ann leaves with him so they can clear the air. Over dinner, Chris once again acts optimistic while discussing the break-up that Ann thinks their relationship is back on and tries to kiss him but is rejected, severely embarrassing her. Everyone else decides to call it quits and head home. However, due to Tom using the car battery all day to power “Thunderdome” (the name for his tent full of his everyday needs), no one can do so.

At Jerry’s suggestion, the group heads to a nearby bed and breakfast called The Quiet Corn, an establishment run by an old lady named Elsa Clack. Elsa is an over-the-top cat lover, which creeps everyone out. Andy arrives and rebuilds the romantic tent in the yard for a flattered April. Leslie tells Ron about her mental block, worrying she will never again reproduce an idea better than the Harvest Festival. Ron, recognizing how burnt out she is, solves Leslie's problem by locking her in a bedroom and ordering her to get some sleep. With a rare full night's sleep energizing her, Leslie wakes up with numerous big ideas that are well received by Chris.


Leslie: [After Iaresco's heart attack] "That was the second most awkward way a man has ever grabbed my breast."

Leslie: You only get one chance to make a second impression.

Ben: I'm just gonna sleep on the floor.
Ron: It's called the ground when it's outside.

April: The air is too fresh. It's disgusting. I can't breathe. And there is a brook somewhere that won't stop babbling. Shut up!

Leslie: I'm so desperate I even brought in my dream journal hoping it would inspire me.
Ann: [reading an entry] "I married ALF and we're pretty happy." That sounds nice.
Leslie: It was.

Ron: What the f**k is a German muffin?

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.