I went to our nation's capital this weekend in order to apply for a federal grant to clean up our city's river. But things move pretty slow in Washington and I'm not going to wait around. And I was recently reminded by someone that I'm not the type of person to shy away from hard work.
Leslie Knope

"Ms. Knope Goes to Washington" is the season premiere of the fifth season of the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. It originally premiered on September 20, 2012 to 3.52 million viewers.

Storyline Edit

Leslie Knope and Andy Dwyer have arrived in Washington, D.C. She’s there to visit her boyfriend Ben Wyatt, who took April Ludgate with him to D.C. as his intern, but also to try to get federal funding to clean up the Pawnee River.

Back in Pawnee, Ron Swanson announces he will be throwing the annual Parks Department Employee Appreciation Barbecue at Ramsett Park in the absence of Leslie – Leslie is usually responsible for the event and has dubbed it The Leslie Knope Employment Enjoyment Summerslam Grill Jam Fun-Splosion. Ron is adamant that the event will consist of nothing but a barbecue, as he rules out having any of the traditional fun and games usually had when Leslie runs it. On the day, Ron brings along a pig he intends to kill and cook, but is halted by Ranger Patrick who points out just how wrong that practice would be, as it breaks many laws and health codes. Ron subsequently settles with buying meat from Food and Stuff, which delays proceedings and forces everyone to wait.

After visiting the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, Leslie and Andy meet up with Ben and April at the National Museum of American History. Leslie has many grand plans for the day and hopes to see everything at the museum with Ben. However, Ben informs her that he is busy all day and cannot join her, but tells her to meet him back at his office as soon as she’s done with her meeting at the Department of the Interior.

Back at Ramsett Park, everyone at the barbecue is complaining that they’re hungry. Donna notices Ann and Tom bickering, and comments that she “senses trouble in the Haverkins household”, but the couple insists they’re stronger than ever. Ann and Tom reveal to the camera that their drunken decision to move in together (at the end of "Win, Lose, or Draw") wasn’t a success and realized after the first day that they had made a huge mistake. However, everyone was so smug and insistent that it wouldn’t last, that they decided to pretend to be together still just so no one would get the satisfaction of being right.

At the Department of the Interior, Leslie is disappointed to find out that her face-to-face meeting she scheduled with Mr. Jepson was never registered, and is told by his receptionist to just leave the proposal on top of a big pile of other proposals. Leslie was under the impression she would be able to specifically present her application, but it turns out all applications are simply handed in and sifted through in due course. Feeling sorry for Leslie, the receptionist notes that she will make sure he reads it and takes down Leslie's details.

Ben later surprises Leslie with an invitation to a "swanky" D.C. cocktail party. There, Leslie is overwhelmed by all the tall, powerful women surrounding her and feels out of place and intimidated by the situation. Leslie is also overwhelmed by the position Ben is in, and feels her position as a lowly councilwoman does not stack up to the new people Ben is involved with. Back in Pawnee, Leslie laments to Andy about Ben and her jealousy of the powerful woman she met in D.C.. Andy reassures her that she is better than all of those women combined, noting she is "kickass" Leslie, who never gives up and gets things done. This inspires her to begin cleaning up Pawnee River herself.

Back at the barbecue, Ron grows tired of everyone complaining. With his co-workers yammering about the amount of time he is taking and the lack of eating utensils he has brought, Ron quits on the barbecue and drives off, leaving those in attendance in shock and with no food. Later, back at City Hall, Tom and Ann are finally caught out by Donna, but she agrees to let their deceiving ways slide out of respect for their efforts to cover up what was really going on. Ron calls everyone into the main room of the Parks Department. He tells them their work is appreciated and provides them with the food he skipped on at Ramsett Park, thus making up for his poor hosting of the Employee Appreciation Barbecue.


Guest StarsEdit

  • John McCain as himself
  • Barbara Boxer as herself
  • Olympia Snowe as herself



A gallery of episode photos can be viewed here.


Leslie: Take a deep breath, Andy. You can practically smell the bills becoming laws. You can taste the sweet sugar of bureaucracy at work.
Andy: That building looks like a boob.
Leslie: Yeah, well, it's not.
Andy: Oh, yeah I know. That's the White House.
Leslie: No, it's the Capitol.

Leslie: Romantic reunions. Government meetings. Self-guided museum tours. I mean, am I living the dream? I don't know! Did I also just walk past a food truck and buy myself a waffle sundae? Yes!

Leslie: Now take out your guide book.
Andy: Oh, I didn't bring a guide book.
Leslie: Oh! I brought you one. [hands him a book]
Andy: You did? Thank you!
Leslie: Now throw it away! 'Cause Leslie Knope is your guide book.
Andy: [throws the book down the steps]
Leslie: I didn't...I didn't mean literally, there's some notes in it. Okay, grab the book, and let's hit the National Mall.
Andy: There's a mall? Awesome, I need to get some flip-flops.

Ron: I wanted to let you all know that I will be throwing the annual Parks Department Employee Appreciation Barbecue.
Donna: You're gonna throw the Leslie Knope Employment Enjoyment Summerslam Grill Jam Fun-Splosion?
Ron: That's right.
Tom: You are going to oversee the popsicle eating contest, the Slip-n-Slide-athon, watermelon carving, the gazpacho-off, and star in a one-woman show about Parks rules and regulations?
Jerry: Parks and Dolls! [singing] You got your park right here, its name is Ramsett Park.
Everybody: [singing] And its gates are open from dawn till dark.
Ron: I am not doing any of that, which is the point.

Ron: Barbecues should be about one thing: good shared meat.

Ron: There will be no froofy desserts. There will be no giant-soap-bubble guns. There will be no adult men in costumes. And most of all, there will be no f***ing vegetables.
Jerry: Well, Ron, can we at least have corn on the cob?
Ron: No.

Leslie: "In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever." Andy, what are you doing?
Andy: [laying on the steps of the memorial, knocking on them] Have you ever seen any of the National Treasure movies? Everything in this city is a clue.
Leslie: Nothing in that movie is accurate.
Andy: Ah-ha! A clue! Check it out!
Leslie: I think that's just gum.
Andy: How do I know this isn't a treasure map just waiting to be unfurled?
Leslie: Because it's gum.

Leslie: 1776: a nation was born.
Andy: Which nation?

Ron: In my opinion, not enough people have looked their dinner in the eyes and considered the circle of life. This is your dinner. His name is Tom.

Ron: Tom is very smart and incredibly loyal. He's basically a dog. A dog we're going to cook, chew, and swallow.
Ann: Dude, there's kids around here!
Ron: Good point. Which one of you youngsters wants to help me drain the blood from this animal? If you do a good job, I'll give you the bladder. You can blow it up for a fun play ball.

Leslie: [to Andy and April] Let's go get some astronaut ice cream or something.
Andy: We were thinking about maybe just...uhh...maybe we were gonna go back to...
April: We're going to have sex.

Leslie: It is nice to see you again.
Ben: Are you talking to my butt?
Leslie: Yes.

Tom: Man, I'm hungry and my legs are tired. It feels like I just exercised.
Jerry: Just sit on the ground.
Tom: No, Jerry! It's dirty and I'm wearing my summer linens.
Ann: God, you're such a baby. Look, I brought a picnic blanket from your house.
Tom: That's not a picnic blanket! That's a Merino wool blanket for my Eames chair.

Tom: Everyone said it wouldn't last.
Ann: And it didn't. Shocking that our drunken plan to move in wasn't a success. After the first day, we realized we'd made a huge mistake.
Tom: Huge!
Ann: However, everyone was being so smug about it, saying there's no way it would last, so we're pretending to still be together. That way, no one gets the satisfaction of being right. Even though they are, but still.
Tom: More importantly, I bet Donna a thousand dollars that we'd be together for another month. Can't stress this enough: if she finds out that we broke up, I'll go bankrupt.

Tom: Ron, my tummy's rumbling! It's scary! Tommy's got the tum-rums.

Jerry: Is there at least something to drink?
Ron: There's beer in the cooler.
Chris: What about for the children?
Ron: You can get water from that water fountain and use it to water down the beer.
Ann: Why don't just give the kids water?
Ron: I suppose you could do that. Now will everyone just back off and let me cook in peace?

Ron: These people are soft. They're grill virgins. But by the time this day is over, they'll have been taken by the grill and delicately and tenderly shown the ways of flavorful meat love. Mmmm...the first time is so beautiful.

Leslie: Ben and I are a power couple. Like the Roosevelts or the Clintons. I've got a big meeting here, Ben is off running a congressional campaign. I mean, the only way we could be more awesome is if we had our own signature dance move. Oh wait, we do!

Leslie: I'm Leslie Knope. I have a 3 o'clock with Mr. Jepson.
Secretary: What's this in reference to?
Leslie: I'm here to present my application for the federal Riverbed Preservation Grant.
Secretary: Oh! [laughs] Most people just mail their applications in.
Leslie: I'm not most people.
Secretary: Mr. Jepson actually had to step out for the day. You can just add your proposal to that pile over there.
Leslie: Oh, I'm sorry, I was told I would have a face-to-face meeting with him so I could make my case for my town. Does he have office hours?
Secretary: He's unavailable for the rest of the week, but you can just add the proposal. He'll get to it.
Leslie: It's kind of special application. There's a CD inside that plays the sound of a babbling river and I was going to play that while I gave my presentation. I was also going to show a DVD that had some images of frolicking river otters.
Secretary: You know what, I'll make sure he reads it. What city is it for?
Leslie: Pawnee.
Secretary: Is that Pawnee in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, or Texas?
Leslie: [quietly] Indiana.

Andy: Hey, Benja-meen, how fancy is this party tonight? I mean, is it like a shorts or a pants kind of gala?
Ben: ...pants.
Andy: Great. Can we just stop by the nearest place that has free pants?

Chris: I know that Ron doesn't want us to eat anything before the meat, but I smuggled in some candy.
Tom: Oh, thank God. I'm starving. [looks at what Chris handed him] Ugh! Raisins?
Chris: It's nature's candy!

Ann: Oh my God. Did you put glitter in the laundry detergent?
Tom: Oh, yeah. I'm experimenting with some new entrepreneurial ideas. That one's called Sparkle Suds: dress loud.
Ann: Will you stop putting glitter in everything?! This morning you put glitter in the butter.
Tom: Disco Dairy: spread the party.
Ann: No, that's not a good idea. That's terrible.
Tom: Well, the target demographic isn't angry middle-aged nurses.

April: Put your used plate in my purse. I almost have a complete set.

Leslie: Pawnee, Missouri is a total craphole.

Leslie: Ben and I both did some amazing things today. He scored a victory for the congressional campaign he's working on, and I was mistaken for Beverly D'Angelo by a Japanese tourist. So...pretty big day for both of us.

Chris: Ron, where are my vegan soy patties?
Ron: Oh, I gave them to the kids. They love them. They're skipping them across the pond.

Jerry: Donna, I got to go to the boys' room. Can I have a ride in your car?
Donna: Absolutely not.

Ann: Do you have any plates or anything? I mean, how are we supposed to eat these rumps?

Jerry: Ron, if no one takes me to the bathroom, I'm just going to have to go in the trees.

Ron: You have ruined a perfectly good barbecue with your demands and chatter.

Leslie: Does anybody feel like they can't breathe? I think I need some fresh air.
April: We're outside.
Leslie: God, these women! They're so smart and accomplished and pretty. And tall! Why are they all so tall? It's like C-Span and Neiman Marcus had kids or something.

Leslie: We're overrun with raccoons and obese toddlers.

Leslie: I'm just tired, okay? I saw twenty-four historical sites in a day and it's a hundred and twenty degrees out with two hundred percent humidity because this is a stupid swamp town.

Leslie: You're the most amazing boyfriend ever. And if you don't get out of here soon, I'm going to punch you in the face.

Senator John McCain: Excuse me, I just need to get my coat here.
Leslie: Could you give me a minute here, please?
Senator John McCain: Are you okay? Can I get you anything?
Leslie: I'd like you to just leave and give me a little privacy here, please.
Senator John McCain: Alright, I'm sorry. I hope everything's okay.
Leslie: Nosy people have no respect for personal space.

Ann: I put glitter in all your moisturizers and lotions. I'm calling it Sparkle Skin by Annie. Twinkle, twinkle big star!
Tom: Ann! That is an amazing idea and I will buy it from you.

Donna: As someone who has lied a lot about various aspects of a myriad of relationships, I respect the effort you've gone to.

Ann: I guess that's it.
Tom: Yep. The end of a relationship. And the beginning of a partnership! Let's talk Sparkle Skin. Do we know anyone in product development over at Sephora?
Ann: Good-bye, Tom.

Andy: [showing Leslie photos] Here's a picture of me and April making out in her apartment. Here's a picture of us making out in Ben's office. This is us making out--I don't know where that is, but you can tell that she's sucking on my lip. [laughs] Traveling.

Andy: You OK, boss?
Leslie: No, not really. I know I should be focusing on this river cleanup, but all I keep thinking about is Ben laughing in a helicopter with Hot Rebecca.
Andy: Who's Hot Rebecca?
Leslie: She's just this jealousy amalgam I created. [Andy stares, confused] I combined all of the giant dark-haired smartphone power goddesses into one woman called Hot Rebecca.
Andy: Oooh.
Leslie: I mean, Ben's life is filled with senators and briefings and Super PACs. I can't even get a meeting with some bureaucrat.
Andy: [laughing] I don't even know what a bureaucrat is. Everything is gonna be fine with you and Ben because if I know Ben, he too is an amalgam.
Leslie: No.
Andy: Yeah. Point is, you're better than Hot Rebebcca. You're Kickass Leslie. Long distance relationships are never easy but you never ever give up on stuff.
Leslie: Thanks.
Andy: That's what makes you...
Leslie: Nope.
Andy: amalgam. Nailed it.

Ron: My department is pouting because I didn't put on a puppet show based on the funniest e-mail chain of the year.
Chris: I would have liked to have seen that show. My nomination was Jerry accidentally forwards his bank statement to everyone. Classic! And depressing.

Leslie: I went to our nation's capital this weekend in order to apply for a federal grant to clean up our city's river. But things move pretty slow in Washington and I'm not going to wait around. And I was recently reminded by someone that I'm not the type of person to shy away from hard work.
Andy: What? Did I--do you need something from me right now?
Leslie: No, never mind. The point is, I'm going to clean up this river by myself. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., I will be here. Those are my office hours. You wanna come and talk to me or ask me questions or raise an issue, this is where I'll be. Let's get to work, Pawnee. [walks up to the shore of the Pawnee River] Oh my God, the smell is so much worse when you get up close.
Andy: Yeah. Oh, look! A handgun! I call it!
Leslie: Holy!

Ron: Your work is appreciated. Eat some corn.

Andy: The White House! America's most whitest house. Most notably, is where Sinbad lived in the film First Kid.
April: Sinbad? Wow. The other tour guide never said anything about that.
Andy: Do you know why it's called the Oval Office?
April: No.
Andy: Cause my man, Orville Redenbacher, a popcorn inventor, he used to hang out with John F. Kennedy.
April: Excuse me, attention everyone! This tour guide is the most amazing tour guide there ever was. Please, step up. $200. Cash. Up front.