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Well, Paunch Burger just recently came out with a new 128-ounce option. Most people call it a gallon, but they call it the regular. Then, there is a horrifying 512-ounce version that they call child size. How is this a child-sized soda?
Leslie Knope

"Soda Tax" is the second episode of season 5 of the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. It originally premiered on September 27, 2012 to 3.27 million viewers.


In Washington, D.C., Ben Wyatt and April Ludgate receive 12 care packages from Leslie Knope and Andy Dwyer, filled with goodies from Leslie and laundry from Andy. The pair are still settling into their new environment, with Ben trying to get his interns in line, while April remains her cheeky self that puts in minimal effort. Ben is not pleased with his interns' insubordination and attempts to be more assertive, but to no avail. After seeing crude, mocking drawings of him on the wall, Ben calls his boss Jennifer Barkley to request intern changes, but upon realizing how connected they all are, he changes his tactics and attempts to "kiss their assess" instead, specifically trying to get on Ellis' good side. He organises pizza and game of frisbee to try and gain his interns' respect, but just when he thinks he's on track to being on their level, another crude drawing pops up on the wall, leading to Ben lashing out at Ellis. It is revealed, however, that it was April who was putting up the drawings as a way of trying to get Ben to loosen up. Ben does not appreciate the gesture as he was the one who brought April to D.C. because he saw potential in her. April apologizes to Ben and changes her own tactics: getting the interns in line herself with her unpleasant demeanour.

Meanwhile in Pawnee, Leslie has proposed her first bill: to put a tax on all the city's sugary sodas so as to discourage citizens from drinking them. She meets with Pawnee Restaurant Association spokeswoman Kathryn Pinewood to discuss the terms of her bill and to question the reasoning behind the city's growing drink sizes. Kathryn retorts Leslie and her bill by stating if her bill passes, local restaurants will suffer and massive job losses will ensue. Leslie attempts to call her bluff, but Kathryn insists she vote against the bill or a press release will be issued that puts the blame solely on Leslie for the supposed job losses. Leslie begins doubting herself and her judgement, so she holds a public forum to gauge the community's view and insists on getting Ron Swanson's opinion on what she should do. The forum comes up empty, while Ron tells her to go with her gut and not worry about a slightly negative image. She does just that, voting yes to the bill. With 3 votes to 2, the bill passes. Leslie notes afterwards that Kathryn and her association would never lay people off, effectively calling her bluff.

Elsewhere, Chris Traeger and Tom Haverford have volunteered to help get Andy Dwyer into shape for his police entrance exam, which is just three months away. Andy sees it as a daunting task, but Chris assures him that if he can focus his mind and his body, anything is possible. The trio head to Pawnee's community college where Chris and Tom coach Andy during his two-mile run, that he has to be able to complete in under 25 minutes. After his first attempt sees him finish in just under 30 minutes, Chris tries to motivate Andy by asking him to recite why he wants to be a policeman. Andy's reason being to do it for April hits Chris deep, as his reason for keeping fit is purely for physical reasons. Chris begins to realize he runs to keep himself from remembering how alone he is, forcing his body to quit on him as he falls into a depressed state. Later, Tom recommends Chris see a therapist, which Chris receives as a positive suggestion.


Guest Stars


  • Yvans Jordain as Councilman Howser
  • Mark Scully as Pearl
  • Lee De Broux as Terrence
  • Bobby Reed as Grover
  • Courtney Cook as Dee Dee
  • Roderick Lamar McCarthy as Roger
  • Pete Ploszek as Ellis


  • While Leslie and Ann are meeting with Kathryn Pinewood, A Leslie puts the 512 ounce cup over her head. When the camera angle changes behind Leslie, a second 512 ounce cup with a lid and straw appears on the table in front of her with no one placing it there. It is there still when the shot changes back behind Pinewood.


April: [reading Andy's letter] April, here's something to remind you of our three-legged dog Champion. Also, you are way better at laundry. Can you please do mine and send it back to me? Thanks, Mouse Rat rules! Love, Andy. P.S. Please hurry. I've been wearing a bandana for underwear for 3 days now.

Leslie: What did you put in this sugar? It's so good!

Ron: Ah! Councilwoman! In honor of your never-ending quest to personally babysit each and every American citizen, I went to Paunch Burger and got myself a number two: Double Bacon Grenade Deluxe with hash browns, chili cheese fries, and one poached egg.
Ann: Ugh, number two is right.

Ben: Hey, everybody. So, I've been going over your reports. Let's try to be consistent with our fonts, guys, okay? There's a crazy amount of random font differences in these memos.
April: Yeah, people, consistent font usage. Come on!
Ben: Times New Roman. Across the board. No Geneva, no Garamond, and definitely no Papyrus.
April: Paparyus? Are you kidding me? There's no place for that in a professional office setting.
Ben: Yes! Thank you, April.

Ben: They call me "Devo" because I can whip 'em good.

Ben: Obviously, make sure the content's perfect, too. Oh, and 12 point. 13's just obnoxious.

Donna: So you boys are going to work out together, huh? Nice! Whereabouts?
Chris: Community college!
Donna: [after thinking a moment] Yeah, that's too far.

Andy: Number one is being able to run 2 miles in under 25 minutes. That's a typo right? That's not humanly possible.

Leslie: Ms. Pinewood, recently many of the local restaurants have changed their Small size option to a whopping 64-ounces. [Ann pulls out a cup that would normally sell as a Large size]
Kathryn Pinewood: That's correct. And it's great for the consumer. More bang for the buck! Are we putting bargains on trial here?
Ann: How could any sane person call that "Small"?
Kathryn Pinewood: Well, if the customer truly wants a smaller size, there is an option.
Ann: Oh, do you mean the "Little Swallow"? [pulls out a little cup that could be used to rinse and spit] Does anybody buy that?
Kathryn Pinewood: Some little girls buy them for their dollhouses.

Leslie: Well, Paunch Burger just recently came out with a new 128-ounce option. [Ann pulls out a cup the size of a 50 pound medicine ball] Most people call it a gallon, but they call it the "Regular". Then, there is a horrifying 512-ounce version that they call Child size. [Ann pulls out a cup that's almost the size of a pay phone] How is this a Child-sized soda?
Kathryn Pinewood: Well, it's roughly the size of a two-year old child, if the child were liquefied. It's a real bargain at $1.59.

Andy: I'll never be a cop! I'll have to be a robber...

Ben: Ellis is Congressman Murrary’s nephew, Nathanial is related to Donald Rumsfeld, and Britney’s dad is Ben Bernanky’s dentist. Every single one of these twerps is seriously connected. So, new plan: instead of firing them, I am going to kiss their asses like crazy.

Kathryn Pinewood: The 'zero' refers to the amount of water in Water Zero. If you want less calories, try Diet Water Zero Lite. It only has 60 calories.

Townsperson: I want the tax. My husband started drinking those giant sodas and he’s gained 100 pounds in three months. Consequently, we haven’t had sex in 10 years.

Grover: All taxation is theft. If the government can tax me, I can do this. [grabs woman's purse]
Leslie: Grover, give that woman her purse back.
Grover: [looking inside the purse] There's a lot of pill bottles in here.

Ben: Guess what's in these boxes, everybody. What? Pizza! That's right. Everybody chill out, take a pizza break on me. Ellis! What's up, my male? Grab a slice of 'za, brah.
Ellis: Alright.
Ben: [noticing Ellis' computer wallpaper] Hey, dude. Do you play Ultimate Frisbee?
Ellis: Yeah, I play intermural at Georgetown.
Ben: Dude! So did I in college.
April: Whoa! You guys should get married!
Ben: We should play tomorrow morning in the park.
Ellis: What about the website?
Ben: Whatever. You can put those pics up anytime. We should lock down some tight disc grabs, am I right Ell-bones?
Ellis: Yeah, sounds good. Better than working.
Ben: [laughing] No doubt, no doubt!

Ben: Let's do it to it, my dudes!

Townsperson 2: If we put a tax on soda, I mean, what's next? Income?
Leslie: Sir, you don't pay your income tax?
Townsperson 2: Whether or not I pay income tax is none of the government's business.
Leslie: Well, no, actually it is.
Townsperson 2: Well, you don't know my name or what I look like, so good luck finding me.

Townsperson 3: I think we should tax all bad things. Like racism and women's vaginas.
Ann: We're not taxing anyone's genitals.
Townsperson 3: Then what the hell are we doing here? Come on, boys. [he and some men get up to leave]

Ben: Nice catch! Someone please tell me we Kodaked that moment.

Ben: Yeah! Rock that scoober!

Leslie: It's like I'm floating in this giant river of ambiguity. I'm under a warm waterfall of uncertainty.
Ann: Do you just have to pee real bad?
Leslie: Yes! I've lost all of my instincts. I'm lost!

Ben: Hey, Ellis! Ell-bow! Ell-Chupacabra. Drinking coffee!
Ellis: What?
Ben: Oh, it'''s from 40 years ago. Never mind.

Andy: Wow, sounds like you're going through some tough stuff right now. Too bad there's not doctors for your mind.

Ben: April's not my daughter, she's my friend. Does everyone think she's my daughter?!

Chris: The tests and blood work came back and the news is terrible. [Andy gasps] They found nothing.
Tom: Nothing?
Chris: Nothing. A silent killer.

Ron: Take this compass. All great adventurers need one.
Leslie: Thank you. And, as far as all this firing stuff goes...I will not forget and I will never forgive you.

Leslie: I may have made some enemies today, but that is part of the job. And who knows? Maybe in the future my enemies will become my friends. Stranger things have happened.

April: Ellis hates you and he has herpes.