I never did Model U.N. I was too busy working through a smooth jazz alto sax solo in Jazz band. I was really cool and popular in high school, see (cough). And Leslie Knope (like Amy Poehler herself) was that goodie-goodie heading up the Model U.N. security council. Though I know how to wet a reed, I, to this day, have no idea where Liechtenstein is. So, when the Pawnee Central High School Model U.N. needed someone to save their very existence, they did not call me (makes sense, since I am real and it is fictional). They instead called Pawnee Central Model U.N. legend Leslie Knope to “make it awesome” in the hopes of drumming up a bit of excitement. And she agrees to do just that. I just hope no one gets in her way. I’m looking at you, Peru.
How does one being to prepare for such a task? Busting out your mini-flag collection, displaying it at work, and assigning people countries is a good start. Leslie is Denmark, Ben, a fellow Model U.N. nerd (shocker!), is Peru. Andy negs Iceland and Japan because they were bad guys in action movies, then reaches for the German flag. Leslie gives him Finland instead. April wants to represent the moon. Leslie gives her South Africa. Ron declines participating on principle (the I’m-not-teaching-children-to-love-government principle), even though Leslie saved America for him. Thanks, but he’d rather sand down his toenails.
Tom’s in the office, even though he no longer works there (or at E720 (R.I.P.), but he has been spotted spraying men’s cologne samples at Macy’s). He’s there to help Ron search for his replacement. Obviously a tall order. A parade of job-seeking Pawneeans traipse in, from the uber-sketchy/clinically insane (note to producers: please hire the guy who played him; he was spectacular) to the once-incarcerated racists, to the spectacularly boring.
Captain TMI, Chris Traeger, ambushes Ann Perkins in the hallway, distressed that Jerry’s hot daughter Millicent hasn’t called him back after four dates. On Ann’s sarcastic advice, he decided to launch a full-scale investigation. Jerry has no insight for Chris (he’s too busy being trying not to vom), but Donna does: Chris is too available. Then, Donna delivers a gem of advice as only she can: You gotta dangle the carrot. Literally, and metaphorically.
There’s a global food crisis in Africa, people! And there are two 30-somethings embroiled in an ex-lovers’ quarrel! The perfect venue to address both of these pressing issues is the Pawnee Central Model U.N. meeting. At first, Ben (Peru) and Leslie (Denmark) are a powerful alliance, until a campaign-related photo-op pulls Leslie away from their scheming. She asks him to tread water until she’s ready, and this sends Ben in to a nerdy lovelorn anger spiral. Ben is sick of waiting for Leslie in any capacity. So he cuts Denmark out of the Model U.N. treaty. Denmark requests a summit, and Peru admits he can’t spend be friends with Denmark because he’s not as good at compartmentalizing as the great nation of Denmark.
So Denmark declares war on Peru.
The delegates from the countries that comprise the security council fail to back Denmark’s mad pleas for support. Luckily, Andy has fortified Finland with lions from every nation (he gave away his military and other “boring stuff” in exchange), and throws his support behind Denmark, along with the delegate from the moon/South Africa.
And Peru is being super nasty. Until Denmark promised to decapitate him and brandish his head in front of his weeping mother. The high school kids are appalled, and Madame Ambassador from France tries to wrest the meeting back to the task at hand: curing world hunger. But Peru and Denmark lose their shit and commandeer the podium to do diplomatic battle. The moon and the lions (and, randomly, a shaggy-haired, adolescent Botswana) stand with Denmark, but everyone else votes to stand with Peru and formally condemn Denmark.
Leslie and April, like a modern-day Angela Chase and Rayanne Graff, slouch against a bank of lockers and talk about boys. April encourages Leslie to make up with Ben, because she can’t stand living with a roommate who takes so many sadness baths. April offers support, and arranges, with Andy’s help, a “Camp David” between Leslie and Ben. Leslie and Ben drop the warmongering and open up to each other. Leslie wants her Ben back. She proposes a treaty: every day they have a fun conversation for five minutes at work. And he agrees.
Back at the office, Ron confronts Tom about his Macy’s stint (which he denies), and offers him his job back. Tom says he’ll do it if Ron begs him to in front of the staff. Ron acquiesces, but Tom denies him (funny!) and trots out the door. Ron busts out the Ron Swanson fast-walk, retrieves Tom from his flight through the City Halls, drags him back, and forces him to accept. Ron can be pretty convincing.
Leslie and Ben realize that they’ve royally screwed over the Pawnee Central Model U.N. They offer their City Council chambers for an upcoming statewide Model U.N. And, perhaps best of all, they promise not to show up.
Nothing like this ever happened in jazz band.
You can check out the full episode below.