Parks and Recreation (2009–2015)
1 user 1 critic

The Banquet 

At a banquet honouring her mother, Leslie tries to convince a local zoning official to support her park project. But sensing resistance, Lesie resorts to blackmail. Meanwhile, Tom and Mark ditch the festivities to hit the bars.


Beth McCarthy-Miller (as Beth McCarthy Miller)


Greg Daniels (created by), Michael Schur (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Amy Poehler ... Leslie Knope
Rashida Jones ... Ann Perkins
Paul Schneider ... Mark Brendanawicz
Aziz Ansari ... Tom Haverford
Nick Offerman ... Ron Swanson
Aubrey Plaza ... April Ludgate
Chris Pratt ... Andy Dwyer
Pamela Reed ... Marlene Knope
Bruce Jarchow ... Frank Schnable
Loretta Fox Loretta Fox ... Janine Restrepo
Jim Meskimen ... Martin Housely
Retta ... Donna Meagle
Jim O'Heir ... Jerry Gergich
Cletus Young Cletus Young ... Salvatore
Vanessa Vander Pluym ... Stacy


At a banquet honouring her mother, Leslie tries to convince a local zoning official to support her park project. But sensing resistance, Lesie resorts to blackmail. Meanwhile, Tom and Mark ditch the festivities to hit the bars.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

female protagonist | See All (1) »




TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 May 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ron Swanson's nickname for Leslie Knope's mother, Marlene Griggs-Knope, is The Iron Cock-Shredder of Pawnee. The name is bleeped out but you can read Ron's lips. See more »


Leslie Knope: Then, I think what we want to do at that point is start getting the energy up.
Tom Haverford: Yeah. How about this: Marlene Griggs-Knope is definitely not a whore.
Leslie Knope: No.
Tom Haverford: Marlene Griggs-Knope has not five, but seven Asian friends. Marlene Griggs-Knope has never solicited a male prostitute. Marlene Griggs-Knope has said the N-word only four times in her entire life.
Leslie Knope: No. No!
Tom Haverford: She said it more than that?
See more »


Parks and Recreation Main Theme
Composed by Gaby Moreno and Vincent Jones
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User Reviews

Another below-average episode in Season 1
24 July 2018 | by brenbellaSee all my reviews

We are getting very close to where I believe the show truly turns into top form. "The Banquet" is an episode that shows brief glimpses of the show's brilliance, but ultimately falls flat in the end. I, of course, don't want to entirely bash this episode, because I understand the hard work and dedication that was put into making it. With that being said, I do consider it one of the weaker Parks episodes, so I won't entirely praise it either.

The A-plot shows the Parks crew attend a (you guessed it) banquet where Leslie's mom will receive a public service award. There are definitely some great comedic moments here including Leslie's "dude haircut" and Ann being way over-dressed. There also are some good Ron moments as well, including his unbridled love for bacon-wrapped shrimp; "my number one favorite food, wrapped around my number three favorite food." Quick side note, I kind of find it hard to believe that a type of seafood is his third favorite food, but I digress.

The B-plot shows Tom and Mark go bar-hopping to pick up women. In my opinion, this is a weak side-plot, and I think could have worked way better with a character in Mark's replacement like Andy for example. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Mark's character, but I just think he is not the right fit for this type of show. The biggest issue with Season 1, is the inconsistency of tone. It is pretty clear that the writers haven't found the right tone for their show yet, which I think they absouly nail in the next season. In a way, the character of Mark represents the grounded and realistic tone that the show starts to maneuver away from. In a show like The Office, Mark would have been a good fit, but in a show like this one, that is set in the wacky town of Pawnee full of wild, idiosyncratic characters, he just isn't a good fit.

"The Banquet" is not one of the strongest episodes in the series, but I believe is the last below-average episode we get for a very long time. Things finally start to truly get great after this one.

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