While Leslie's Directors picnic was the central source of Parks and Recreation's comedy, the drama came from Andy and April, who, after falling for each other in their respective dumb-witted and detached ways all season, finally had a date... almost.
Uniting all living Pawnee Parks Directors on an outing for the department's summer catalog, Leslie enlisted the two to help out with the trip. April's affection for Andy is obvious, if unspoken, and his has appeared reciprocal, if dopey, so the idea of the would-be young lovers frolicking in the sun-dappled dewy grass seemed to present a pretty pastoral episode. Everything starts well. Flirtation is automatic and immediate for those crazy kids, getting silly while packing baskets, swapping sweaters and giggling. Ah, youth! The picnic is perfect until the guests of honor arrive, three old men set to out-grumpify each other. Boo, senility!
Andy and April's romance has built in hints and telling looks for months, but they haven't come close to becoming a real couple (though, as Ann and Mark's deteriorating subplot shows, they're already the happiest pair on the show). Swayed by the scenery, Andy finally made his move and asked April to drinks after work, forgetting she is underage. Both become bubbly with nervous excitement in the buildup to the friendly date, before things go awry with the bouncer. Drunk off the sunlight or each other, they still can't drink together, and their differences show themselves suddenly in a moment of heartbreaking awkwardness.
The confused emotions in the smiles of the separately sulking crushes create a similarly confusing final mood overall. Without losing its hilarity, Parks and Recreation has been able to create dramatic tension between two of its comedic foils and spark an intriguing romance that just can't start itself. Their near-love is converse to Ann and Mark's normalized courtship that began without reason and has gone on too long, becoming a hollow exchange of reassurances and meaningless gift giving. Vesting interesting secondary characters with the most compelling relationship in the series—besides Ron and Leslie's platonic master-student model—hopefully means a real date might actually happen, maybe something less illegal. They already have the cute first photograph—the one good thing to come from the picnic, and the cause of all that blissful blushing.