“New Beginnings” will be remembered for one thing, and it has nothing to do with Chris and Ann: we learn where Ron Swanson keeps his bacon stash. (Why wouldn’t it be the ceiling? He doesn’t have an Annie’s Boobs, or greased Scotsmen, to worry about.) That’s not a bad legacy. The rest of the episode is Parks-level solid, too, with Leslie and Ben returning from their carefree tryst in Paris to get back to work, only to have trouble shedding their old selves. They’re both too rules-orientated for their own good, especially an extremely flustered and uptight Ben, but ESPECIALLY Leslie, who believes her coworkers are helpless without her guidance. (Just one of many reasons why she shouldn’t have been rehired, but we’ll save that for another time.) That’s, of course, not true: Tom and April are more than capable on their own; in fact, they’re so effective that Ron wins Employee of the Month.
To Ron, this is the ultimate insult, and his reaction got the episode’s biggest laugh: not only does he make sure no one besides Leslie sees the plaque, he also saws it in half, burns it, and buries the evidence near state lines in the middle of the night. OK, so “New Beginnings” will be remembered for two things. R-E-S-P-E-G-C.