Meet Leslie Knope. She's here to improve the parks of Pawnee, Indiana. She is busy taking surveys from kids at the local park when a homeless guy stuck in the slide disrupts her work. She gets him down the slide and receives welcoming applause from the kids and parents. Leslie Knope is a woman in politics and she's not stopping for anyone.
Leslie is excited to be holding her first public forum and brings fellow department member Tom along with her. A sparse turnout from the audience won't stop Leslie from making parks and recreation a front-and-center topic, but when lights get down in the gymnasium, she moves the forum to an elementary classroom.
Back in the classroom, Leslie listens to the same Pawnee citizens giving the same complaints, until Ann steps up. She complains about the giant pit next to her house that her boyfriend has fallen in. Tom begins awkwardly flirting with Ann, but she thwarts his advances to concentrate on how Leslie is going to fix this pit. This pit will become Leslie's new project. The pit will become Leslie's Hoover Dam.
Leslie is ready to start on fixing the pit and creating her dream park. She knows in order to do this, she needs to bring dreamy city planner Mark on board. Mark dashes Leslie's dreams and tells her to give up on the pit. The reason behind Leslie's gazes at Mark date back to their one-night-stand years ago. She still has feelings for him, while he needs to be reminded they slept together in the first place.
Leslie defies Mark's negative attitude and pays Ann and her boyfriend, Andy, a visit. Andy is confined to his sofa since both legs are in casts, thanks to his fall into the pit. Ann shows Leslie, Tom and their intern, April, the gigantic pit next to their house. The pit claims another victim when April falls into it, injuring her clavicle.
Leslie takes her mission up to her boss, Ron, and demands a subcommittee to focus entirely on fixing the pit. Ron remains doubtful of the project altogether. But Leslie refuses to take "no" for an answer. Ron is still mulling over his decision when Mark steps in.
Mark commends Leslie's passion for the parks and recreation department and cashes in on a favor Ron owes him. Ron grants Leslie permission to find a subcommittee to help clean up the pit. The champagne is popped and a celebration takes place in Leslie's office.