It takes an average of 36.2 seconds within meeting me to find out that my favorite television show in the history of all time and space is Parks and Recreation and because they have been on hiatus for three weeks and just returned with a double episode and I have pizza and cookies and feelings, I’m gonna write about them.
And yes I know punctuation is a thing.
Tonight’s double episode almost broke my heart. Throughout the past six seasons, I have become way too emotionally invested in this show and all of its beautiful wonderful characters. To the point where Leslie Knope has soared to the top of my list of most influential fictional female characters and I sometimes put her next to JK Rowling in my mind when I think of “Women I Want To Love Forever But Would Faint If They Looked In My Direction.” Think Leslie and Joe Biden (which, let’s be real, would have been my reaction exactly too).
My point is that I very rarely connect to a show so intensely that the lives of the characters affect me as if they were my own best friends. And mind you, this is a comedy.
So it’s no surprise that at the beginning of the second episode of tonight’s double feature, I sat in stunned silence when Perd Hapley officially announced that Leslie had been recalled from her position as Councilwoman. My heart broke at the misery and despair my favorite character was feeling. And it sounds so ridiculous but… After spending years watching her overcome every obstacle to achieve her dreams, motivating everyone around her along the way, demonstrating the immense love she has for her town and government but most of all what she believes in… It was difficult to watch all that crash down around her. The intense happiness I felt when they announced her victory during the election night episode in Season 4 seemed like a distant memory.
I know, as we all know, this is not the end for Leslie Knope. I’m really curious to see how the writers will handle her last 30 days in office and what positive spin they will bring in to combat the blow.
On that note, I’m even more curious to see how they are going to deal with the departure of Chris and Ann. As much as I adore Chris and can’t imagine City Hall without his presence, the show can survive the absence of his character. It would suck but if handled correctly, maybe later bringing in another character to fill the gap, it could be okay.
Ann on the other hand… Her character is so crucial to the show, I don’t see how they’ll work around it. She has the perfect “best friend” role. She and Leslie completely balance each other out, and they have spent so much time cultivating this beautiful friendship only to have it broken apart. I’ve noticed in recent episodes they’ve been trying to bring April’s character closer to maybe foreshadow a more buddy role to take Ann’s place but while April is great, she’s not the Ann-type friend that Leslie needs.
The only other time the show has dealt with a character leaving was the end of Season 2 with the departure of Mark. To me, it wasn’t a big loss. I was never crazy about his character, and I maintain the show got infinitely better with the introduction of Ben and Chris. It’s like the first two seasons of Parks and Rec were warm-ups and then it really takes off and becomes amazing.
Also Mark’s character was much too normal, which definitely served as a contrast for the silliness of everyone else but I like this format better. Each character has a very unique quirk and personality, but it doesn’t go overboard like it tended to do in the first seasons. I think once Mark left and Ben and Chris joined and they solidified Leslie’s storyline and Ann’s character and gave Donna a bigger role… All of these things gave Parks and Rec the quality that makes it so unique: it’s not realistic but it’s realistic enough to make you fall in love and wish it was.
This has been a Parks and Rec appreciation post. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go eat waffles with my best friend.