“Oh Ann Perkins, you beautiful sunflower. You totally changed me, you know that?”
I’d like to say that Leslie and Ann’s story ended where it began—with the pit and a promise—but we all know their story isn’t over. What began as a friendship of necessity between a nurse and “that parks lady” stopped being about parks a long time ago. This is the strongest relationship that Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins will ever have, and while Ann might be moving somewhere all bright and new, Leslie’s still the one she’ll call for the important things.
Last night, we said goodbye to Ann Perkins (Ann Perkins!) and Chris Traeger. Two of the most beautiful rule-breaking moths in Pawnee are off to start their new life in Michigan, and I’m still in mourning. When I first read that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe were leaving Parks and Rec midway through the season, the woman standing next to me in the elevator probably thought I was having a heart attack, because I put my hand to my heart and gasped, and I saw her take a step back. (I saw you, lady.) What is it with comedies and people LEAVING lately?
Today is Leslie Knope’s last day on City Council. She’s taken African dance lessons, watched every episode of Murphy Brown, temporarily adopted a cat, and left a few internet comments (probably quotes from Jack London), but Leslie is definitely not through with the stages of grief. So when Councilman Dexhart holds yet another press conference to admit yet another scandal, she takes it as a sign. Pawnee still needs her. She’s going to run for Dexhart’s seat.
I volunteered in small-town Alaska for a year after college. I only had room for the essentials, so I packed my Parks and Rec DVDs—just wedged them into my rain boots and set off. The DVDs got as much use as the boots did, and I could probably count on two hands the number of days I didn’t wear rain boots. I introduced the show to my roommates in our first week there, and it became our language. We said yes with “I think I will good lady” and yelled “MAKE YOUR FACE BETTER” behind the lens of every photo. At a Know Your Boo-style game night, we defaulted to the show for any answers we didn’t know about each other, so one roommate’s parents were named Ron and Tammy, and another’s favorite movie was books. At the end of the year, a friend called me her real-life Leslie Knope and I put it in a cover letter. (more…)
So Ben likes a woman in roller skates. Everyone has a thing, right? For Ben Wyatt, it’s roller skates, political activism, and the music of the early nineties. If he’s not on your laminated list of fictional men, I’m judging you. Ben’s a nerd in the same way real people are nerds: he gets passionately obsessed about things. Leslie gets passionately obsessed about people, which is why they fit together so well. She pays attention to everything Ben loves and gives it back to him in the form of a theme party. He returns the favor by missing that entire party to watch Leslie stage a filibuster for the town she represents.
Welcome to 2014! Sherlock is back (and Greg Lestrade is lookin’ FINE). Community is back. Victor Garber is back. David Tennant is coming to American television. Parks and Rec hits its 100th. I’m finally going to watch Scandal and The West Wing (#resolutions). It’s all very exciting. But before we jump into the new year, let’s look back at the best of the last. (more…)
I love that Leslie Knope loves Pawnee even when it isn’t easy. She doesn’t take the town’s flaws as an excuse to stop caring; she takes them as a reason to care even harder. I love that this show portrays public service as hard work, but work worth doing, and I love that it insists that work worth doing should always be done, regardless of how many people appreciate you for it. I love that Leslie is up for that challenge. But sometimes I just want to take her to eat waffles in some other corner of the world and tell her that it’s ok to care for herself too. (more…)