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Somewhere those waffles exist: A farewell to Parks and Recreation

There’s no wrong time to find Parks and Rec, but I like to think I found it at the right time. I saw my first few episodes at the end of senior year of college. A month later, I left to volunteer for a year in Alaska, Parks and Rec DVDs tucked between my rain boots. I’d been told to pack lightly, but this show was already a necessity.

Within the first week, I’d introduced it to my roommates, so we knew Leslie Knope before we really even knew each other. The show was our language. We wrote Ron Swanson quotes on the bathroom mirror (“Never half ass two things. Whole ass one thing”) and Tom Haverford quotes on the fridge. We said yes with “I think I will, good lady” and yelled “MAKE YOUR FACE BETTER” before every photo. Whatever we knew for sure, we attributed to “school.” Any show could have done this. Any good TV series can bring people together. But Parks and Rec also happens to be about bringing people together, and that made it kind of perfect.

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Parks and Recreation Recap: This Is Where It Started for Me, This Is Where It Ends

“2017”/ “Ron and Jammy”—Aired Jan. 13, 2015

I don’t have a list of things I want from the final season of Parks and Rec. I think Mike Schur knows what I need better than I do, so I haven’t worried about this season beyond worrying what will happen to me when it’s over. But even if I had expectations, I never would have seen this coming. Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope have had a falling out.

It hurts. It’s wrong. The relationship between Ron and Leslie defines Parks and Rec as a show about people who like each other not only in spite of their differences, but because of them. It’s a friendship built on respect and a platonic love that shows itself in action, which is exactly the kind of love that Leslie extends to her town. Ron and Leslie’s ability to bridge the gap between them, and their desire to bridge it, makes this show what it is.

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Parks and Recreation Recap: “New Slogan”–The Other 98%

He came to Pawnee as a cute fascist hardass, but never let it be said that Ben Wyatt doesn’t absolutely LOVE stuff. He’s put together a website that lets you apply for your utility tax refund online. That’s the dream. Unfortunately, Ben lives in a town where practicality isn’t greeted with nearly as much excitement as an animated panda who plays ping pong with his tail. Times like these, he could really use Chris Traeger.

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100 Reasons to Love Parks and Rec

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…)

Parks and Recreation Recap: “Gin It Up!”–El Diablo

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…)

Parks and Recreation Recap: “Leslie and Ben”–Just Looking For You

“I promised myself I was not going to cry tonight, and I’ve already broken that promise five times.”—Chris Traeger

Leslie and Ben got married last month, you guys. They did it. Those crazy kids finally did it. In the 26 days since Leslie Knope symbolically disappeared and became Leslie Wyatt, or Councilwoman Mrs. Ben Wyatt tied the knot, I’ve moved into a new apartment, job hunted, job interviewed, job found, and spent far too many hours on the phone with our cable provider (BECAUSE TV IS IMPORTANT). But I’ve also made time to flail my way around this episode with absolutely no composure whatsoever. It’s been my night light. I can’t try to talk about it like it’s normal, because Leslie and Ben are not normal. They’re extraordinary. And they had an extraordinary wedding.

And these are the five* times I cried about it.

*give or take a hundred (more…)