I, as well as many other enthusiastic fans who also run blogs, could go on for days about why Parks and Recreation is one of the best shows. I’ve come up with a list of a few of the most important reasons, I think, that everyone should watch it (even though it just finished its final season last night). Even if you missed it while it was running, you can still catch it online, on Netflix or in syndication. WARNING: while this post does not contain any finale spoilers, it does contain spoilers for later seasons if you are just starting the show. Nothing too huge; just things like finding out who ends up with whom.
#1. Healthy Romance
In light of the recent success of both the book and movie versions of 50 Shades of Grey, I think this reason speaks for itself. What’s that? You want examples? Gosh, I guess I can give you some quality examples.
Ben and Leslie
Ben and Leslie are probably the best television couple ever. Period. Done. End of story. They support each other, they put each other first before their own personal needs, they are encouraging, honest and help each other grow. There is no manipulation. They are emotionally supportive, physically attracted and very well balanced. As far as fictional relationships go, their is the best I think I’ve ever seen.
Ann and Chris
Unlike Ben and Leslie, Ann and Chris have had quite a few rough patches. However, because they were able to grow as individuals (note how relevant the next reason [Character Development] is), eventually, they are able to have a very successful and supportive relationship because they understand their differences and needs and adapt as needed.
Andy and April/Ron and Diane/Tom and Lucy/Donna and Joe/Garry and Gale
While not typical, these are still very healthy, positive relationships, that we don’t necessarily expect to work out or fully understand. They’re all supportive, understanding and loving toward their partners. It’s really refreshing to see.
#2. Character Development
Over the course of seven seasons, the characters have grown exponentially from season to season. Take Leslie for example. She grows from being this bright eyed, enthusiastic, impulsive go-getter to being a grounded political powerhouse. Each character grows in very specific ways. They all go through hard times and handle their own issues. Remember that one time Andy Dwyer, loveable puppy-like Andy Dwyer, dealt with depression? That was an incredible and encouraging statement about mental health, and about how it’s important to take care of yourself and how these challenges can affect ANYONE.
#3. Unlikely Friendships
If you’ve met people, which I’m sure you have, you know that people tend to disagree about things – ESPECIALLY POLITICS. In Parks you have people like Leslie being friends with people like Ron. Seeing people with such different views still caring about each other and not getting weighed down by political viewpoints is so unusual. Typically, in the media, if you feel a way that’s different from the main character, you’re labeled a moron and nobody takes you seriously. The amount of wisdom that comes out of Ron Swanson’s mouth on this show is incredible. I love that they made all of the characters be their own, rather than be copies of Leslie, or exact opposites. Lots of views are represented, and all are taken seriously.
#4. Ovaries before Brovaries
When I was younger, I somehow learned that I was in competition with other females. I don’t really know where I learned that or why, but it just sort of plopped into my head and stayed there until I was in my 20s. There’s no reason for women to be pitted against each other. Parks and Rec has some of the most positive portrayals of women interacting with other women on TV. Leslie and Ann, April and Leslie, Donna being Donna – all of this is awesome. Women have roles of leadership, women become government officials, Donna and Leslie preach so much body positivity, and April is never talked down to because she’s younger. MAN that’s refreshing. To appeal to such a wide age range, and encourage people of all ages to follow their dreams – that is phenomenal.
As a political show, it’s obvious a lot of the humor would come from poking fun at real political issues. I’m not going to say much about this, I’m just going to link you guys to a clip from one of the more recent episodes which laid down the law on the current issue of Men’s Rights vs Women’s Rights.
#6. Encouraging messages
I think I’ve given examples of this all the way through this post, but this show encourages people in so many ways. Leslie is a go-getter, like I said, and she follows her dreams. People are against her almost every step of the way, and she falls down a lot on her journey, but she always manages to get back up. Friendship, love, support, encouragement, being true to yourself, not giving up on people – this show really takes the cake. If you don’t watch it, I don’t understand you.
Watching the finale was really intense. I’m kind of heartbroken to not get to peek into the lives of April, Andy, Ron, Craig, Leslie, Ben, Donna, Garry, Tom, Chris and Ann anymore. The end of Parks and Rec also marks the end of NBC’s comedies. Most of you know how I feel about NBC (it’s garbage), and I’m not really sure what their plan is for programming. All I know is I used to almost exclusively watch NBC, now I primarily watch Fox. So, thanks Fox for having some great comedies. Parks and Recreation, I’ll miss you in the saddest fashion. You’re 5,000 candles in the wind.