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You’re 5,000 candles in the wind (why Parks and Rec is one of the best shows on television)

     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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

#5.  Satire
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.

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On the 8th, 9th, and 10th days of Sitcoms

  On the 8th day of Sitcoms, my TV gave to me…

30 Rock: Ludachristmas
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All the 30 Rock Christmas episodes are on the same level, so you really can’t lose no matter which one you pick.  Ludachristmas is the first, and the most talked about.  It’s a fun jump back to 1985.  Merry Jewish.

On the 9th day of Sitcoms, my TV gave to me…

Parks and Recreation: Ron and Diane
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Whenever Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally get to act together, it’s so fun to watch, especially on Parks and Rec.  Amy Poehler’s enthusiasm for Christmas, Ron’s enthusiasm for woodcraft and April’s enthusiasm for being mean to Jerry make this episode solid.

BONUS: the gingerbread office from Citizen Knope
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On the 10th day of Sitcoms, my TV gave to me…

Bob’s Burgers: Father of the Bob
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Every Bob’s Burger’s Christmas episode is fantastic.  I can say that, because I just watched all of them.  I can’t pinpoint what it is about Father of the Bob that stands out more than the other episodes.  I guess maybe Gene’s bean bath.

BONUS: God Rest Ye Merry Mannequins
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So quality.  So confusing.  So creepy.  So Christmas.


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Shows that were unjustly canned in 2014

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Community (NBC)

Anyone who knows me knows that Community is very important to me.  It is my all-time favorite television show.  If you haven’t seen the show, you should.  It doesn’t talk down to its audience; it is written intelligently and hilariously; the cast is absolutely flawless; the plots are pure genius and the tributes to classics are plentiful (Pulp Fiction; Star Wars; GI Joe; Law & Order – to name a few).  The show follows Jeff Winger as he begins to attend community college and ends up creating a study group with a diverse and unique group of individuals.  Each season is different, keeping with the shows evolution throughout the years (please ignore the gas leak year).  Thankfully, Yahoo! picked up Community, and production has begun on the sixth season.

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Surviving Jack (FOX)

My favorite new show of 2014, Surviving Jack featured a powerhouse cast (Christopher Meloni; Rachael Harris), and unique writing set in the 1990’s.  The show featured a unique and comical look at 90s middle-class family life with an attitude similar to The Wonder Years.  Despite having the makings of a quality show, it was cancelled before its brief season ended, leaving one episode that never aired in the U.S.

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Rake (FOX)

GREG KINNEAR.  That being said, this show was alright.  It wasn’t the best, but it was compelling enough that I watched it week after week.  Rake was a remake of an Australian show of the same name, featuring a lawyer with a gambling problem, Keegan Deane, as he tries to fix his life by cutting corners, while also being an attorney.  Kinnear was flawless, as per usual.  The supporting cast was fine, the writing was fine, and the plots were interesting.  Overall, I liked it, but it didn’t wow me; I’m assuming that’s why it eventually got cancelled.

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Manhattan Love Story (ABC)

Manhattan Love Story featured Jake McDorman, known to many as Evan Chambers from Greek, in one of the main roles, opposite Analeigh Tipton (Crazy Stupid Love).  Another cute love story thrown into the fall lineup (Marry Me; A-Z), this show followed Dana and Peter as they awkwardly got to know each other in – you guessed it, Manhattan.  The show was really cute overall, and I just love Jake McDorman, so I was hooked.  They probably should have made it into a movie instead – much more likely to succeed.  Unfortunately, this show was cancelled after only four episodes.

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A-Z (NBC)

Anybody outraged by How I Met Your Mother’s catastrophe of a series finale could find some comfort in the idea that Cristin Milioti (who played The Mother on HIMYM) would be featured in her own love story – where she actually mattered – on A-Z.  Unfortunately, NBC did not feel the same way and barely gave Milioti, or her co-stars Ben Feldman, Henry Zebrowski, and Lenora Crichlow (from one of my all time faves Being Human UK), a shot at success.  The comedy was quirky and heartfelt; after a slow launch from basic cute romance into more comedic episodes, the series was discontinued but will still air the remaining episodes.

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Selfie (ABC)

While possibly the worst out of all six of these shows (in my opinion), Selfie actually showed a lot of potential in its last episodes.  A modern take on classic Pygmalion/My Fair Lady, the show followed the friendship of Eliza Dooley and Henry Higgs as they tried to better themselves with the help of each other.  Characters developed quickly (possibly too quickly, but I get that they were trying to prove that they could have great plots and chemistry in an attempt to not get cancelled) and the plots were adequately humorous.   Although Karen Gillan was essentially the star of the show, I think John Cho pulled the show together and made it actually funny.  Fortunately, the rest of the series was (or will be) aired on Hulu, as with Manhattan Love Story.

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(technically) Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Although Parks and Rec will finish out their final season starting in January of 2015, NBC made the decision for this to be the last season this year, while also pushing it to midseason.  Considering NBC is not doing a very good job of keeping or creating new, quality shows (especially comedies), this was clearly a really bad decision.  Since it was not technically cancelled in 2014, that’s all I will say about it, but I thought this was important to note.