I’ve moved three times in the last five and a half years. First to Vermont, then back to NYC adjacent three years later to the day, and recently into another unit in the same building six months after intended.
Burn in hell 2020
But consistent throughout all three moves was Parks and Recreation. Streaming television shows has become comfort food for me in the same way rewatching Star Wars or Indiana Jones was in my youth. As a weekly viewer of Parks during its run, I immediately added it to my queue on Hulu when it started streaming and later on Netflix. Now with Peacock taking all the NBCUniversal properties, I added yet another channel to my Roku TV.
What is it about Parks that makes it so rewatchable? How is a show I admittedly didn’t love in the first season now one of my favorite shows of the last decade? I think the first reason is the writing. Rock solid comedy gold. Dated, occasionally; problematic, sometimes, unfortunately (mostly Tom); but the heart of the show and the characters remains untarnished to this day.
Second is the ensemble cast. Everyone from Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope down to the reoccurring Pawnians at the public forums is brilliantly cast and performed. Which leads into the third reason: direction. Everyone is on the same page, everyone gets the joke, and everyone loves what they’re doing. Yes, we lose Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider) about a quarter of the way through the series, and Chris (Rob Lowe) and Anne (Rashida Jones) depart before the series ended, but all of their exits are done with love and care for the characters we’ve come to love.
But let’s get back to the writing for a moment. Some of the best characters and one-liners have come from this show.
- “What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.” – Leslie Knope
- “You know my code. Hoes before bros. Uteruses before duderuses. Ovaries before brovaries.” – Leslie Knope
- “Don’t half-ass two things; whole-ass one thing.” – Ron Swanson
- “You just got Jammed!” – Jeremy Jamm
- “There has never been a sadness that can’t been cured by breakfast food.” – Ron Swanson
We have Leslie freakin’ Knope thanks to this show. We have Ron fucking Swanson thanks to this show. The entire cast are memorable in their own right, but this show also launched Chris Pratt into super stardom and Aubrey Plaza to the rank of indie goddess. Entire Etsy shops exist because of this show. Why? Because it was heartfelt and hilarious, not to mention topical and bitingly satirical.
Amy Poehler doesn’t get enough credit for her work on this show. She was relatively unknown except to comedy fans when she donned her first pantsuit, but now her likeness is emblazoned into Americana as the dream of what government employees and politicians could and should be. Leslie’s struggles echoed that of trailblazing women and continue to shine a spotlight on sexism and hypocrisy in our society and government. Nick Offerman is a household name thanks to his mustache and masculinity. Aziz Ansari blew up into a comedy superstar and lead to his excellent series Master of None. And where would we be as a society without The Good Place (thank you Michael Schur)?
This show makes me happy, pure and simple. Each episodes evokes an “Oh yeah; this one!” and I still cry when Ben and Leslie finally get together and when he proposes. I love these characters dearly and they feel like real life friends. What very easily could have been dismissed (and nearly was) as a The Office spin-off blossomed into one of the greatest television shows of the 2010s. Hopefully I don’t have to move again for many, many years, but you can guarantee when I do, I will be playing Parks and Rec.
What are some of your favorite memories from Parks and Recreation? Hit me up on Twitter and let’s chat!