Though it’s never really set the ratings world on fire, sitcom Parks and Recreation would struggle to find a more enthusiastic and devoted fan base.
Those who follow the show religiously embrace and love the raccoon ravaged city of Pawnee, Indiana, with Ron Swanson receiving a cult like hero status of almost The Dude scale proportions. This week, the show bowed out with a finale that couldn’t have been more perfect.
Parks and Recreation emerged in a landscape of comedy where it was cool to be dry and cynical, but it gleefully revelled in it’s own optimism from the start. The final episode was like one long, lovely celebration of everything that made the show so infectiously positive.
There was always potential for the show to get a bit grating, with ‘quirky’ (shudder) characters like Leslie seeming on paper to be rather irritating.
But the show is so full of heart and happiness that instead you get sucked into her keen and eager mindset, and it’s impossible not to fall on love with everyone.
It would be difficult to find a more perfectly cast show, as every character in Parks and Recreation is strong and funny and incredibly likeable, which is why it was so nice to get to say goodbye to everyone (excluding Mark Brendana-quits) in the shows swan song.
I’m one of those tragic people who gets far too heavily invested TV shows, and even when shows end happily I still get upset because I know I’ll never get to see them do anything new again.
Which is why the last episode of Parks and Recreation was so genius, because not only did we get to say goodbye to the characters, but we also got to see how most of their whole lives panned out.
Donna and her husband started a foundation, Tom became a successful author, Gary/Jerry/Larry/Terry was mayor for years after the old one died (played by Bill Murray, one of the most enjoyable guest appearances ever), April and Andy became parents, Ron landed his dream job and Ben and Leslie both became really successful in politics.
The final season was a great way of saying goodbye to all the weird and wonderful characters of Pawnee (my personal favourites are Tammy 2 and Mona Lisa) and one of the best things was seeing Ann and Chris again in the final episode, with their two children Oliver and Leslie (Leslie! Tears!).
The final episode was a perfect celebration of the joyful sentimentality and weird hilarity that made so many people fall in love with it. And though nothing bad at all happened, I still cried.
As someone who got sucked into the dark worlds of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, it’s been nice to visit a world that embraces it’s own positivity so passionately. Goodbye Pawnee, you really will be missed.