Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Farewell, Parks and Recreation
Another massive binge-watch pays off!
Admittedly I resisted NBC's Parks and Recreation for most of its seven-season run. Frankly, I'm not usually a fan of this type of comedy (workplace-documentary style a la The Office). Even when a good friend of mine began recurring, I still didn't watch. But when a lull in the regular TV season came along and I had the chance to binge on a series, I chose P&A and I'm so glad I did, especially since I was able to catch up just in time to enjoy the last few episodes (series finale aired last night) right along with everyone else.
This perky ensemble comedy features a family of delightful, rich, fully-realized characters who work in the Parks Dept. of Pawnee, Indiana, led by the eternally positive public servant pistol Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live), along with steadfast man's man Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman, Children's Hospital), hustling entrepreneur/mogul wannabe Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari, Bob's Burgers), perpetually sarcastic and apathetic April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza, Portlandia), loser boyfriend-turned sweet-hearted goof Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy, The O.C.), fitness-obsessed optimist Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe, Brothers & Sisters), accountant and finely butted Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott, Tell Me You Love Me), nurse and Leslie BFF Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones, Web Therapy), sassy diva Donna Meagle (Retta) and sweet, bumbling, butt-of-every-joke Gary Gergich (Jim O'Heir).
Over the course of the show this loveable group tackles highs and lows, successes and failures, job changes, marriage, children and more, all under the loving eye of Leslie, who was determined to have all her dreams and the dreams of those she loves come true and stay endlessly positive, even when her beloved town repeatedly let her down. It only made her work harder and made her simultaneously annoying and endearing, a feat accomplished to perfection by Poehler.
I wasn't won over right away but I stuck with the binge, determined to make it through, It turned in season three when Scott and Lowe joined the cast. That's when it really gelled and came alive for me, and I started to heartily laugh out loud consistently, eagerly anticipating each next episode.
I'm so happy the show was given a final season to properly wrap things up, which they did so cleverly, first by time-jumping ahead to the year 2017 to see where everyone was at, then, in last night's finale, jumping ahead again to various years in the future (2019, 2022, 2025) to see how they each progressed in their lives while still keeping in touch with each other.
Thanks to Hulu and I think also Netflix for having the entire series available to those of us who came to the P&A party late and to revisit again and again. If you're like me and haven't watched, please set aside time to visit Pawnee and its kooky, adorable members of the Parks Dept. You'll be glad you did!