An Open Letter to Parks and Recreation
by Amy Lindorff
Dear Parks and Recreation,
I don’t think I am ready for this. I thought maybe it would be fine, because, whatever, you’re just a TV show and I am a grown adult human person. What’s the worst that could happen when you finally go off the air? It’ll probably be okay for a week or so. House of Cards will be on Netflix just a few days after your series finale and Vikings is back and also I think I solved the mystery of how to watch the new season of Broad City. (it is just on Hulu! So easy!)
But here is the thing about that: those shows aren’t you.
Because you are different. You are my favorite fictional people in one of my favorite fictional worlds. I love it all. I love Perd and Andy and Leslie and Joan and even that brat Greg Pikitis. You are a delight and even at your worst you are some of my favorite television in the history of all television I have ever seen (and I have seen a great deal of television; just ask Jon about the other day when we turned on the Apple TV and I had to quickly explain all those episodes of Friends with the little check next to them on the Netflix, or my old DVR, which faithfully held on to every rerun of The Mary Tyler Moore Show that aired during our time together).
I don’t really know how to describe it. You are just lovely. You’re like a best friend that you don’t really remember meeting for the first time, but who has always been there. You have made me laugh and cry at the same time more than any other piece of media. Those other shows are great too. I love watching them. But those shows aren’t comforting and wonderful in the same way that you are. You are just the greatest little television show and sometime in mid-April I will probably have a moment where I’m all “well, I guess this is the Saturday where I spend the entire day rewatching the entire series, pretending I haven’t seen it before,” just to relive the fun.
So thank you for all the magic and the fun and the Johnny Karate episode and Galentine’s Day and all of Leslie’s best friend nicknames for Ann and their awesome female friendship in general and drawing attention to the importance of breakfast food. Thank you for Lucy Lawless and Louis CK’s guest appearances. Thank you for that Twilight fan who handcuffed himself to that pipe (I think it was a pipe, maybe a chair?) in Leslie’s office. Thank you for Leslie’s binders and Lil Sebastian and for when The Decemberists performed. Thank you for Ben’s Letters to Cleo t-shirt and Cones of Dunshire and all of Leslie’s lines in the scene where Ben sat on the Iron Throne. Thank you for Shauna Malwae-Tweep, Ethel Beavers, Jean-Ralphio, Mona Lisa, Craig, Orin, Champion, and for the excellent arc of Andy and April’s relationship. Thank you for the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness and for Ron Swanson in general. Thank you for all of Leslie’s dress shirts, especially those with fun patterns and also for that time she and Ben dressed up as Princess Buttercup and Wesley. God, thank you for just everything, okay?
I will keep watching all the television because there are lots of fun stories to watch and interesting characters to grow with. But I can’t imagine another show coming along anytime soon that is quite like you, with your wit, smart writing, and cleverness. Also thank you for life wisdom such as this:
“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third.”
P.S. During season two (or maybe three, whatever, it was early-ish on), a guy I was dating said, “I just feel like Parks and Rec has never done one single joke,” and man, did I get so mad. That relationship did not work out, and I believe that our fundamental disagreement about your quality was an early indication of our inherent differences as people. Maybe that is overstating it, but I do not care.