Emma Doherty ‘16/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Well, the inevitable happened this Thursday on Parks when Pawnee had to say goodbye to two beloved characters. Ann (Rashida Jones) and Chris (Rob Lowe) finally made their permanent leave from the show. For any fan who has watched from the beginning, they know just how hard it was to watch Leslie (Amy Poehler) say goodbye to her best friend. It was even harder to watch the flashbacks throughout the episode, reminding us of just how much their friendship has grown. Jones has been with the show since the very first episode back when the show was having a pretty rocky start.
The first season of Parks and Rec was much different than the others because the executive producers were trying to figure out how to make Leslie both fierce, courageous, and powerful, but also loving and relatable. The first season Leslie was happy with her job and liked her work, but something was clearly missing. Fairly quickly into the first episode, Ann made her appearance at a town meeting. It was like Leslie found the person she didn’t know she was looking for.
This is not to say that she wouldn’t have survived without her, but her life definitely was enhanced when Ann came entered it. One of the more touching quotes from this weeks episode showed just how much Leslie valued and cherished this friendship. “You totally changed me you know? You taught me how to balance my life, how to be patient….. how to be MORE patient, how to throw bureaucratic caution to the wind when it came to Ben. But most importantly you taught me that I can’t pull off a tulip skirt.”
It was very sweet to see everyone saying their personal goodbyes to Ann and Chris, especially Ron’s (Nick Offerman) short but powerful goodbye which lasted all of one sentence but it had Ann… and Larry (Jerry) in tears. Besides Ann and Leslie’s goodbye, the most touching was Ann and April’s (Aubrey Plaza). The two women who started off hating each other have had an up and down friendship. We all knew that April did in fact care for Ann, and we finally got to see proof of that. Moments like these are what make Parks the amazing show that it is. There is so much character growth and development in this show, despite the fact that the future of it was threatened every season.
This episode definitely made up for the lack of Ann appearances this season, and it brought the whole gang together beautifully. The guys even worked together to make a thoughtful present for Chris. Although it was a goodbye to Ann AND Chris it mostly revolved around Ann. The episode did a wonderful job of bringing back past characters and touching upon different parts of Ann’s history on the show. They even wore updated versions of Leslie’s “Kick- Ass” hard hats from season 1.
Lately, a Parks episode isn’t complete unless its revolving around Leslie fighting or losing to some jerk who has more power than her. Thankfully that was not the case this time. Leslie did have to fight for something she wanted, but seeing Ann and Leslie fighting together on their own and seeing them interact was a rare treat. Of course she didn’t get her way completely. Ann still left, ending the episode in a heart breaking yet heart warming moment that Parks is best at creating. Speaking of things that Parks and Rec is known for: Ron suggests that everyone get breakfast food at the end of the episode to ease the pain of saying goodbye, and it’s obvious that the show (and Leslie Knope) will be able to move on soon.
Parks and Rec will be back on February 27th after the Olympics at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.