Raina Deerwater ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The era of Parks and Recreation has come to an end. At times the show struggled to the stay on the air, or only sired fractured seasons due to the actors filming or being pregnant, but the impact it made was startling. It was a series about good people being happy and kind, and that sense of love resonated in so many viewers. It was also straight up hilarious. It’s hard to compile a list of only ten episodes that some up what a wonderful and important show this has been, but here is our best shot.
Disclaimer: It is going to get very sappy.
10. Pawnee Rangers
Not only did this episode center around the beautiful Ron (Nick Offerman) and Leslie (Amy Poehler) dynamic, show us the wonders of puppies, feminism and Brother Nature, but it featured the first utterance of the famed phrase “Treat Yo’ Self.” Tom (Aziz Ansari) and Donna (Retta) introduced the idea of Treat Yo’ Self day, which became a cultural phenomenon, spreading beyond even those who watched the show. It also gave us Ben (Adam Scott) crying in a batman suit, for which we will forever be grateful.
9. Hunting Trip
When Parks was still young, one of the major obstacles was Leslie trying to get in with the boys club of the Pawnee government (spoiler alert: she succeeds). This involved going on a hunting trip with the boys and bringing the gals. Long story short, Tom shoots Ron in the back of the head, leading up the funniest 15 minutes of turkey hunting related humor we will ever witness. It shows Leslie’s trademark selflessness, as well as Ron’s trademark rage. Also, you get to witness an incredible montage of Amy Poehler’s improvisation skills. Meanwhile, back at the office, the first spark between Andy (Chris Pratt) and April (Aubrey Plaza) is seen, beginning a love story for the ages.
8. Moving Up
This episode was such a beautiful gateway into the future of all those at the Parks department that some claimed it should have been the series finale. This was clearly before watching the final season. In any case, however, “Moving Up,” showed just how far up Leslie could go if she truly followed her dreams. She could craft a job for her future in Pawnee, raise three beautiful children, and also meet Michelle Obama! It also set the stage for the time jump that made the final season so wonderful. Side note, Jon Hamm was around, which is never a bad thing.
7. Flu Season
Amy Poehler tripped out on flu medicine has got to be one of the funniest things ever seen on this earth. Add to that Rob Lowe completely deadpan saying “Stop Pooping” into the mirror, and we have comedy at it’s finest. Besides all of the Laugh Out Loud Humor of “Flu Season,” there is also the triumphant spirit of Leslie Knope being fantastic at her job, even when she is drugged out of her mind. Though audiences had seen this before, this was the first time Ben had seen her like that. His line, “That was… Leslie Knope,” shows utter admiration and respect for his future wife, even while she was out of her mind.
6. Leslie and Ben
There was not a dry eye in the Parks department or from anyone watching at home when Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt said “I love you and I like you” to each other. Sometimes TV just understands what it means to be loved and liked, and gives us the perfect wedding to illustrate that. Ben and Leslie get married in the place where they met surrounded by the people they care about, and though they have to jump over several hilarious hurdles to get there, it turns out to be real and beautiful, just like love should be.
5. Andy and April’s Fancy Party
Speaking of Weddings, oh boy, does this show do ‘em right. Just four episodes after Andy and April get back together for good, they throw a surprise wedding. Though the episode starts out with Leslie trying to talk them out of making such a rash decision, her complaints die out, when the happy couple walks down the aisle. Sometimes the simplest things can be the sweetest: and Andy and April’s wedding was just that. They didn’t need planning or extravagance to show that those two weirdos finally found one another, and they were going to hold onto each other for the rest of their lives.
4. Season Seven
Okay, this is cheating. Maybe because it is still so fresh, or maybe because this season threw all caution to the wind, but differentiating these episodes seems unfair. This final thirteen episode of Parks gave us a magnificent send off to the people we have loved for six years, and it even showed us 50 more. The future is waiting for us, and this season shows that it can be realized if your team can pick you up when you are down, and you surround yourself with those who love you, life can be everything you wanted to. This last season has also been downright hilarious from, Leslie’s rendition of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” to Johnny Karate to Joe Biden.
3. Media Blitz
Ben Wyatt: Human Disaster was the lower third we had all been waiting for. Ben stumbling through different encounters with the media makes for the best gags the show has done. Adam Scott had been mostly confined to playing the “straight man” so far, but in this episode he can yell at Perd Hapley “Who hasn’t had gay thoughts?” and make for some brilliant comedic timing. This episode also contains the pivotal moment of Andy and April getting together that we had been waiting for for so long. It combines the sweetness of that relationship with the ridiculousness of everything else to have the perfect formula for a Parks episode.
2. The Treaty
“The only thing I will be waving is your decapitated head on a stick in front of your weeping mother!” That line alone is enough to place this episode in second place on this list. “The Treaty” is compiled of the most quotable one-liners in the show’s history, thanks to the late great Harris Wittels, but it is also more than that. Sometimes Parks shows us the more painful side of life and sometimes it is through Model UN. Ben and Leslie have to deal with their inability to be together through treaties and coalitions and the fact that they still love each other. Never has such a heartbreaking idea been presented through the funniest lens imaginable.
1. The Fight
And we have a winner, folks! Though the concept of “The Fight” might just be: everyone gets super duper drunk, it is so much more than that. The focus of the episode goes back to Sweet Beautiful Underused Ann (Rashida Jones), both by the show and this list. Ann’s relationship with Leslie is one of the first things the show got right, and showing such in integral female friendship is one of the shows best strengths. This episode hinges on the titular fight between the two friends and maybe it’s the alcohol, or maybe it’s that Ann doesn’t have a nursing degree in feelings, but things get rough. Of course, the two work it out, but the fact that such focus can be given to this relationship says so much about what the show chooses to be. This episode, hands down, is one of the funniest things aired on TV, from “Jean Ralphio! Dance up on me!” to Janet Snakehole to Ron dancing in Aprils hat, there are so many memorable gems from “The Fight.” It reminds us of the three most important things in life: friends, waffles and work. Or maybe waffles, friends, and work. Either way, work is third.
Thank you, Parks and Recreation.