Tuesday, May 24, 2011

'Parks and Recreation'...Will You Be Mine?

On April 9, 2009 my TV was tuned into NBC so I could watch their Thursday night comedy lineup. That night a new show was airing called Parks and Recreation. I watched the show for about 8 minutes and then decided to stop watching. Please put your pitchforks and other weapons away and let me explain this further before you attack me for my rash dismissal of this work of art.

(If you do not care about my initial rejection and just want to hear me praise it click here.)

I get uncomfortable very easily, especially when watching television. One of my earliest memories of this is watch Saved By The Bell with my sister. Whenever Zack’s plan of the week started to backfire I had to leave the room. I knew that he was going to get in trouble and there was nothing I could do about it. Sitting there helpless made me physically uncomfortable, so I would run up the stairs. While sitting on the stairs I would then ask my sister if the scene was over then come back to the couch and as soon as I sat down ask her what happened. Eventually my sister refused to tell me what happened when I left the room and I resorted to covering my head with a blanket or, if no blanket was available, covering my eyes with my hands.

Throughout the years I have gotten a lot better at enduring awkward moments on the television screen but that uncomfortable feeling still does exist. Just this weekend I went to see “Bridesmaids.” I loved that movie to bits and pieces but there were at least three scenes where I had my hands over my eyes during really uncomfortable scenes. I would open and close my fingers so I could still see what was going on but be able to shield myself if it got too intense. When Parks and Recreation first aired it was getting a lot of press for being similar to The Office and in that first episode two years ago Leslie Knope was too awkward for me. I judged it quickly as something that was not my style and did not give it another thought.

After hearing my sister constantly talk about how funny the show was, this January decided to give the show a shot. I found the pilot episode and watched it from beginning to end this time. I have to admit the first episode did not have me hooked but I kept watching and by episode 6 (the last one of the season) you would have needed to physically restrain me in order to get me to stop watching.

Last week I sat down to watch the season finale of Parks and Recreation a mere four months after I began the series. Our heroine, our moral compass, our champion, Leslie Knope is forced to make a decision so many have been asked to make: Love or Career. As a viewer I am torn because I do not know which I would rather her pick. Her career has not only been her life for as long as she can remember, it has also been her passion. She loves what she does, she loves the government and it makes her happy. She is being offered her dream, to become mayor, but doing so means she cannot stay in her secret relationship with Ben. On the other hand, all Leslie wants is to be in a healthy and loving relationship. She wants to have a partner for life that knows her and respects her and can relate to her. Well guess what she just found one and his name is Ben but luckily enough they are not allowed to date. The reason they are not allowed to date is that their stupid boss Chris has a rule that no one can date within the government or whatever because it can cause scandals. So, when asked if she has any secrets that should be discussed before running, Leslie answers “no” which leads me to believe she is going to break things off with Ben. I want to hate her for that decision but I can’t. Instead I put all of my hate onto Chris for making the stupid “no office dating” rule in the first place.

Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite television shows of ALL-TIME. First of all the show is simply hilarious. I have found myself having to pause an episode just to get my breath back because I was laughing so hard. Even better is that I can rewatch episodes and laugh the fourth, fifth and sometimes even on the sixth viewing. I am pretty sure I will never get sick of season 3’s episode “Flu Season.” Actually, when I finish this post I am going to watch that episode again.

Besides the show producing an amazing comedic experience, what makes it so great is that Parks and Rec has so much depth. I am not sure if there is any other show that I have EVER watched where I feel a connection with every single character (minus Chris). The chemistry on the show is something that is so special and really hard to find. Although many of the characters are ridiculous (like that Ron Swanson would really still have a job without having done any work ever) the emotions and relationships with each other are so truthful. April telling Leslie that she loves her at April’s wedding actually made my heart melt. Ron Swanson offering to sacrifice himself for Leslie to keep her job, Ron becoming somewhat of a mentor towards Andy, these relationships are what makes us, as viewers, care about the show.

So above is a mixture of my thoughts on the finale as well as my love confession to Parks and Recreation. Parks and Rec, if you read this call me and maybe we can set up a date.

Love Always


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