you beautiful, rule-breaking moth: the top 10 moments of parks and recreation
YOU BEAUTIFUL, RULE-BREAKING MOTH:
The Top 10 Moments of Parks and Recreation
After seven seasons of adventures, laughter, and warm-hearted storylines, Parks and Recreation left our television screens last week. The show was, in words of Leslie Knope, a ‘beautiful, rule-breaking moth.’ Not only was Parks and Recreation hilarious, it was unrelentingly positive: driven by a cast of genuinely wonderful, kind characters who cared about each other and the work they did. In an age where cynicism and angst are in vogue, Parks resisted the urge to be mean or spiteful (with the exception of poor Garry/Larry/Jerry). Parks also tackled serious social and political issues with great humour and aplomb, with sexism and poor governance the subject of entire storylines.
In an attempt to dull the pain of Parks being finished, I selflessly went back and watched my favourite episodes. Here are the ‘top 10’ moments from Parks and Recreation over the years. Enjoy.
Tom Haverford’s entrepreneurial spirit saw him work on many projects. My personal favourite was ‘SnakeJuice,’ a potent alcoholic drink that was ‘basically rat poison.’ Leslie and the gang drank up, to hilarious results. From Leslie and Ann’s first fight, to April and Andy’s roleplaying, to Ron Swanon’s jig, this whole episode is jam-packed with wickedly funny moments.
9. BURT MACKLIN
Andy Dwyer was originally only going to be in the first season. The producers reconsidered after Chris Pratt, one of the funniest people on the face of the earth, was cast and continued to be ridiculously hilarious and perfect as actual puppy dog Andy Dwyer. While Andy Dwyer brought us too many laughs to count, it was his alter-ego Burt Macklin (FBI) who captured our hearts and minds. Macklin –that son-of-a-bitch – was such a hit that following the final episode, the actual FBI tweeted about him.
8. TREAT YO SELF
In 2011, Parks gave humanity one of the greatest gifts of all time. The concept of ‘TREAT. YO. SELF.’ Donna and Tom introduced Ben – and all of us – to ‘treat yo self.’ One day a year where you ‘treat yourself’ to anything your heart desires, whether that be spas and massages, leather goods, or an authentic Batman outfit. ‘It’s the best day of the year!’
Go on, treat yourself. You deserve it.
7. APRIL AND ANDY’S WEDDING
I’m normally sceptical of the notion that opposites attract…but then there’s April and Andy. The relationship between the human embodiments of Grumpy Cat and a Labrador puppy is heart warming. Their unconventional wedding was – despite Leslie and the audience’s misgivings – absolutely perfect.
‘I guess I kind of hate most things, but, I never really seem to hate you,” April says to Andy. ‘So, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Is that cool?’
6. LESLIE AND RON’S RECONCILIATION
Leslie and Ron’s ‘workplace proximity relationship’ was one of the central pillars of Parks. When it was revealed they had become sworn enemies in Season 7, which took place after a three-year time skip, I was devastated. Their eventual reconciliation in the episode Leslie and Ron is one of the funniest, and then sweetest, moments in the history of the show.
[The ‘best of’ Ron and Leslie over the years]
5. LESLIE KNOPE: FEMINIST HERO
Leslie Knope had no time for your sexist bullshit. She was an unapologetically feminist character from beginning to end, and Parks was not shy about exploring sexism and gender inequality. Everything from beauty pageants, to the underrepresentation of women in sanitation departments, to men’s rights activists, to the privilege of white male senators, was in Leslie’s crosshairs at one point or another.
The greatest feminist moment, though, has to be the creation of Pawnee Goddesses. Formed by Leslie after the all-boy Pawnee Rangers refused to allow girls in, the ‘freaking awesome’ group discusses the limits of democracy, the importance of equality, studies important women through history and still has time for candies and puppy parties. These young Leslie Knopes are clearly destined to change the world one day.
4. LI’L SEBASTIAN
Pawnee, Indiana, was a strange town. While the townspeople seemed to hate nearly everything – from vegetables, to effective politics, to parks – they were universal in their love for Li’l Sebastian.
When the pony-slash-local-celebrity tragically died at the end of season three, the team worked together to give him the send off he deserved. Between Mouse Rat’s stirring rendition of 5,000 Candles in the Wind (which is, obviously, 5,000 times better than Candles in the Wind) and Ron Swanson’s deadpan eulogy, Li’l Sebastian’s funeral was the event of a lifetime. If you were dry-eyed after that, you’re basically a monster.
3. GALENTINE’S DAY
‘What’s Galentine’s day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year.’
On February 13, the best day of the year, ‘ladies celebrate ladies’ while eating breakfast foods. This is surely one of the greatest creations in the history of the universe. I can’t believe it’s not a national holiday. While this may have started in the fictional world of Pawnee, Indiana, it’s now a legit tradition. Mark it in your diaries, ladies.
2. BEN AND LESLIE
Ben and Leslie’s relationship is the equivalent of emoji heart-eyes, and they will go down in history as one of the greatest couples of all time. While their relationship started out rocky, they eventually overcome all the obstacles to be together, and support each other through thick and thin.
In Smallest Park, Leslie and Ben finally decide to pursue their relationship. After Leslie’s passionate speech, aww-inducing love confessions, the lovebirds share one of the most romantic kisses of all time.
1. THE FINALE
The finale of Parks was a fitting homage to an amazing show, acting essentially as an extended farewell to the characters we have grown to know and love over the past nine years. It’s my number one moment because it left me a weepy mess; brought back Ann and Chris (you guys! Ann was here!); and underscored the show’s central message. Leslie’s speech in the final episode reminded us that ‘what makes work worth doing is getting to do it with the people you love.’ If you work hard, value your friends, and stay positive, life will fall into place.
Parks and Rec: I love you and I like you. And I will miss you.
Image credits: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]