S and I watched it together, which hardly ever happens. I like to escape into the tv, getting involved with characters and following shows season after season. S tends to get bored with anything longer than a half hour and is not into dramas. Parks and Recreation was one of the few exceptions. We looked forward to sitting down with our weekly takeout from the Italian restaurant down the alley, a bottle of wine and escaping into a half hour of small town government in the even smaller parks and recreation department. Even when it was a little uneven, we stuck with it because the jokes were so damn funny and the actors always looked like they were having the time of their lives.
I can't even begin to write about how much I loved how zealous Leslie Knope was in her quest to be everything she could be in government and how she took everyone around her along for the ride, swooped up in her wake. Or, how much the show addressed things like women's equality (the last several episodes hammered it pretty well) and racism (Tom Haverford getting arrested early in the show's run just because he was brown and wearing a hoodie). They always seemed to be able to do it by walking up to the line, taking out a glove and smacking the issue in the face then carrying on with the rest of the show.
I find it difficult to put into words how much I looovveee Amy Poehler. She played her character with an approachability that made me really like Leslie even though she was mostly out of her mind, had too much energy and was way too obsessed with waffles. I can't wait to see what she does next.
Another favorite character was Tom Haverford. He was so over the top ambitious at anything that would bring him fame and fortune that I found myself rooting for him even when he was being a prick to everyone around him. I wanted him to succeed, but also laughed my ass off when he failed, because he did so spectacularly. Plus, Aziz Ansari is one of my favorite comedians.
I'll miss all the nerd references to Star Wars and ridiculous board games that never end, and the lame accountant jokes, all thanks to the character of Ben Wyatt. Quintessential nerd. I went to school with and work with guys exactly like him. Except they are never as cute as Adam Scott.
Probably my favorite thing about the show is that while they ended up making Andy Dwyer a relatively stand-up guy, he pretty much stayed age 12 throughout the series run. He would sort of get serious about stuff, but always did or said something that reminded us that, yep, he might look like a grown man, but no way was he going to act like one. Putting him and April together was genius, she was so deviously funny and deadpan that I actually believed them together. Honestly, that was a tough sell considering what a doofus Andy continued to be.
All the other characters, Ron, Donna, Jerry/Gary/Larry, Chris, Ann brought their own quirks to the table. I really liked that there was at least one or two voices of reason throughout the run of the show so that it didn't completely run off the rails. Usually that was Ann or Donna, helping to rein in the zanier characters.
The ability to just be zany was another thing about the show that held my attention week after week. Sure, it was kind of about something that could really happen, but they always amped it up with ridiculous scenarios and characters making it a really fun ride.
All that being said, sure, it was a good show, so why was I reduced to a blubbering mess at the end? I shrugged at the end of Seinfeld, and I barely remember the end of Friends. I know that with streaming and DVD/Blu-Ray box sets, I can relive this show over and over again as many times as I want.
So what was different?
I offer you this fact: The show debuted in 2009, when we were going through our first adoption, and it is ending in 2015, the year we are finalizing our second adoption.
I don't often think the Universe works in mysterious ways or for a reason. BUT. Maybe, just maybe, it sent me and S a fun escape for 30 min a week to help us laugh through a rough ride.