After 7 seasons, the Parks department of Pawnee, Indiana will shut its doors tonight.
Pawnee looks a lot different than how we saw it in 2009. It is no longer the 4th most obese city in America. It is home to free WiFi for the entire town. Most of the starting members of the parks department have moved on to bigger an better things: they have gigs as a service worker in DC, Interim Mayor, Major figurehead in the National Parks Service, congressional candidate, owner of Very Good Building Company, Business Owner, married mogul headed to Seattle, and TV Superstar Johnny Karate.
Our little Parks and Rec employees have grown up, and it’s time to see them off.
Just like with all shows that have run for several years, many people tuned out before tonight’s finale. But for the rest of us, tonight is the heartfelt goodbye to characters we feel like we’ve raised.
Why is this show important? Why is this show — described by so many as a way to profit from the popularity of The Office in the late 2000s — so painful to say goodbye to?
I can only relate some of my personal reasons:
— The creation of Galentine’s Day, which is a real thing now
— Treat Yo Self, also a thing
— My discovery of Aziz Ansari as a stand-up comedian
— My discovery of Nick Offerman, who I had the opportunity to see live at UMBC
— The world’s discovery of Chris Pratt (he is Andy Dwyer, not Starlord)
— My weird crush on Ben Wyatt, which I can’t even try to explain
— Getting all of Ben’s nerdy references to Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Star Trek, Settlers of Cataan, Economics and Accounting, Batman…
— The cutest TV couple since Jim and Pam
— Mouse Rat, the only fictional band I’ve actually searched for on iTunes
— 5,000 Candles in the Wind, which I kind of want played at my funeral, even though my name is not Sebastian and I am not a mini horse
— Countless actually-funny political jokes that I’ve heard at SGA events and poli sci classes for years. Seriously. I’ve even started adopting Ron Swanson as a half-decent representation of my view on domestic policies.
— Guest stars aplenty (John Cena was on an episode last week. What other sitcom is John Cena gonna appear on?)
Yes, it had its rough moments. But every show has its moments. When a person dies, his funeral isn’t usually an ode to the mistakes he made, but to his accomplishments, his brightest spots. Parks and Rec had a lot of them, and I’m glad it ran as long as it did. Was it time to end? Yes. Am I sad to see it go? Also yes.
So tonight, the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness will have to be amended: Crying is acceptable at funerals, the grand canyon, and the Parks and Recreation finale at 10 PM eastern on NBC.