Parks and Rec: How an underrated show became a fandom darling

It’s time to say goodbye to NBC’s Parks and Recreation. When the beloved sitcom first aired in 2009, we watched the supposed The Office spin off struggle to maintain the attention of viewers. However, over the course of seven seasons, Parks and Recreation has grown into the smartest and most quoted show on television.

Here’s how.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead.

Welcome To Pawnee: First in Friendship, Fourth in Obesity

It all started with an abandoned construction pit located next to the home of Ann Perkins. We witnessed the passionate, optimistic government employee, Leslie Knope, pledge to turn this pit into a park. But what began as a parks project flourished into one of the most complex, interesting depictions of female friendship on television.

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Whether it’s helping your BFF locate a lost miniature horse or prepare for a first date, Parks and Rec taught us that friendship is what matters at the end of the day.

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Treat Yo Self

A motto that rocked a nation, “Treat Yo Self,” reminded all of us that we need to take care of ourselves every now and then. Invented by our favorite materialistic mavens, Tom and Donna’s lifestyles made us aspire for better things for ourselves.

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More than just a catchphrase, Treat Yo Self is a modern-day Stuart Smalley affirmation — a revolution to remind us that we’re worthy, valuable, and doggone it, people like us.

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We’re sure that people will be treating themselves long after the Parks and Rec’s legacy dies. TREAT YO SELF 2050!

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I Love You and I Like You

Whether it’s the powerhouse couple Leslie and Ben, or the eccentric duo April and Andy, Parks and Recreation has written couples that have inspired our own #RelationshipGoals.

April and Andy’s impromptu wedding showed us how fun and spontaneous love can be. Whereas, Ben and Leslie’s passion for public service (and calzones) showcased that love and career don’t need to come at odds.

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Through career flops and emotional highs, these couples simply loved each other unconditionally. Who wouldn’t want a spouse who will eat as many waffles as you can? Or one who’s down to role play in the weirdest scenarios... paging Agent Macklin. We’ll certainly miss seeing these couples every week on our screens.  

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Your Eyes Will Piss Tears

It may be a comedy at its core, but Parks and Recreation has offered some serious tear-jerking moments. From Leslie losing the recall election to Ann and Chris’ farewell, Parks and Recreation has become a fan favorite by integrating outlandish satire with realistic moments of sincerity. We may have even teared up a bit when Lil Sebastian died. I’m not quite sure we are ready to say farewell.

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It’s hard to imagine a world that doesn’t have the forever-gruff, wood-loving Ron Swanson, the lovable but useless Jerry (Terry/Larry/Gary) or the annoying yet hilarious Saperstein Twins. Whether it’s the main characters we know and love or the crucial supporting players, we will miss Parks and Recreation in its entirety. Thank you Parks and Rec for all the laughs, tears and ridiculousness. You will be missed.

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