Television viewers say “goodbye” to another great TV show. What was originally supposed to be a spin-off of “The Office” has developed into a show of its own. “Parks and Recreation” starring Amy Poehler, has had its final episode after its 7-season run on CBS. The show portrays a local town’s Parks and Recreation department in the town of Pawnee, Indiana. The show is filled with countless public forums, ridiculous small-town foibles, and an obscene amount of waffle consumption.
Though Amy Poehler who plays Leslie Knope, an excessive waffle consuming, library hating, Type A government official, was already a big name in TV before the show started, the show has become a starting point for so many other big names now known in pop culture. Retta who plays Donna Meagle, which was also auditioned for by Octavia Spencer, has become an icon along with Aziz Ansari who plays Tom Haverford, rich entrepreneur wannabe, over Tumblr and Twitter. The duo has become known for their signature catch-phrase, “Treat-Yo-Self,” which means to remember who is the most important person in your life and that sometimes you need to think about you first. The show has also been the starting point for current stars like Chris Pratt, now known as Star Lord from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Nick Offerman, the stereotyped-traditional American man, and Aziz Ansari, one of the largest comedians in show-business today.
It’s amazing that a show like this has lasted so long while teetering multiple times on cancellations and the normal run-time of shows today being much shorter, but pop culture is immeasurably better for it. Though the original idea of P&R being a spin-off to “The Office” was an inevitably failed endeavor, the shows creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, picked it up in the second season giving the characters more freedom from the mockumentary style filming and giving them a more deep array of emotions and character development.
Near the end of the finale, Leslie gives a speech as she accepts an honorary doctorate in 2025 from the University of Indiana, proclaiming “what makes work worth doing is getting to do it with the people you love.” This was true not just in the world of Pawnee, but for the cast and crew. As the end credits showed a blooper reel, you could see a cast and crew filled with on-set shenanigans, while the final card was a tribute to Harris Wittels, one of the show’s longtime writers and producers, who tragically passed away a week before the show ended. It was a sweet, loving send-off to a man that contributed a lot to Parks and Recreation’s sui generis sensibility.
Now all fans can do is wait until the next great show arrives. Could anything take the place of “Parks and Recreation?”