aubery plaza

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Mark Brendanawicz: “Honestly, Leslie, it’s going to be a long uphill battle. You are going to be super-annoyed with all the people who want you to fail. There is a sea of red tape, endless road blocks. So, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know”

Leslie Knope: “Screw it. I’m gonna try to do it anyway”

Parks and Recreation, 7 Seasons, 125 episodes (2009-2015)

In the spring of 2009 Parks and Recreation aired its short first season. I remember watching those episodes as they aired, I’m not going to pretend that the show was perfect in its early days or that I somehow knew it would become the series it did but I certainly saw potential. There was enough in those six episodes to make me continue with the show when it returned in September 2009 for its second season.

By the Spring of 2010 I was officially head over heels in love with Leslie Knope and the characters of Pawnee. I remember at some point calling Parks and Recreation the best comedy currently airing and being met by disbelief, what about Community, or 30 Rock, or The Office? Well they were all great shows but something about Parks and Recreation just worked for me on every level. Parks and Recreation has a gigantic heart and it unashamedly shows that warmth and love episode after episode. 

The fact that its ending this week for good is truly a loss to TV. It is fair to say Parks and Recreation is not only one of my favourite comedies of all time but one of my favourite shows of any genre and any year. That the show has had a near perfect final season is just a great ending to a series that fought to stay on air for 125 episodes and 7 seasons in a TV climate where new comedies are cancelled before they even get a chance to shine. 

So here are 15 of my favourite episodes, though I could easily list more. 

+ Hunting Trip (S2 Episode 10) - One of the early S2 episodes where everything clicked and it showed of the casts talents. 

 + Telethon (S2 Episode 22) - Leslie trying to keep going and fill air is fantastic. I definitely remember watching this episode and realising just how much I had fallen in love with the show. 

+ Flu Season (S3 Episode 2) - Leslie trying to fight flu, Chris not being able to cope, Ben realising just how special and crazy his future wife is. Hilarious episode, a stand out. 

+ Harvest Festival (S3 Episode 7) - Honestly there is going to be a lot of S3 episodes on my list because S3 is a perfect season of TV and nothing is more amazing than American Girl playing as Leslie’s plan to save the department succeeds. 

 + Andy and April’s Fancy Party (S3 Episode 9) - A crazy decision to bring April and Andy together in marriage after only a few episodes together, crazy but worked out to be a great choice. 

 + Li'l Sebastian (S3 Episode 16) - Conclusion to a terrific season and a tribute song for the ages. 

 + The Comeback Kid (S4 Episode 11) - The ice scene says it all. 

 + The Debate (S4 Episode 20) - Any episode in which Leslie makes a rousing speech is a good episode to me, this one happens to be great. 

+ Win, Lose, or Draw (S4 Episode 22) - Much like The Debate this episode sums up the importance of Leslie Knope so well. 

 + Two Parties (S5 Episode 10) - I absolutely adore the bachelor party plot with the male characters, hilarious and sweet and shows the bonds between the characters really well. 

+ Leslie and Ben (S5 Episode 14) - One of the many episodes which nearly became series finales, this may be my absolute favourite 

 + London (S6 Episodes 1 & 2) - There is a lot of love in this season opener, from Andy getting a new job, to Leslie sending Ron off to Scotland at the end. 

 + Ann and Chris (S6 Episode 13) - Saying goodbye to Ann and Chris was hard but in true Parks and Recreation style it was equally heartfelt and funny. 

 + Moving Up (S6 Episodes 21 + 22) - God damn this show can do finales so well, everything about Moving Up was a lot of fun but then the surprise time jump at the end was shocking and ended up giving the show a new energy in S7.

+ Leslie & Ron (S7 Episode 4) - I could list a whole bunch of S7 episodes, Donna & Joe, Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington, Two Funerals and well let’s be honest the series finale is probably going to make my list but for episodes that have aired so far Leslie and Ron’s bottle episode was everything I love about the show. It gave us a emotional conclusion to a storyline we had only known for 3 previous episodes and yet it worked so well. The Leslie and Ron friendship has always been a delight to watch and seeing Ron so upset by the change around him gave Nick Offerman his best episode.

Top 35 TV Shows of 2013

4. Parks & Recreation

I love you and I like you

For the fourth year running Parks and Recreation is my favourite comedy and really it is down to two simple things - it is incredibly sweet and it is incredibly funny. We know the characters so well now every episode is like watching old friends do funny and often wonderful things. Clearly the highlight of the episodes aired this year was the wedding of Leslie and Ben, an event so perfect that the show could have have ended there (which it nearly did).

Oh who I am kidding I never want to say goodbye to this show even if every year the threat of cancellations looms. I just love it too much, even if it’s not as consistently amazing as it was in S3 or S4 it is always good and often great which really for a comedy in its sixth year is pretty damn impressive.

There have been a lot of changes this season with Andy being stuck in London and with Chris and Ann due to leave next year but despite this the show always manages to cope. This year Donna is being used a lot more and whilst I can never see her as Leslie’s new best friend I do really love their dynamic together. We also get to see both Ron and Chris tackle impending fatherhood and Ben once again take on another job.

Central to the show though is Leslie and her dreams. Though Parks and Recreation can be an optimistic show, it is not afraid to show the reality of trying to change things for the better. The truth is the citizens of Pawnee resent Leslie and whilst it is hard to watch as she continually battles them and then eventually loses the recall vote it does feel true to the show. Leslie has her dreams and she always has to fight for them and that is what makes her Leslie Knope, she doesn’t give up, she keeps on fighting and we keep on cheering her on. She is our hero in an age of cynicism.

Favourite episodes: Leslie and Ben / London

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