Audience members say goodbye to ‘Parks and Recreation’

SOPHIE WEST
Arts & Life
Corresopondent

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons FULL CAST of  NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” photographed at the 71st Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon. The seven-series show is known for its good-humored, lovable characters.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
FULL CAST of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” photographed at the 71st Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon. The seven-series show is known for its good-humored, lovable characters.

“Parks and Recreation” began its first season in 2009 and centered mainly on former “Saturday Night Live” star Amy Poehler. The show starred the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee City government and showed all different types of characters trying to get along.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Parks and Recreation” was 57 percent rotten, which is a rather low rating for this adored show. The website’s critics stated that the show had an “awkward and absurd humor” with “potential to become a great comedy, thanks largely to the talents of Amy Pohler.” However, that “absurd humor” became the backbone of the show and as the characters developed, they captivated the audience with each idiosyncrasy they displayed.

The second season’s ratings show that the show skyrocketed to 83 percent ripe on Rotten Tomatoes and the trend continued as more seasons were released, each being rated at 100 percent ripe. Even though the ratings became higher, “Parks and Recreation” was always under threat of cancelation by NBC and the fans knew that the series was coming to an end.

The final and seventh season, released in 2015, brought this epic television show to a close. Producers released this last run as a “Treat Yo Self” season, playing off the idea of binge television-watching promoted mainly by Netflix.

This means they released two episodes a week, making the show last an hour instead of the standard 30 minutes. The writers of “Parks and Recreation” needed to give their fans a way to say goodbye to the characters they watched grow up over the past seven seasons.

During the seventh season, viewers saw the “Parks and Recreation” gang split up into different sectors and no longer work together, which is how the show began. However, now all of the characters seem more established in their lives, moving on from where they started to what they dreamed about doing. To end the series they flashed forward in time to show mini epilogue stories for each of the characters either 10, 15, 20 years down the road.

In each epilogue viewers saw an individual character reaching his or her peak in happiness, whether it takes until the end of that character’s life or it is just around the corner. The purpose of this can speak to the general public, conveying that there is no way to achieve success; whatever path you take, whether a short one or a long one, it is the one that is necessary for you.
“Parks and Recreation” provided a show about people who are the outliers of the society. All of the characters on the show are one type of extreme; you have Ron Swanson, an extreme conservative, and Leslie Knope, an extreme public servant, to just name a couple. That is a key reason for the show’s success and popularity: because people can relate to being different better than they can relate to being normal. That is what “Parks and Recreation” did for its audience: it showed them that no matter how strange you are, if you have determination you can accomplish your dreams.

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