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We will miss them and the warm smushy feeling they’ve given us week in and week out immensely, but when it gets to be too much, good to know we can go back to the well anytime, most probably starting with one of these ten episodes.“Hunting Trip” (Season 2, Episode 10)Famously, “Parks & Rec” didn’t come flying out of the gate.“Ron & Tammy: Part 2” (Season 3, Episode 4)It may have taken a season or so to figure out exactly how to write Leslie, but Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson arrived fully formed and instantly iconic.Terse of manner, right of wing, Selleckian of ‘tache, Ron is to ‘Parks’ what Jack Donaghy was to “30 Rock,” though obviously he’d be horrified at the comparison to the urbane, corporate NBC honcho.For once, however, we do not fear death threats amid a fan backlash in the comments, because the special alchemy of ‘Parks’ was it managed to be funny without cynicism, to find actual humor in stories of kindness and sweetness and people being good to one another and good at their jobs.Anyway, in being one of the nicest shows on TV, it also has the nicest fans — we should know, we’re just a few of the people who’ve been made better, if rather more sentimental, by continued exposure to the lovely folk at the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana.Remarried, incarcerated, sporting gangsta cornrows and entirely emasculated (we see it all happen via one of those classic ‘Parks’ montages), Ron has to be rescued by Leslie, who again shows us how committed she is to her friends, even above the job she adores, by using up the favor she needs for her career-making Harvest Festival to get Ron out of prison instead.
And when you create such a pillar of strength, manliness and libertarian ideals, the essential Randian/Nietzschean Superman of Pawnee, the most illuminating thing you can do with him is introduce him to his Kryptonite.
If you don’t already know this, I hate to break it to you: “Parks and Recreation” is coming to an end.
The final episode of its final seventh season airs tonight, and in tribute, its biggest fans on The Playlist staff/in the world have tried to wrestle our infinite love for the show into just ten episodes. ‘Parks’ went from a slow, hiccuppy first season to a consistently excellent run from its second season on (season 3, with 4 entries below is probably our favorite, while season 6 felt like the most disappointing overall), so there are many episodes it hurt us to exclude and many many more, no doubt, that other fans will be aghast we didn’t mention.
Plus you get some killer Poehler improv as she throws off the suspicions of a park ranger by playing into his condescending stereotyping of women, and the first flourishings of the show’s best love story, between Aubrey Plaza‘s April and Chris Pratt‘s Andy.
“Telethon” (Season 2, Episode 22)When an episode opens with a puppy licking Ron Swanson’s moustache, you know you’re in for a treat, and even among the strong run of episodes that ended the second season (and built towards the totally stellar third), “Telethon” was a real highlight.