Now THAT was the episode of Parks and Recreation I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been a little let down by this season, or at least the last couple of episodes, but “Ann and Chris” was everything Parks does best: emotional, but not sappy; impressively solidify old relationships, while continuing to find new layers in the characters; references to past episodes without giving into nostalgia; PERD ORIN PISTOL PETE. But most of all, it was that perfect blend of sweet and funny that no other show on television does quite so well.
Despite both of last night’s episodes sharing a similar plot construction, compare how Community said goodbye to Troy versus Parks doing the same thing for Ann and Chris. The former staged an elaborate, fire-and-brimstone concept around fear and parting using lava and chairs, while the latter had Leslie throwing a multi-holiday party. They couldn’t have looked any different, but they both stood for the same thing, except Parks replaced Community‘s occasional cynicism with smiles and tears. And there were a lot of those, from Ann, from Leslie, from me — I was both delighted and scared at Ann becoming a Perd-vert. Better sense kicked in, though, and after dating every man in Pawnee, including the never-mentioned Mark Brendanawicz, Ann found her guy. And they strummed banjos happily every after.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of Ann and Chris, and I think their departure will ultimately be good for Parks, but “Ann and Chris” was LITERALLY the best send-off the show could have given that beautiful tropical fish/rule-breaking moth/magnificent tree of life and her dance machine of a now poop-free husband.