First of all, did you know that Mike Schur — the writer and co-creator of Parks and Recreation and Mose Schrute on The Office — is, in real life, Regis Philbin’s son-in-law? I found that out yesterday, and it blew a chunk out of the back of my head.
In unrelated and obviously less important news, however, Regis Philbin’s son-in-law released a statement explaining why Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones are leaving the show. Was it drugs? Prostitutes? Dead bodies in their dressing rooms? No. Basically, Schur confirmed that we already suspected: That the characters’ usefulness has been exhausted, and it’s time to send Chris Traeger and Ann Perkins off into the sunset.
Here is the statement:
“The news about Rob and Rashida is true — they will be leaving the show after the 13th episode of the upcoming season six. We’ve been working on their storyline (on and off) for four seasons now, and heading into this year, with the two of them contemplating parenthood, it felt like a natural time to move them into the next phase.
We absolutely love both Rashida and Rob, and will be sad to see them go. Rashida was one of the very first people we knew we wanted in the cast, and as important as Ann is to Leslie (and vice-versa), she’ll certainly never be far from Pawnee. Rob we initially thought we could only have for six or eight episodes, and we couldn’t be happier that he will have stuck around for 75.
They are wonderful, funny, committed actors, they’ve been a huge part of the Parks and Rec family, and we think we have a great Pawnee send-off in the works for them.”
There’s been no great debate on the Internet since the announcement about the purpose the two serve to the show going into its sixth season. The argument has been whether it’s better to have a useless Ann and Chris on the show than no Ann and Chris, at all. I fall into the former category, at least with regard to Chris. He’s an amazing cheerleader for the rest of the characters, and I could never get tired of his enthusiasm for everything.
But can I just say how wonderful it is that Schur and company are really generous enough to their characters, and to their shows, not to leave them on until the point that we loathe them. When Mark Brendanawicz ran out of storyline, they ditched him, and now they’re doing the same with Ann and Chris. Plus, they continue to populate Pawnee with wonderful minor characters to ensure that the other characters are not overexposed. A lot of other showrunners, after Ron Swanson took off, might have turned Parks and Rec into The Ron Swanson Show, but Schur hasn’t made that mistake. Each of the characters get a few showcase episodes each season, but nobody is overused. It’s just perfect distribution, done in such a way that we always want more from any given character.
Oh, I should also note that, because Buzzfeed broke the original story, and because Deadline didn’t want to get left out, they rushed to throw up this headline: “NBC Eyes New Show for Rob Lowe.” Did Deadline have any details? No. Not really. But whatever makes Deadline feel better about itself.