I could watch The Simpsons, and only The Simpsons, for a year-straight, and never tire of “Marge vs. the Monorail.” I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld, Roseanne, and Bob’s Burgers countless times. Happy Endings, 30 Rock, and Cheers have brought me an unquantifiable amount of joy. But no TV comedy has ever comforted me more than Parks and Recreation. No matter how crummy my day was, I can always put on “Galentine’s Day,” “Andy and April’s Fancy Party,” or “Li’l Sebastian,” and know that everything will be okay, because the eternal optimist Leslie Knope is waiting for me.
It’s been one year since Parks and Rec went on “One Last Ride,” and I still miss it dearly. That’s not to say it isn’t a fixture in my life — I regularly watch multiple episodes in a row on Netflix or treat myself to a marathon on the Esquire Channel. But it’s not the same. That experience of looking forward to Thursday nights, when NBC would go from Community to 30 Rock to The Office to Parks and Rec (that’s the 1992 Dream Team of lineups), is gone. We’ll never get a new Duke Silver solo, or Mouse Rat song, or Meagle motto.
I asked a few Uproxx writers to say what they miss the most about Parks.
I miss the earnestness, optimism and hope that Leslie Knope brought to politics, and for half an hour every week, we were reminded that some people — even if they were only on TV — got into public service to actually better the world instead of bettering themselves. — Dustin Rowles
I miss going into every new episode excited to discover which character would steal that particular show. Not sure we’re ever going to see another ensemble like it. — Kris Maske
I really miss silly Chris Pratt. Don’t get me wrong, movie star Chris Pratt is still great, but even Andy Dwyer’s blooper reels were better than most things on TV. — Pete Blackburn
I miss the show’s takedown of female stereotypes and how women truly interact with each other. These characters respected each other’s professional and life choices, and they did not tear each other down and fall into a pit of cattiness. — Kimberly Ricci
I miss Orin. He was by far the most mysterious and intriguing character on the series over the years, and we barely ever saw enough of him or learned about him to truly understand him. He was the one character I hoped we’d see in the finale, and yet he was nowhere to be found. Was that perhaps the purpose? That Orin’s final story should remain untold because it left him as the show’s greatest mystery? Damn, this show truly was clever. — Ashley Burns
The thing I miss most about Parks and Rec was that it was a nice, warm comedy at a time when most comedies seem to lean cynical or semi-tortured. Like, I love BoJack Horseman deeply, but it was great to have a really funny half hour every week where everyone liked each other and worked together to solve a problem, you know?
I also miss everything else. It’s an Everything-way tie. —Danger Guerrero
What don’t I miss about Parks and Recreation? I miss Ron Swanson’s appreciation for breakfast meat and scotch. I miss the revolving names of Jerry. I miss Tom and Donna and their enjoyment for the finer things life. I miss Andy’s unbridled enthusiasm. Every episode was like hanging out with old friends and now instead of creating new memories, we just have to settle for… well, memories. — Stacey Ritzen
Yes to all that, and I’d also add Pawnee being a mecca for weirdos, and April and Andy acting like they just started dating even after they got married, and Perd Hapley, and Jean-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa Saperstein, and Tammy Two, and Orin, and Crazy Ira and the Douche, and Joan Callamezzo, and Bobby Newport, and Ethel Beavers. Pretty much all the recurring characters.
Parks and Recreation was as beautiful as a tropical fish, as poetic as a noble land mermaid, as glowing as a sun goddess, and in the year since the finale, no show has replaced the Ron Swanson-size hole in my heart. It was a well-meaning, irony-free comedy about “real people in a real town working in a real building with real feelings” where Werner Herzog would play a madman in a creepy old house… who moves to Orlando to be closer to Disney World. No one was truly evil on Parks and Recreation, and everyone had a heart.
There’s only one thing I hate about the show: that it never won an Emmy.
I know I’ll always miss my Parks and Rec-iest friend