NBC’s wildly popular mockumentary Parks and Recreation ended its seven season run last night with an equally sappy and humorous finale that seemed only fitting for the Pawnee do-gooders.
Although the show may be over, it has made a permanent impact on our culture. Expect to see Haverford-coined terms such as “sandoozles” being added to the Oxford English Dictionary sometime in the near future.
Here are a select few legacies Parks left behind:
What state would the world be in today if it weren’t for our dearest Li’l Sebastian? The well-endowed mini-horse with a higher pedigree than most Pawnee residents somehow managed to capture the hearts of audiences around the world without actually doing anything. As non-Pawnee residents, we should have collectively reacted to Li’l Sebastian like the confused out-of-towner Ben Wyatt. But we quickly adopted Li’l Sebastian as a true American hero. I mean, anything that can make Ron Swanson smile deserves credit.
Jean-Ralphio is possibly one of the worst characters ever created, which makes him one of the best. He is a scheming, sleazy, remorseless moocher with an equally appalling twin sister. He constantly pitches ridiculous business ideas to Tom in the hopes of making quick and easy cash and together they consistently fail. He is probably most noted for bizarrely singing extremely vulgar or uncomfortable statements.
Jerry (Gary) “Larry”/“Terry”/“Garry” Gergich
The complete opposite of Jean-Ralphio is Jerry Gergich. He is a hard working, genuinely good person who is patient to a fault. Case-in-point: he failed to correct his co-workers who called him by the wrong name for years. He proves to be artistic and occasionally wise but is completely overshadowed by his clumsiness and general social awkwardness that makes him an open target for Parks department mockery. People will be telling their children about the first time they witnessed Jerry’s fart attack for years to come.
“Ann you … ”
Type that phrase into google, and some of your suggested searches are: “beautiful tropical fish,” “poetic noble land mermaid” and “beautiful rule breaking moth.” These flowery sentiments only scratch the surface of Leslie Knope’s love and admiration for her best friend Ann Perkins. Her epithets have become so popular that during the finale, Chris Traeger asked Leslie to rattle off a few more for good measure.
Ben Wyatt’s Butt
Leslie is OBSESSED with her husband’s posterior. Just as you can be sure that Leslie will compliment Ann’s beauty somewhere in their conversation, she will also slip in a comment about Ben’s butt when talking to him. Maybe we should follow Ben’s lead and incorporate a steady diet of calzones to get such a beloved butt.
Andy is one of the most beloved characters on the show, which is funny because Chris Pratt was originally only slated to be featured in the first few episodes as Ann’s deadbeat musician boyfriend. Instead, Parks fans were privileged with watching Andy grow from completely immature to a (semi) responsible man-child. He may behave like a fifth grader, but his active imagination helps him reinvent himself and win over the hearts of even the most spiteful characters.
“Get on your feet”
This scene embodies pretty much the entire spirit of Parks in less than two minutes. Leslie tries to make a speech at a hockey game during her campaign for city council member. Tom runs out of money to buy a full red carpet for Leslie and the crew, so they scramble on the ice to the middle of a rink where Leslie’s campaign banner is cut off all while the same sample of Gloria Estefan’s “Get on Your Feet” keeps replaying. Yet they persevere together to literally lift Leslie onto the platform, so she can give her speech.
It’s not “lit-er-a-lly.” That term is hereby abolished from the modern English vocabulary after Chris. Traeger. revolutionized the spoken word. Everything is hyperbolized to the utmost extent, with frequent. sharp. pauses. in between words. Also, it is litrally imperative that you call everyone by their full names.
Leslie and Ron’s appreciation for breakfast food cannot go unnoticed. J. J.’s Diner waffles were essentially another member of the Parks department. If Leslie was Superman, waffles would be her kryptonite. They are such a staple to the show that during the finale, fans got #WafflesAcrossAmerica trending on Twitter.
April was a character specifically created for Aubrey Plaza. Under the guidance of Leslie, the people-hating, death-obsessed intern evolved into an employee at a non-profit organization who actually sort of cares about people. She even gave a rare hug in the last season.
Treat yo’ self
Is there anyone on earth at this point that hasn’t been told to treat themselves to something extravagant? It’s a cultural phenomenon that could probably jump start the global economy. There is nothing better than watching the Donna and Tom in their pure, uninhibited love of material wealth and pampering. What started off as an annual celebration in the show has become a daily justification for many fans. Next time you find a shirt you want, go ahead and treat yo’ self.
Ron Swanson has become something that he would have completely and utterly loathed: a cultural icon. Despite his best efforts to remain closed off and isolated from his co-workers and the federal government, the meat loving, bureaucracy hating Ron managed to find a home in our hearts that neither of the Tammys could ever damage. Ron’s mustache probably deserves its own spot on the list here for its sheer power and presence in every scene.
Hanna Greenblott is a sophomore English language and literature major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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