Last night I sat down on my couch with no distractions except a fidgety cat to watch the very final episode of Parks and Recreation.
I cried throughout the entire thing.
Parks and Recreation succeeded where so many sitcoms have failed. It was smart, clever, and had heart. The characters were a little wacky but you loved each and every one of them for their quirks and flaws. The characters taught us about friendship, succeeding in your goals, failing in your goals, and moving on gracefully, with maybe a few Pratt-falls along the way (see what I did there?).
By far one of the most continually strong shows on television, Parks evolved with the times and never pandered to the lowest common denominator. It demanded that you met it half way and you were always glad you did. Though far from a perfect show (the ribbing on Jerry/Garry/Terry/Larry got old very quickly), the writing and acting rarely wavered and got stronger with every passing season.
Last night's finale gave fans of Parks what they (myself included) wanted: a happy ending for our rag-tag group of characters. We got to see how these people we'd spent so much time with got on after we left them. Yes, it was sappy but it was the perfect ending to an incredible final season. I don't think I would have wanted to go out any other way.
Of course, the finale was already shadowed by a tragic loss that the Parks and Recreation crew suffered through the death of executive producer and writer Harris Wittels. Wittels was a frequent guest on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast and had such an incredible dry wit and hilarity that was so impressive for someone so young. It's clear through the many online posts by various other writers and cast members how beloved Wittels was and just how amazing a team the Parks and Recreation crew was.
To be able to create something that people will remember is probably the goal of most creative human beings. I can only imagine being a part of a team like that and maybe one day I will be. For now, I will content myself with following my gut and keep on keeping on. If there was one thing that Parks and Recreation taught me is that no matter the setbacks, if you work hard and have a good support group behind you, you can achieve anything.
So thanks for everything, citizens of Pawnee, Indiana. You were weird, you were wild, and you were wonderful.