Best of 2015: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Parks and Recreation

If you’re still jonesing for more Amy and Tina after the epic SNL this weekend, go see Sisters. Or you can look back and read one of our favorite posts from our 5,000 Candles in the Wind series dedicated to Parks and Recreation before we said goodbye to it forever. Amy and the rest of the crew taught us a lot about life through the show, and we’ll be forever grateful.

We’ve come a long way since the pit. From Lil Sebastian to Champion, Rent A Swag to Entertainment 720, waffles to bacon, 2009 to 2017, there was a lot to love about Parks and Recreation. And tonight, we’ll say a goodbye that’s more sad than the Lil Sebastian farewell concert or Ann’s move to Michigan. Parks had a lot going for it: the best actors and writers in comedy, critical acclaim and a loyal fan base. But above all, it had more heart than any other sitcom on the air. The show’s outlook was overwhelmingly positive, and its protagonist was a hard worker with total loyalty to her town, her career and her friends. We learned more from Parks and Recreation than we have from any show since Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers. Dare we say? Everything we need to know we learned from Parks and Recreation.

Friends, Waffles, Work

Or waffles, friends work. No matter. In other words: priorities. Even Leslie, career-driven as she is, knows that work takes a back seat to the big things in life – your friends. And waffles, which in a broader sense you could interpret as something like “taking the time to enjoy life.” Except that I think she really does mean waffles.

Ovaries Before Brovaries

Again, file under: priorities. Parks is about the relationships between a wide net of coworkers, friends, and significant others. If Ben came along and it was The Leslie And Ben Show from that point on, there wouldn’t be much reason to watch. Leslie’s not the sort to get into a relationship and write off her friends. So, the “uteruses before duderuses” approach can be broadened into “don’t forget about your friends just because of relationship stuff.”

There’s also the great way Leslie is supportive of her lady friends, even when it’s tough. It wasn’t easy to accept Ann moving away, but Leslie encouraged her to do what was best for her family. And rather than get jealous that April was moving up in her career, Leslie helped facilitate the move. Leslie knows one of the greatest secrets in life – which is also one of our lessons from Parks and Recreation: when the members of your “team” succeed – whether it’s your friends, family, or coworkers – then that’s your success, too.

Treat Yo Self

You could say that Tom and Donna are a couple of silly geese, but no. They both work hard and play hard. The key to Treat Yo Self: it’s a once a year occurence. You don’t rack up credit card debt because you “deserve” good things, but every once in a while it’s good to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Like Tom and Donna, it’s always nice to have a friend to back you up, so when you rationalize that you don’t really need those fine leather goods, a still small voice whispers “treat yo self.”

Say Thank You

I have a philosophy about the “sorry epidemic,” that is, the way people start or end sentences with “sorry” when they haven’t done anything wrong. My theory is that in most cases, what the person really means is either please or thank you. Rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in advance, what they really mean to do is ask for something. And rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in retrospect, what they mean to do is say thank you: thank you for accommodating me, or understanding, or going out of your way, or being supportive. People apologize for existing when they really want to thank other people for making their existence easier.

No show does “thank you ” better than Parks. Whether it’s the final moments before Ann leaves Pawnee, or April’s tear-inducing speech in D.C., these folks know how to thank the people who make their lives better. Next time you feel compelled to apologize when you haven’t really done something you shouldn’t, look deeper. Do you really want to say please or thank you instead?

Don’t Write The Concession Speech

In one of my classrooms growing up, there was a poster that said “Failure To Plan Is Planning To Fail.” But I also say that “Planning To Fail Is Planning To Fail.” School decor aside, it’s important to not behave as though the worst is going to happen. Ben doesn’t write a concession speech, because he doesn’t think that losing is a possible outcome.

Or maybe the better lesson is this: surround yourself with people who will think that you won’t need the concession speech. Maybe Leslie wouldn’t have won if her circle was full of people who assumed she wouldn’t succeed. Fill your life with the Bens to your Leslie: people who expect you to win, even more than you do yourself.

I Love You And I Like You

The phrase that Leslie and Ben often tell each other is quite endearing and sums up a perfect relationship. But the writers didn’t come up with it – Rashida Jones’ dad did. I believe Amy wrote the episode it first appeared in, and she revealed in an interview that when she was in Monte Carlo with Quincy Jones (as you do), he grabbed her face in his hands and said to her, “I love you and I like you.” Whether it be a significant other, family member a friend, or your daughter’s comedy wife, it’s important to not only let them know how you feel, but actually truly mean what you say. Anyone can say ‘love ya’ as a throwaway, but to add the ‘I like you’ part implies you enjoy them as a human being, enjoy their company, enjoy everything they have to offer.

Know Where Your Money Goes

Okay, on one hand, definitely treat yo self. On the other hand, don’t blow your budget on Harry Potter fantasy camp.

Of course, I would say that, I’m a Ravenclaw.

When You Love Something, You Fight For It

This speech from Leslie’s final statement as she vies for city council is the best summarization of Leslie Knope. “If you love something, you don’t threaten it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first… If I seem too passionate, it’s because I care. If I come on strong, it’s because I feel strongly.” Leslie Knope is one of the strongest, if not THE strongest female character ever on TV because she doesn’t back down. She fights for what she believes in, and she stands up not only for herself, but for those around her. It doesn’t just apply to her career, it applies to her friendships. From making unnecessary holidays to going to all costs to help a friend propose, Leslie will do anything in her power to see things get done. When it came to her relationship with Ben, she was willing to give up her career just to be with him. She said, ‘Let’s just screw it,’ and it eventually paid off. When you love something, you fight for it. As Ron Swanson said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Leslie can proudly say she whole-assed a whole bunch of things.

“I like to tell people get on board and buckle up, because my ride’s gonna be a big one. If you get motion sickness, put your head between your knees, because Leslie Knope’s stopping for no one.”

Time Is Money; Money Is Power; Power is Pizza; Pizza is Knowledge

This is probably my favorite thing April has ever said on the entire series. First of all, the fact that she’s running this meeting is just great character development. I love character development. But no matter how ridiculous it sounds when it comes out, she usually has a point. In Pawnee in particular, there are a lot of randoms who have nothing better to do but complain, like that woman who is always too concerned about her dog and brings up her pooch problems at town meetings. These are the folks April and co. have to deal with and they don’t have time to sit around listening to droll residents all day. Also, pizza. Pizza is always a good choice.

Have Dating Standards

Ok, this might actually be one of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from the show. When Tom said this, he spoke to my soul on a deep level. The fact that Ann didn’t know who Ginuwine was (Ginuwine – is Ginuwine) was astonishing, and honestly, I, like Tom, don’t think I could ever date someone who didn’t know who he was. Speaking of Ann, in her days of going through guy after guy, she often had a tendency to change into the people she was dating. Like Julia Roberts in Runway Bride – she didn’t even know what type of egg she liked. It’s important to have simple standards for your ideal mate, because when you figure out what you want – like Ann wanted a kid – you will most likely get what you’re looking for.

There’s Always Paris

paris parks

I kind of want this in a tattoo form but not, because it’s too long. Leslie always has a lot on her plate, but somehow she manages it all. She has time to make binders on how to be a garbage woman but also finds time to make a scrapbook about her “Thoughts on Sam Waterston“. So when something extremely stressful comes her way, like being recalled from city council, it’s important to just take a break from it all. We know Leslie loves her job, but it’s important to take a break once in a while. We get so caught up in the millions of things on our to do lists each day that we don’t actually take a chance to breathe and be present and let go of whatever is bothering us. Your trip to Paris doesn’t have to be Paris. Paris can be your favorite park or cafe or a place an hour away to the middle of nowhere. If you have the ability to get away, even for just a brief moment, do it.

Be a Good Person

When Leslie realizes her job is at stake because of her romantic relationship with Ben (and the fact that they bribed the maintenance guy during Lil Sebastian’s funeral to keep quiet), Leslie thinks it’s all over for her. But Ron, in his vast font of knowledge, reminds her that despite the fact she did a frowned upon/illegal thing, it doesn’t make her a bad person. I think this show overall has taught us that there is good in this world, and you can be part of bringing that to real life. Parks never puts anyone down, it inspires and encourages us to be better. We’re human. We make mistakes. But it’s what happens after the fact that shows our true character.

Inspire Yourself

Speaking of being inspirational, while Leslie Knope herself is a great inspiration to us all, she also remind us that often times, the best person to encourage you is yourself. I don’t think Leslie would be half the leader she is today if she never thought she could do it. Yeah, she has to remind herself at times she can reach her goals (“Hey Leslie. It’s Leslie. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.”) Sure, you can have people like Ben around you believing in you and not writing concession speeches, but when Leslie walked out on the stage and gave the speech (as seen above a few paragraphs), she was ultimately the one to give the impassioned statement. No one fed her lines, she went with her gut and her gut made her win.

Feminism Isn’t Just For Women

I am a goddess. a glorious female warrior, queen of all i survey. enemies of fairness and equality, hear my womanly roar. Also men’s rights is nothing.

Johnny Karate’s Rules for Success

I mean, I think that’s pretty self explanatory.

The Only Constant Is Change

Unfortunately, doppelganger Ron has a point. Returning for one of the final episodes, Eagleton Ron shows up like he usually does, out of nowhere, and gives sage advice, like a traveling Yoda who is easier to understand. As we say goodbye to the gang tonight, the gang says goodbye to each other. Ben and Leslie and Andy and April are moving to D.C., Tom’s getting married to Lucy, Donna’s enjoying married life with Joe and moving to Seattle, Ron has his construction company and family to tend to, and Chris and Ann are already off being domestic in Michigan. Oh and Garry’s the mayor (CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT). Despite the fact a lot has happened for the Parks department in the past seven/10 years, it was bound to change sometime. Leslie was always bigger than Pawnee, and while her dreams seemed far away in season one, we realize that it’s time for her to actually achieve those goals. She turned a pit into a playground and now it’s her turn to bring that same goal-oriented talent to D.C. And this show, no matter how much we love it, was bound to have its final episode whether we liked it or not. But we’ll find another show to like and love. Maybe not as much and not in the same way, but we will. We’ll move on. We’ll move up. And we’ll miss you in the saddest fashion.

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5,000 Candles in the Wind: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Parks and Recreation

We’ve come a long way since the pit. From Lil Sebastian to Champion, Rent A Swag to Entertainment 720, waffles to bacon, 2009 to 2017, there was a lot to love about Parks and Recreation. And tonight, we’ll say a goodbye that’s more sad than the Lil Sebastian farewell concert or Ann’s move to Michigan. Parks had a lot going for it: the best actors and writers in comedy, critical acclaim and a loyal fan base. But above all, it had more heart than any other sitcom on the air. The show’s outlook was overwhelmingly positive, and its protagonist was a hard worker with total loyalty to her town, her career and her friends. We learned more from Parks and Recreation than we have from any show since Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers. Dare we say? Everything we need to know we learned from Parks and Recreation.

Friends, Waffles, Work

Or waffles, friends work. No matter. In other words: priorities. Even Leslie, career-driven as she is, knows that work takes a back seat to the big things in life – your friends. And waffles, which in a broader sense you could interpret as something like “taking the time to enjoy life.” Except that I think she really does mean waffles.

Ovaries Before Brovaries

Again, file under: priorities. Parks is about the relationships between a wide net of coworkers, friends, and significant others. If Ben came along and it was The Leslie And Ben Show from that point on, there wouldn’t be much reason to watch. Leslie’s not the sort to get into a relationship and write off her friends. So, the “uteruses before duderuses” approach can be broadened into “don’t forget about your friends just because of relationship stuff.”

There’s also the great way Leslie is supportive of her lady friends, even when it’s tough. It wasn’t easy to accept Ann moving away, but Leslie encouraged her to do what was best for her family. And rather than get jealous that April was moving up in her career, Leslie helped facilitate the move. Leslie knows one of the greatest secrets in life – which is also one of our lessons from Parks and Recreation: when the members of your “team” succeed – whether it’s your friends, family, or coworkers – then that’s your success, too.

Treat Yo Self

You could say that Tom and Donna are a couple of silly geese, but no. They both work hard and play hard. The key to Treat Yo Self: it’s a once a year occurence. You don’t rack up credit card debt because you “deserve” good things, but every once in a while it’s good to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Like Tom and Donna, it’s always nice to have a friend to back you up, so when you rationalize that you don’t really need those fine leather goods, a still small voice whispers “treat yo self.”

Say Thank You

I have a philosophy about the “sorry epidemic,” that is, the way people start or end sentences with “sorry” when they haven’t done anything wrong. My theory is that in most cases, what the person really means is either please or thank you. Rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in advance, what they really mean to do is ask for something. And rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in retrospect, what they mean to do is say thank you: thank you for accommodating me, or understanding, or going out of your way, or being supportive. People apologize for existing when they really want to thank other people for making their existence easier.

No show does “thank you ” better than Parks. Whether it’s the final moments before Ann leaves Pawnee, or April’s tear-inducing speech in D.C., these folks know how to thank the people who make their lives better. Next time you feel compelled to apologize when you haven’t really done something you shouldn’t, look deeper. Do you really want to say please or thank you instead?

Don’t Write The Concession Speech

In one of my classrooms growing up, there was a poster that said “Failure To Plan Is Planning To Fail.” But I also say that “Planning To Fail Is Planning To Fail.” School decor aside, it’s important to not behave as though the worst is going to happen. Ben doesn’t write a concession speech, because he doesn’t think that losing is a possible outcome.

Or maybe the better lesson is this: surround yourself with people who will think that you won’t need the concession speech. Maybe Leslie wouldn’t have won if her circle was full of people who assumed she wouldn’t succeed. Fill your life with the Bens to your Leslie: people who expect you to win, even more than you do yourself.

I Love You And I Like You

The phrase that Leslie and Ben often tell each other is quite endearing and sums up a perfect relationship. But the writers didn’t come up with it – Rashida Jones’ dad did. I believe Amy wrote the episode it first appeared in, and she revealed in an interview that when she was in Monte Carlo with Quincy Jones (as you do), he grabbed her face in his hands and said to her, “I love you and I like you.” Whether it be a significant other, family member a friend, or your daughter’s comedy wife, it’s important to not only let them know how you feel, but actually truly mean what you say. Anyone can say ‘love ya’ as a throwaway, but to add the ‘I like you’ part implies you enjoy them as a human being, enjoy their company, enjoy everything they have to offer.

Know Where Your Money Goes

Okay, on one hand, definitely treat yo self. On the other hand, don’t blow your budget on Harry Potter fantasy camp.

Of course, I would say that, I’m a Ravenclaw.

When You Love Something, You Fight For It

This speech from Leslie’s final statement as she vies for city council is the best summarization of Leslie Knope. “If you love something, you don’t threaten it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first… If I seem too passionate, it’s because I care. If I come on strong, it’s because I feel strongly.” Leslie Knope is one of the strongest, if not THE strongest female character ever on TV because she doesn’t back down. She fights for what she believes in, and she stands up not only for herself, but for those around her. It doesn’t just apply to her career, it applies to her friendships. From making unnecessary holidays to going to all costs to help a friend propose, Leslie will do anything in her power to see things get done. When it came to her relationship with Ben, she was willing to give up her career just to be with him. She said, ‘Let’s just screw it,’ and it eventually paid off. When you love something, you fight for it. As Ron Swanson said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Leslie can proudly say she whole-assed a whole bunch of things.

“I like to tell people get on board and buckle up, because my ride’s gonna be a big one. If you get motion sickness, put your head between your knees, because Leslie Knope’s stopping for no one.”

Time Is Money; Money Is Power; Power is Pizza; Pizza is Knowledge

This is probably my favorite thing April has ever said on the entire series. First of all, the fact that she’s running this meeting is just great character development. I love character development. But no matter how ridiculous it sounds when it comes out, she usually has a point. In Pawnee in particular, there are a lot of randoms who have nothing better to do but complain, like that woman who is always too concerned about her dog and brings up her pooch problems at town meetings. These are the folks April and co. have to deal with and they don’t have time to sit around listening to droll residents all day. Also, pizza. Pizza is always a good choice.

Have Dating Standards

Ok, this might actually be one of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from the show. When Tom said this, he spoke to my soul on a deep level. The fact that Ann didn’t know who Ginuwine was (Ginuwine – is Ginuwine) was astonishing, and honestly, I, like Tom, don’t think I could ever date someone who didn’t know who he was. Speaking of Ann, in her days of going through guy after guy, she often had a tendency to change into the people she was dating. Like Julia Roberts in Runway Bride – she didn’t even know what type of egg she liked. It’s important to have simple standards for your ideal mate, because when you figure out what you want – like Ann wanted a kid – you will most likely get what you’re looking for.

There’s Always Paris

paris parks

I kind of want this in a tattoo form but not, because it’s too long. Leslie always has a lot on her plate, but somehow she manages it all. She has time to make binders on how to be a garbage woman but also finds time to make a scrapbook about her “Thoughts on Sam Waterston“. So when something extremely stressful comes her way, like being recalled from city council, it’s important to just take a break from it all. We know Leslie loves her job, but it’s important to take a break once in a while. We get so caught up in the millions of things on our to do lists each day that we don’t actually take a chance to breathe and be present and let go of whatever is bothering us. Your trip to Paris doesn’t have to be Paris. Paris can be your favorite park or cafe or a place an hour away to the middle of nowhere. If you have the ability to get away, even for just a brief moment, do it.

Be a Good Person

When Leslie realizes her job is at stake because of her romantic relationship with Ben (and the fact that they bribed the maintenance guy during Lil Sebastian’s funeral to keep quiet), Leslie thinks it’s all over for her. But Ron, in his vast font of knowledge, reminds her that despite the fact she did a frowned upon/illegal thing, it doesn’t make her a bad person. I think this show overall has taught us that there is good in this world, and you can be part of bringing that to real life. Parks never puts anyone down, it inspires and encourages us to be better. We’re human. We make mistakes. But it’s what happens after the fact that shows our true character.

Inspire Yourself

Speaking of being inspirational, while Leslie Knope herself is a great inspiration to us all, she also remind us that often times, the best person to encourage you is yourself. I don’t think Leslie would be half the leader she is today if she never thought she could do it. Yeah, she has to remind herself at times she can reach her goals (“Hey Leslie. It’s Leslie. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.”) Sure, you can have people like Ben around you believing in you and not writing concession speeches, but when Leslie walked out on the stage and gave the speech (as seen above a few paragraphs), she was ultimately the one to give the impassioned statement. No one fed her lines, she went with her gut and her gut made her win.

Feminism Isn’t Just For Women

I am a goddess. a glorious female warrior, queen of all i survey. enemies of fairness and equality, hear my womanly roar. Also men’s rights is nothing.

Johnny Karate’s Rules for Success

I mean, I think that’s pretty self explanatory.

The Only Constant Is Change

Unfortunately, doppelganger Ron has a point. Returning for one of the final episodes, Eagleton Ron shows up like he usually does, out of nowhere, and gives sage advice, like a traveling Yoda who is easier to understand. As we say goodbye to the gang tonight, the gang says goodbye to each other. Ben and Leslie and Andy and April are moving to D.C., Tom’s getting married to Lucy, Donna’s enjoying married life with Joe and moving to Seattle, Ron has his construction company and family to tend to, and Chris and Ann are already off being domestic in Michigan. Oh and Garry’s the mayor (CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT). Despite the fact a lot has happened for the Parks department in the past seven/10 years, it was bound to change sometime. Leslie was always bigger than Pawnee, and while her dreams seemed far away in season one, we realize that it’s time for her to actually achieve those goals. She turned a pit into a playground and now it’s her turn to bring that same goal-oriented talent to D.C. And this show, no matter how much we love it, was bound to have its final episode whether we liked it or not. But we’ll find another show to like and love. Maybe not as much and not in the same way, but we will. We’ll move on. We’ll move up. And we’ll miss you in the saddest fashion.

5,000 Candles in the Wind: Batman is Crying and So Am I

I hate that I’m even saying this, but there are only TWO more episodes before the Parks and Recreation finale. TWO more episodes before we say one last goodbye to Pawnee forever. TWO more episodes before I’m huddled in a corner of my room, swaying back and forth repeating the name ‘Bobby Newport’ and practicing with different inflections, and crying my eyes out.

We all know that Parks is one of the funniest TV shows that’s every graced our screens, but one of the reasons that make Parks one step above the best sitcom is that it has heart. It tugs at our heartstrings and make us feel the feels, and because we’ve already established we’re both criers here, make us sob uncontrollably as if these are real people. So as we prepare for even more tears next week, here are some of our favorite (not favorite?) moments that have made our eye sockets well up with tears over the past seven seasons.

Andy Sings ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ {Season 2, Episode 16}

{at 1:55}

Season One was all about exposition, establishing the characters, and the show finding its footing.  So, the tears didn’t really hit until season two.  April and Andy’s relationship had been building, and by the time Galentine’s Day aired we were all pretty sure they were made for each other. Andy dedicated a Mouserat cover of ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ to April, and I didn’t cry… the first time. But I’m rewatching in preparation for the final episode, and seeing these two at the very start of things really got me. It’s like that part of Our Town when Emily goes back and looks at an ordinary day from when she was alive (IDK, spoiler? It’s from 1938). Things that didn’t seem big at the time were infused with meaning in hindsight. Try watching the little uncomfy, self-conscious look on April’s face right after seeing the scavenger hunt during The Pie-Mary when Andy jokes about April’s crush on him. It’s precious.

April and Andy get married {Season 3, Episode 9}

I love weddings. One of the things I love doing at weddings is looking at the groom as the bride comes down the aisle for the first time. It’s the look Andy has the moment he see his bride-to-be that kills me. Up to this point, Andy is the resident dumb-dumb, and April his Grumpy Cat girlfriend, but in this moment, they’re just a couple in love. And then they high five once April comes face to face with him, and you remember that, sure, they’re a couple in love, but they’re an awesomesauce couple in love. She hates everything but Andy, and he truly means it when he’ll protect her for the rest of their life.

“Let’s just say screw it.” {Season 4, Episode 8}

Leslie and Ben’s “forbidden” romance looked like it had finally come to an end when Leslie decides to run for city council and being in a relationship could put their jobs at risk. But this scene shows just how much Leslie had a gut feeling about her love for Ben – that she was willing to potentially throw her career away in order to get a great love with Ben. Leslie ‘I’m gonna work til I’m 100 then cut back to 4 days a week’ Knope was choosing love over her career. “Let’s just say screw it” held so much more weight for her than it would anyone else.

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*Fun Fact: the store I used to work at is right next to where they built the smallest park, and I creepily got to watch Amy and co. film not one but two eps there through the confines of the window (it’s the two-story building behind them in the clip!). This is the closest I got to taking a pic without the security guard taking me down.

Ben didn’t write a concession speech {Season 4, Episode 22}

Ben: Your victory speech, Councilwoman Knope.
Leslie: Someday, when I’m more emotionally stable, I want to read the concession speech you wrote for me.
Ben: I never wrote it.

Like previously mentioned in last week’s 5,000 Candles post, one of the best things about Ben and Leslie’s relationship is how much they support each other. They encourage each other to go for their dreams, and if it doesn’t go the way they planned, they’ll figure it out. Ben knew in his heart Leslie was going to win city council, and wouldn’t even entertain the idea she would lose. It’s the strong belief in each other that sets them apart and sets me off into tears.

Ben Proposes to Leslie {Season 5, Episode 5}

There’s a chance I was already near tears when Leslie was just looking around that room, and then more when Ben walked in, and then even MORE when Leslie said “what are you doing?” But her reaction – wanting to freeze and remember everything – was so beautiful and perfect and real. And the fact that the ring was in the box from the Knope 2012 button and the Washington Monument? Pow. Right in the tear ducts. Somebody go fetch Amy Poehler that Emmy she deserves, why don’t you?

The Entire Leslie and Ben episode {Season 5, Episode 14}

A lot of my favorite Parks episodes involve plans gone awry. So do a lot of my favorite life moments, when I think about it. There’s something so special about a small, quickly-planned wedding because two people just want to be married instead of a big, orchestrated affair because they want a wedding. So, you know, on concept alone we’re looking at some tears. Then Leslie and Ben’s friends pitch in by making a wedding dress, welding some wedding rings, awaking Ethel Beavers and stealing all of the other marriage licenses so that nobody takes Knope and Wyatt’s thunder. Even Jamm can’t ruin it (did I cry at that part? I can’t remember , but let’s file it as a “probably”). When the wedding moves to the Parks office, and Ron talks to Leslie in the hall, and Donna starts singing, and Ben makes his speech, and Leslie makes HER speech, I watched the entire thing through a heavy veil of tears. I love you and I like you.

Chris and Ann leave Pawnee {Season 6, Episode 13}

The entire Ann and Chris episode had me at a constant tear in eye situation, and then the moment we had been anticipating, when Leslie finally has to say goodbye to Ann, arrived and it’s just as heartbreaking and hopeful as you thought it would be. They exchange simple ‘I love you’, but in their faces, you can tell there’s so much more behind their goodbyes. I mean, just the gif of this makes me cry. And to make matters worse, you know that it’s really Amy and Rashida saying “goodbye” to each other IRL. I have a feeling the finale will be similar.

5,000 Candles in the Wind Reprise at the Unity Concert {Season 6, Episode 22}

After all their hard work to bring the people of Pawnee and Eagleton together, the Unity Concert finally happened. Despite the big act Land Ho! (Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy) being the main attraction, I love that Mouse Rat was the last band to take the stage to perform their hit 5,000 Candles in the Wind, which we last saw them perform together at Lil’ Sebastian’s funeral. But this time, as a viewer who knew the next season would be the last, a song about saying goodbye meant a great deal more. Combine that with everyone that was on that stage – Andy, Ben’s fave band Letters to Cleo, GINUWINE, a hologram Lil’ Sebastian and Duke Silver, who finally revealed himself to the rest of the Parks crew – and Leslie and Ben watching from the front row. It was pure magic.

Ron admits to Leslie he was going to ask her for a job {Season 7, Episode 4}

Does anyone remember that Chicken Soup For The Soul story (I mean I’m just assuming it was from there), where the kid got all pissy at his dad for giving him a Bible for a graduation gift, and stopped talking to him for years, then opened it and found … not sure. A check for a thousand dollars, or the title to a car or something. It was the saddest thing my little sixth-grade self could think of. But even now, one of the saddest things to me is when a person is trying to reach out in kindness to someone else, and the other person doesn’t know it. I spent the first episodes of this season wondering what could have POSSIBLY happened between Leslie and Ron. I assumed it was something work-related, but these two are a couple of softies. They’d never let something like their jobs come between them, it had to be more personal than that. It wasn’t even the conversation itself that got me, it was the idea of Ron spending years thinking that Leslie didn’t really care about him, and vice versa.

April has a heart to (back) with Leslie {Season 7, Episode 8}

Boys crying always makes me cry. So do generally unemotional people getting serious. April acts tough, but she loves Leslie and looks up to her. Like the scene when Leslie says goodbye to Ann, you watch this knowing that this show is about to end, and you’re watching a moment between two characters but you’re watching a moment between the two actors too.

I’m Overly Emotional About Chris Pratt

Earlier this year, Chris Pratt was a guest on one of the final Late Night with Jimmy Fallon episodes before he took over The Tonight Show, and Pratt told the story of the first time they met. When he was first starting out in the business, Pratt got nominated for a Teen Choice Award – and lost – but he also presented a surfboard and did a comedy bit that he didn’t think went over too well. A justifiably disappointed Pratt ran into Jimmy backstage, and Jimmy told him, ‘Great job, man. You were really funny tonight’.

Pratt admitted that the moment meant so much to him since the compliment came from one of the best comedians around and Jimbo cheered him up despite the fact he bombed on stage. He then said something that has stuck with me ever since, and maybe made me (and Jimmy) cry a little. He told Jimmy, “I think you deserve all your success because you were nice to me and nice people deserve success.”

It’s so simple but it’s so true. If you put positive energy and good vibes into the world, it will surely come back to you. And that’s why I’m weirdly proud and happy for Chris Pratt becoming a huge movie star.

Let’s get this out there first – I’m obviously not friends with Pratt IRL. I’m just a Parks and Recreation fan who, like many other fans of the show, have watched this guy turn into a literal superhero. His comedic timing and delivery on Parks has always been on point, and creator Mike Schur will even tell you that Pratt is one of the best improvisers on the show – and this show stars Amy Poehler.

When Pratt got cast in Moneyball, it was exciting for me as a fan to see him in this Oscar-nominated film with BRAD PITT. I mean he was sitting next to Brad in a joint interview on Ellen and I was like – CHRIS PRATT – OF EVERWOOD AND THE OC AND FRIGGIN ANDY DWYER IS SITTING IN BETWEEN ELLEN DEGENERES AND BRAD PITT!!! Crazypants. Then he went on to star in two more Oscar-nominated films, Zero Dark Thirty and Her, and I still got a weird feeling of pride, it was like witnessing a friend on the verge of superstardom.

So in 2011, I went to a TV Academy event for Parks and Rec, where they screen an episode and most of the cast is there to talk about the show and convince Academy members to vote for them in the Emmys. After the panel, the actors usually stick around to take pix and and sign autographs for the fans, and that, kids, is how I met Chris Pratt.

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I usually prep myself with like one thing to tell celebs when I meet them, and my point of discussion with Pratt was that I was looking forward to seeing the film What’s Your Number, which he filmed in Boston (seriously guys, I love that movie. Half-naked Chris Evans? What’s not to love?). I told him I went to school there and he started going on and on about how he loved Boston and how excited he was for the movie, and just conversing with me as if we were having a coffee date. I was thinking in my head, ‘Um, there is LIT’RALLY a line of people waiting to take a pic with you, but you just want to chat with me forever? Okay.’ He was so down to earth, and legit one of, if not the nicest, celebrities I’ve ever met, and I will always remember that about him.

Fast forward to present day, where Chris Pratt, a super jacked, funny and charming motherfucker is seemingly everywhere thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy. To many who didn’t know him before the lead in Marvel’s latest film, it was like he became an overnight sensation. I mean it made $160 million in the worldwide box office – that’s a lot of people who have seen Pratt’s abs and had no idea he looked like this at one point:

This one role has made him a MOVIE STAR in every sense of the word, and next year, I’m assuming he’ll become even bigger thanks to Jurassic World. And then, you know, the GotG sequel, etc. etc.

But one thing for sure is that fame won’t get to his head. He hasn’t let it so far and I don’t think he ever will. In all his interviews over the past few weeks, you can tell he’s still the same guy that started out as Bright Abbott or the lovable golden labrador retriever that is Andy Dwyer. He knows how lucky he is to go from living in a van in Hawaii to eventually becoming Star Lord. He can dominate a red (blue) carpet one day

and be extremely happy his wife is making him tater tots the next.

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So seeing Pratt receive all this attention and acclaim has kind of made me (irrationally?) emotional for someone I just met once. But doesn’t that say something in and of itself? That a 2 minute interaction would have such an impact on a fan that it makes her tear up when he gets a rousing round of applause as walks on stage for an interview with Letterman? Maybe I’m too emotional or maybe I’m too obsessed with Parks, but I believe that this is just the beginning of Chris Pratt’s long, successful career. He deserves all his success because he was so nice to me and nice people deserve success.