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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Emmy Awards 2015 – Best and Worst Dressed

It’s been a while, but we’re back in awards show mode, and what better way to kick it off than with the ceremony where all our favorite TV stars unite! Last night, we saw some gowns to die for and gowns that should maybe just… die. Since we’re considered fashion experts (amateurs) (no one’s every called us that), we’re doing something that no one else is going today and picking our best and worst dressed celebrities from last night. Did your faves make the cut? Pun intended.

Best Dressed

Traci’s Picks
Elisabeth Moss in Oscar de la Renta

This dress is obviously super simple, but I love that it’s tailor ed to her body, which gives it that extra detail. Also, with a bright color like this (which I love), it doesn’t need much more accessory-wise. Elisabeth was styled perfectly with the hair, makeup, simple studs, and minimal jewels.

Zoe Kazan in Miu Miu

Ok, so this isn’t necessarily an “Emmy Dress”, per se, but I love it. It’s flowy and perfect for the scorching LA heat, and red, from head to toe, looks great on her.

Aubrey Plaza in Alexander Vauthier

It was kind of hard to tell in most pictures, but Aubrey’s dress is actually accented with burgundy jewels, which is why I love it. The low cut neckline and high cut slit show just enough skin. And again, she’s styled perfectly since the dress is a statement in itself, with minimal jewels and a gorge bob haircut. She’s even smiling!

Ellie Kemper in Naeem Kahn

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but Ellie Kemper is a low key red carpet goddess. She rarely fails when it comes to picking gowns for these shows, and she didn’t fail last night. The colors in the dress are mesmerizing, and the asymmetrical lines give it just enough edge. Christina Hendricks also donned a similar Naeem Kahn dress, but Ellie edged her out just a bit.

Emma Roberts in Jenny Packham

Ok, so Emma’s face isn’t great here. However, she went for an old Hollywood look, and just nailed it. Yet again, it’s hard to tell in this photo, but the dress is more of a shimmery gold, which is on point for the occasion. The skirt flowed behind her when she walked, and was the perfect pairing with her golden curls.

Honorable Mentions: Nancy O’Dell in her own co-design with Evine Live, Allison Janney in Labourjoisie, Tituss Burgess in Bonobos, Cat Deeley (and fetus) in Monique Lhuillier
Molly’s Picks
Amy Poehler In Michael Kors

First of all, love this golden brown hair color on her – more natural and complimentary to her skin tone than platinum blonde or gingery red.  Amy almost always kills it on the red carpet, and I’m always a fan of formalwear that incorporates a non-tacky midriff. The bangles are fun and youthful, perfect for someone who doesn’t take this awards show thing TOO too seriously.

Tatiana Maslany In Bouchra Jarrar


It took the Emmys a VERY long time to notice Tatiana Maslany. Orphan Black may be a huge cult hit but a lot of people don’t know about it, or the actress behind the clones. I’m sure Tatiana was well aware that last night was her shot to make an impression, and this suit did just that. The looser fit was a bit of a gamble – usually on the rare occasion that a woman wears a suit on the red carpet, the pants are impeccably tailored and crisp. I’d call this one a risk that paid off.

Jon Hamm

Not only am I breaking my “suits and tuxes are too boring to be Best Dressed” rule, I’m breaking it twice. It’s just that Jon Hamm wears formal attire so well. Yes, tuxes and suits are not half as fussy or uncomfy as even the most comfortable gown, but a lot of men still manage to look sort of stiff and unnatural in them. Jon, however, looks like he has been wearing a tuxedo on the daily since he was a toddler. I’m also loving these throwback narrow lapels we’ve been seeing for the past several years – so much better than those schlubby, boxy 90s tuxedos. The tailoring is perfect here.

Kerry Washington In Marc Jacobs

Kerry Washington is one of those people who is SO gorgeous and wears clothes SO well that she often takes red carpet risks … which sometimes can fall flat or overpower her. So I was delighted to see this metallic chain mail piece that is a tad offbeat but, with the relatively simple and not too clingy cut, isn’t too over the top either. That said, the dress and shoes both must be uncomfy as hell and I can’t even imagine.

Gina Rodriguez in Lorena Sarbu


She looks like an angel. More runway-type, concept-y gowns don’t always work on the Red Carpet (see: Kerry Washington) but Gina looks like a dream and I swear we’re going to start watching Jane The Virgin. It can be very hard to wear white without looking like a bride or a girl at a really nice quince, and the mixed textures are what keeps it out of that arena. Love the pop of color with the clutch.

Honorable Mention: Teyonah Parris, wearing a great polka dot gown that would be very hard to pull off for anyone less adorable than Teyonah Parris.

Worst Dressed

Traci’s Picks
Heidi Klum in Versace

It’s always disappointing and a lil second hand embarrassment when a supermodel/fashion icon fails on the red carpet. It’s like she picked a 10th place finisher’s design from Project Runway.

Sophie Turner in Galvan

Guys, I know the 90s are back and all, but I’m still not on board with velour.

Jaimie Alexander in Armani Prive

I… just don’t get it.

Joanna Newsom in Delpozo

I really, really, really think these two are super adorable to the point I want to vom, but honey sweetie. The front of this dress. Joanna’s style is usually left of center, but I can’t get on board with this. Love you two, though.

Edie Falco in Prada

90% of the time, pleats are no good. This gown is included in that percentage. Also, the rando flower embroideries are confusing, and the fit just doesn’t show off Edie’s form. She can do much better, as evidenced from Emmys past.

Kathryn Hahn in Vivienne Westwood

I think Kathryn Hahn is one of the most underrated and underappreciated actresses in the biz. That being said, what is even happening here.

Molly’s Picks:
Tracee Ellis Ross in Zac Posen

Tracee has great hair (I mean, she is destined for great hair), and her face and skin are wonderful too. The general silhouette of the dress is fine, although I am never into that kind of bodice and I don’t like the cutouts on the skirt. So I think what I don’t like is the combination of that sweetly pink color with the glossy fabric – all I can think is Galinda from Wicked.

Taryn Manning in Rubin Singer

Maybe this isn’t a technically bad dress, I’m just over the Angelina Jolie/ Morticia Addams/ Theda Bara thing. It’s also hard to pull off unless impeccably styled, and her hair looks like a Delia*s-era Sun In and Wet Look combo.

Alan Cumming in Vivienne Westwood

This is so silly that I actually find it delightful. He looks like an old-time jolly chimney sweep who’s gettin’ married in the morning. The tie, the chain, the umbrella, the pocket square, the giant pants — I find it so joyful and fun that I almost want to put it on best dressed, I just know that it isn’t technically “good.”

Julianne Hough In Marchesa

It almost doesn’t seem fair judging reality tv people on the red carpet, because it seems like they’re in a whole different universe. It is something I would probably LOVE on the runway, or in Swan Lake, I just don’t like if for the red carpet.

Dascha Polanco in Leanne Marshall


If you were one of the good kids in school, do you remember how you would get in trouble if you made the slightest peep in class, because the teachers had grown to expect more of you? That’s how I feel about this dress. On anyone else I would probably just think “Okay, not my favorite” and move on, but I’ve come to love Dascha’s style so much that I’m surprised I don’t like this one. I do love the sunny yellow on her, I think I just hate this new trend of the super short opaque skirt with a sheer gown over it. I think they look silly now, but I think everyone will think they look silly when they look back in a few years.

Dishonorable mention: January Jones in Ulyana Sergeenco (only because I’m so used to LOVING whatever she wears).

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}

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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.

All Hail The Queen: Famous People On Amy Poehler

Happy Amy Poehler Day! In celebration of the birthday of our favorite comedienne/life guru/producer/queen, we offer a collection of things other celebrities have said about Amy. After all, the best way to know that a person is awesome is if everyone who knows them says so (but let’s be real, those opinions hold a lot more weight coming from a famous person. No offense to your non-famous friends; sure they’re great). In case you’re wondering, the second-best way is for the person to just straight-up tell everyone that they’re awesome. Or, I guess just to consistently be fantastic and see if people catch on. poehler

Let’s take this September 16 to remind ourselves to live in such a way that this is how people talk about us behind our backs:

Aziz Ansari

I have found that she is as kind and caring a person as she is hilarious. Simply put, Amy Poehler is my hero.

Vanessa Bayer (describing her first night on SNL):

Yeah, I was so emotional. I started tearing up. It was so surreal. I actually stayed on stage because I wanted to hug Amy Poehler. She was the host that week, and I wanted to thank her because she was such a wonderful person to work with. So I gave her a hug, and I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I said something like, ‘It was amazing to do my first show with you,’ and she held my hand and walked offstage with me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. She was so kind and generous.

Matt Besser:

These days you don’t think of Amy as a female comedian, you just think of her as a comedian, and I think that’s a plus. And she didn’t go for that whole notion that women are not treated fairly. She was just like “I’m just going to do my best and not give a shit,” and it worked. She didn’t care about being pretty and dainty on stage, or charming, or all those things you might say about a successful sitcom actress, a prototypical one. She could be weird or nasty or ugly or whatever. Those are things that guys more typically do. But really it’s what a comedian should do and that’s why she is.

Rachel Dratch (when asked about the “inordinate” amount of page space devoted to Amy Poehler in her book, Girl Walks Into A Bar):

I guess she just has a good aura. People gravitate to it. She’s very supportive and she’s got a good combo of being cool enough that she’s one of the guys, but she’s also sensitive and wise.

Tina Fey (in Bossypants, a book that was a decoy answer on Million Second Quiz this week. If you’re reading this more than 2 months in the future, maybe Google what that was. Jimmy Fallon objected to a gross bit Amy was doing and she totally shut him down):

With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it. I was so happy. Weirdly, I remember thinking, ‘My friend is here! My friend is here!’ Even though things had been going great for me at the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.

Kathryn Hahn

It all starts with [Amy] Poehler. She’s such an incredible number one to have on a contact sheet, on a cast list. Cream just rises. She’s such a stud and such a nice person. She’s a goddess. I worshipped her before, and I worship her even more after seeing how she behaves on a set

Mamrie Hart:

I love women with balls, and Amy’s got the biggest sack swinging in Hollywood at the moment. She really doesn’t give a shit if people don’t agree with her on a subject.

Rashida Jones:

I would go gay for her. It doesn’t seem fair that I get to work with her. I love her unconditionally.

Mindy Kaling (describing the time during her brief, not-awesome guest writing gig on SNL when Amy made her come out with the other writers and actors):

But when this popular, pretty genius made this kind gesture to me? That’s the moment I started adoring Amy Poehler. She knew I was going to be a coward, and she was going to have to gently facilitate me into being social… When I said something even a little bit funny, Amy cackled warmly. (This sounds weird, but that’s the best way I know to describe Amy Poehler’s laugh: a warm, intoxicating cackle.)

Seth Meyers:

  • We started together on the same day and we just hit it off right away. On our fourth show, we did this scene called “Little Sleuths”—they were like Encyclopedia Brown solving real murders—and we thought it was going to be this big franchise and were already seeing the Little Sleuths action figures in the NBC Experience Store. It got cut from dress, like, five times and it never aired again. We always said that the one case the Little Sleuths couldn’t solve is what the fuck happened to the Little Sleuths.
  • She’s this incredible combination of warm, silly, and smart, which I think makes her such an engaging performer… There’s just no meanness to anything Poehler does. Her outlook and attitude about how to work, and how to be funny, are contagious.

Nick Offerman (referencing multiple FNL characters in a transparent and successful attempt to make me fall in love with him):

I met Amy in the early 90′s and she is like a superhero mixed with both Coach and Tammie Taylor from FNL, as well as Tim Riggins and a little Landry.

Jim O’Heir (while campaigning for Amy as Best Lead Actress In A Comedy Series):

Amy’s awesome. Yeah. You know, I guess when you get the most lines on the show, you get nominated for awards. Put another one on her shelf… How about someone saying Hey Jim, How’s it been for you, Jim? Amy’s awesome. And I’m rooting for her to get that Emmy. I hope you win… you son of a bitch.

Aubrey Plaza:

She’s already kind of my girlfriend, and I’m not saying that in a jokey way. We had a moment last year, late at night, when we decided we were gonna end up together. For now, we have to let boys come and go, but we’re kind of in love.

 Bill Poehler (Amy’s dad):

She would just jump in and succeed or fail—it wouldn’t matter. Once, in the fourth grade, the principal was on stage and he had the mike up high. Then little Amy walks across, goes up to the mike, grabs the little knob, twists it, pulls it down, and I said to myself, Oh my God, she has no stage fright whatsoever.

 Eileen Poehler (Amy’s mom):

We recently went to “Parks and Rec,” and our biggest thrill is hearing how much the crew, from the girl who cleans the trailer to the driver to the director, like working with Amy. How good she is to everyone. She’s the same girl. We’re really proud of that.

Chris Pratt:

I disagree that talented people are nice to be around. No. I’m serious. Especially when they’re number one on the call sheet. It’s the truth. Most of time when someone is really talented and they’re the top dog actor, the first name that comes up on the screen, basically, Amy’s position on this, they’re not always nice. And the fact that you are, and the fact that you made everybody feel good, and you always laugh at jokes, I’ve never seen you in a bad mood, it all rolls down hill. This whole family vibe and everyone getting along well, it comes from you. It has always come from you.

Maya Rudolph:

If you go to eat with Amy, it’s like, “Alright, let’s order. Does everybody know what they are going to get?” She’s in charge, she’s the leader, she’s like, “We’re not wasting any time, let’s do this.” And in the most loving way, I can say, she’s incredibly bossy. And I fucking love that about her. And I love the combination of the fact that she is a teeny tiny person and she’s really tough.

Retta:

Well, Mike Schur is the boss, but we call Amy our fearless leader. I think whoever the lead of the show is dictates what the set is like. Amy is always planning nights out for us. She’s just so cool, she’s not a diva. English directors when they come in want to do tons and tons of takes. And I can tell she wants to wrap it up but she just says “sure” because she wants them to be comfortable.

Andy Samberg:

Amy is beloved by all. That’s her secret move. No one doesn’t like her… I came in when Amy was kind of in the middle of her run. I would say her and Seth, maybe more than anyone, really looked out for me and took me under their wing and made sure I was doing OK.

Michael Schur:

There is exactly one thing in the entire range of acting that Amy Poehler does not do well: impressions. So we make her do them constantly.

Adam Scott

It was intimidating at first, but she’s so cool and down to earth, that it immediately went away. Still, when I’m working with her, I’m, you know, taken aback by how good she is and how hilarious she is and quick and all of that. It sounds kind of lame to say, but I do learn from her a lot, you know, when we’re working together. She would think that’s lame, but it is true that I’m kind of in awe of how great she is.

Mike Scully

Amy Poehler is the funniest person on TV, period. The fact that she’s the nicest is a bonus.

Emily Spivey

Amy’s a hero. I cannot think of anyone who’s done more, in my opinion, in front of the camera and behind the scenes for ladies than Amy. If I could make a lady comedy flag, it would have Amy Poehler’s face on it. She’s just amazing. She’s a little blond girl, but she’s gonna fucking get this done. And everyone’s in love with Amy. She has a way just making everyone- boys and girls- feel so comfortable and confident in not only what she’s doing but what they’re doing.

Taylor Swift (on Poehler’s shortcomings as a human being in general):

There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.

Casey Wilson:

Amy Poehler’s like a cheerleader—kind of like a mama bear. She wanted the other women to succeed and that’s trickled down to Kristen, and then trickled down to me. I think people want there to be some sort of feud or tension, but it’s like “Why can only one of us do well?” One time I remember we were doing a “Mad Men” sketch, and I was playing the redhead. And I had a funny bit where basically I came in and dropped off some papers, but I didn’t have a line. It wasn’t even Amy’s sketch, but she piped up and said to the writers, “Let’s give Casey a funny line when she comes in.” She didn’t have to do that.