Tag Archives: parks and recreation

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 30: How Parks and Recreation Inspires Me

Parks and Recreation will always hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. It has such a dedication to its persistent sunny optimism that it will always bring a smile to my face, even on my worst days. But the show is so much more than just cheerful characters having good things happen to them. They grow and evolve into deeper people that aren’t just caricatures of themselves. I was actually talking to a friend about this recently: how, in so many comedies, the characters more often than not devolve into more simplistic versions of themselves (i.e. the funny one, or the neurotic one, or the one with that one catchphrase). There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that – and I love me some easy-to-digest brain candy as much as the next guy – but that isn’t what keeps people coming back to stories. It’s about the journey.

And as a writer, Parks and Rec definitely inspires me to create characters that are willing to change as they experience their lives. Take Ron, for example: at the core, he’s still the libertarian who’s obsessed with privacy and self-reliance, but he allows himself to become interconnected with the people around him, even involving himself in things that Season One Ron wouldn’t have even considered, such as writing a will so his children would not be left destitute should he pass on too early. Or look at April, who is disinterested in everything around her at the beginning of the series but, by the end of the series, takes action to be involved with something that provides her the fulfillment she so desires. I know there were plenty of people that were dissatisfied with her character arc, saying she just became another cog in the machine instead of remaining her off-putting, overly chaotic self that she was in her teens and early twenties. But she grew up, realizing that sabotaging everything for entertainment purposes and becoming a part of a team wasn’t this moratorium on being true to herself. It was just so beautifully to watch the carefully planned evolution of fictional people that you care about, and I want to create characters like that.

And that, my friends, concludes this challenge. And OMG, tomorrow is December 1st. Jesus. I haven’t even started buying Christmas presents yet! Well, anyway, stay tuned for some supplemental character posts, and I may even throw up some info about my current writing project! Stay frosty, everybody!

Art Credit: Reppiced

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 29: Favorite Tom Moment

Tom Haverford is probably the character that changes the most over the course of seven season of Parks and Rec. I mean, he is still obsessed with being a “baller.” Can I say that without sounding tremendously white? I don’t think I can. Anyway, as I’ll get into on my Tom supplemental post (that’ll be coming sometime in the next couple of months, depending on how busy I am in the present-buying), he starts off as this bored government worker but turns into this motivated self-starter that just keeps going no matter what obstacles get in his way, like a metrosexual human version of the Dory song from Finding Nemo. I remember people fawning over him during the first couple of seasons, but I was more annoyed by him in an Ann-like fashion, but once he got the opportunity to use his god-given talents, I was sold. And it didn’t hurt that I liked Aziz Ansari at the time.

That being said, my absolute favorite moment of Tom’s was when he was going over all the abbreviations he gives everyday words.

Tom Haverford, a man of Indian descent wearing a black suit jacket and tie and white button down shirt, is sitting in front of a wildlife wallpaper. He states the following: "Serts" are what I call desserts. "Tray trays" are entrees. I call sandwiches "sammies," "sandoozles," or "Adam Sandlers." Air conditioners are "cool blasterz" with a "z." I don't know where that came from. I call cakes "big old cookies." I call noodles "long ass rice." Fried chicken is "fry fry chicky chick." Chicken parm is "chicky-chicky parm-parm." Chicken cacciatore is "chicky catch." I call eggs "pre-birds" or "future birds." Root beer is "super water." Tortillas are "bean blankies." And I call forks "food rakes."

I will happily admit that I’ve adopted a few of these because who in the hell wouldn’t?? I know there are plenty of other scenes and moments that I could have picked, but is the moment when I realized I loved how Aziz Ansari played Tom. He was fully dedicated to this poser that, in reality, was just trying to be Not Garry, which becomes way more apparent as the series progresses.

Art Credit: Reppiced, It’s Your Destinee

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 28: Favorite Ron Moment

Almost every nugget of Nick Offerman is a shining diamond, and I am having such a hard time narrowing it down to one. So I’m not gonna. I’m just going to leave a bunch of gifs and watch them in awe.

Okay, I’d better stop here, or else all you will see is essentially every single instance in which Ron Swanson was on the screen. It’d be worth it, but you probably have a life outside of reading this, so … you’re welcome, on both counts.

Art Credit: Reppiced, E! News, Know Your Meme, Giphy, Bustle, Phish.net, HuffPost

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 27: Favorite Leslie Moment

In a similar manner to Chris Traeger, Leslie Knope is so much more relatable when she is not necessarily on her A-game, and luckily, we get to see that side of her more often than we do with Chris. I mean, she is the main character, after all.

My favorite not-perfect moment from Leslie comes at the tail end of “Camping,” the episode following the wildly successful Harvest Festival. This leaves Leslie feeling overwhelmed and worried that she reached her peak because she can’t think of her next great money-making event. The entire crew is dragged out camping – most against their will – and forced to “bond” and come up with their own ideas, which obviously works out well for all parties involved (that is sarcasm). Ron ends up locking Leslie in a room at a creepy bed and breakfast, where she takes a nap and rushes into a meeting the next morning with Chris and Ben with a list of great options for them to choose from.

And then this happens:

It’s little, short scenes like this one that remind you that these (fictional) people are just like us. I could totally see myself having this reaction to my own morning breath, and well, I have. It was not pleasant. Believe me.

Art Credit: Reppiced, Pop Sugar

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 26: Favorite Garry Moment

It would be ridiculously easy to just pick one of the many times Garry fucks up throughout the show because I feel like Parks and Rec could have just as easily been the “Garry Fucks Up” documentary series, but none of these are even close to my favorite. Plus, it doesn’t fit with my theme of STOP BEING A DICK TO GARRY that I’ve dedicated myself to for the past 26 days, so instead, I’m going with one of the sweetest interactions of seven seasons.

Donna always seemed to have a soft spot for ol’ Garry, even while she was making fun of him and especially near the end of the series. At her wedding to Joe, she has his real name on his place setting, which results in April mocking him for having yet another name. Donna and Garry have the above shown wordless moment of, “I see you,” and it brings tears to my eyes. He is just so delighted that everyone will be calling him by his real name, and her loving wink is just so … gaahhhh. I wish there were more moments like this for Garry in Parks and Rec.

Art Credit: Reppiced, Giphy

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 25: Favorite Donna Moment

I truly love Donna with every fiber of my being. She’s smart, complex, talented, confident, and beautiful, and she steals every scene she’s in. Sadly, there aren’t many gifs of my two favorite Donna moments – no, I could not eliminate one of them – but I do have screenshots!

After Chris Traeger takes over as city manager, he makes a lot of changes in the parks department, as evidenced by Ron’s hellish circular desk (and lack of an office) and Donna’s supposedly ergonomic keyboard. Her response, especially the made-up word “perflipifsclump,” still makes me laugh, even when I’m not watching. Just remembering the exasperated expression on her face as she pleads with Ron to talk to Chris about his “modifications*” brings out the giggles.

If you can’t read the text, it says, “This spaceship keyboard is driving me crazy. I’m down to one word a minute, and the word is PERFLIPIFSCLUMP because I can’t. Fly. Spaceships.”

Annabel Porter is such a hilarious character**, and any time she graces the screen, it’s bound to have an aura of pure pretentiousness. For the uninitiated, Annabel was the face of the Eagletonian phone book who went to LA to be a model or actress (can’t remember which) but ended up befriending a bunch of celebrities and creating her own lifestyle brand called Bloosh. When the lovely Ms. Porter invites Ron to one of her Bloosh parties, Donna and Tom join him, but it’s Donna’s impeccable style and reactions to the absurdities surrounding her:

Donna completely understands that everything at this party is ludicrous and is only there to 1) mingle with celebrities and 2) support Ron. This is one of the major differences between Tom and Donna; while Tom soaks in the luxe lifestyle so as to puff up his ego, Donna simply revels in the drama of it all. Sure, she likes nice things, but she will gladly bankroll April to sign up for sommelier certification or secretly admit that she wants her estranged brother Lavondrius at her wedding. She just wants to see shit go down. This is why I 100% believe Donna and I would be friends; shit just sort of happens around me, and she would enjoy the hell out of the show.

Art Credit: Reppiced, Tumblr, Painting Pawnee

* They include moving Tom up to the 4th floor to file with Andy but with no one to impress, placing Garry in a more prominent role, forcing April to be the assistant to everyone, and getting rid of Ron’s four walls and putting him in the very center of the parks office. It was a disaster. 

** My favorite quote of hers is in regards to Joan Callamezzo complimenting her hair: “Thank you. It’s genetic and unattainable.” 

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 24: Favorite Chris Moment

The best version of Chris Traeger is the vulnerable Chris Traeger, and I will fight you on that. His struggles with mental illness just felt so real, and I could identify with that, not his Perfection Incarnate version. I think that’s why Ann had such a hard time dating him; he put on such a great performance with his dedication to fitness and impeccable features and wardrobe that it was so hard to see below the surface.

When that facade is taken away, however, both Ann and the audience (e.g. me) are able to see the human side of him, and that’s why the following is my favorite Chris moment:

Humanizing Chris in Season Three’s “Flu Season” was the best thing the show could have ever done for the character, and I love that they continued this trend, including his struggles with depression and then his self-doubt concerning fatherhood. I almost picked the scene from Season Six where he admits his anxiety over becoming a dad has kept him awake for over 50 hours, but this one won out because I spent nearly ten minutes laughing over his commandment to himself to “stop pooping.” I am mature, I promise.

Art Credit: Reppiced, Buzzfeed

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 23: Favorite Ben Moment

Any time Adam Scott reacts into the camera, it brings me such joy. The other actors do this, as well, but his incredulous expressions are just so reminiscent of my own internal – and often external, because I cannot hide them – reactions to the ridiculous shit that other human beings do. His observations of current situations when being interviewed by the “reality show crew” are also essentially me in a nutshell, such as after he moves in with April and Andy.

He finds them ill-prepared adults who don’t even have a bank account. Out of pity for their lack of plates – they were using Frisbees – he gives them cash to go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond for the Essentials of Adulting, which brings us to the quintessential Ben Wyatt moment.

Back when I worked at a recreational center, I actually had the chance to use this sentence when two teenagers came up to the desk to check out racquetball equipment. As one of the trainers was standing next to me, filling out paperwork, one of the teenagers asked me if he absolutely had to wear goggles, and I explained that, yes, due to safety reasons, he did have to wear them, but he countered that the ball was rubber so it wouldn’t hurt if it made contact. As if a chaos god struck him with lightning, he bounced the ball hard on the floor, and it flew back up and promptly smacked him in the eye. Both teenagers then sheepishly took the goggles and walked off. As soon as they were out of earshot, I muttered the above line, which the trainer found absolutely hilarious.

Art Credit: Reppiced, Degrassi Wiki

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 22: Favorite April Moment

After Tom, who I’ll cover at the end of the month, April changes the most throughout Parks and Recreation. Aubrey Plaza plays her so naturally that seeing her mature into the weird adult she becomes doesn’t seem at all out of place. Plus, she rabidly holds onto her edge in later seasons, as shown by my two favorite moments:

I absolutely love this scene from Season Four, where she and Andy are hosting a debate party for Leslie’s campaign donors. They’re known for their roleplaying, and the characters shine here as they mock the very wealthy people they are supposed to be courting. April’s fake laugh is one of the best moments in the episode, right after Andy ending his sentence with, “The economy?” God, I love that scene so much.

And then there’s the time when Ben believes he has an idea of what is going on in April’s head, to which she says, “Well, welcome to the terror dome,” which is more or less exactly how I would assume April’s brain works, and by extension Aubrey Plaza’s. More often than not, I find Ann most accurately sums me up, but in moments like these, I just yell, “OMG YES” at the screen. My mind is an annoyingly clogged up space, where I have a mixture of random pop culture references that no one gets, story ideas, anxiety, depression, a mutual flight/fight/befriend response to interacting with humans, and cat pictures. So basically: Terror Dome.

Art Credit: Reppiced, Monica Mary Moser, The Frisky

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 21: Favorite Ann Moment

Normally, pregnancy storylines bore me because we know all the moments that are going to be touched on:

  • Finding out the sex of the baby
  • Random crying because hormones
  • How life will change once the baby comes
  • Names
  • I’m getting fat. Will you still like me? 

Feel free to add as many other milestones you can think of to that list, which is obviously not exhaustive. It’s a big reason that I was appreciative of the time jump in Parks and Rec‘s Season 7; the triplets are now toddlers and only minor parts of the show, so we could still focus on the major characters.

That being said, though, my favorite Ann moment happens in the middle of her pregnancy, as she rants to the Whine and Cheese Club about literally everything and it is amazing. Apparently, the video I wanted to use is not available due to copyright laws, but here’s the entire tirade:

I can’t have cheese, Larry! And I can’t have wine, either. I can’t have anything good. You know, what I can have is liquefied flax seed. But I don’t want that. You know what I want? Pork rinds. I want jelly beans. And I want a huge trash bag filled with mashed potatoes. I want to be Pac-Man, and instead of dots, I want them to be cinnamon buns. I want to be a giant head and a mouth, and I just want to eat rows and rows of junk food pellets, and where’s my trash bag of potatoes?!

Runner Up: When she misread Chris’ intentions regarding their relationship for a second time:

Art Credit: Reppiced, Head Over Heels, Buzzfeed