TV Corner: Parks and Rec

[Content Note: Fat hatred; bullying. Spoilers are catching the redeye to London herein...]

image of Ron Swanson reading from a small journal atop a Scottish cliffside

Parks and Recreation returned last night, and (almost) everyone had something going on: Leslie won an award for which April nominated her; Ron and Diane are married and having a baby; Ann and Chris are not married and having a baby; Ben and Andy are having success with the Sweetums nonprofit; Tom is fighting The Fonz to save his business; and (almost) everyone went to London to see Leslie get her big award. Huzzah!

There were some great moments in this episode, and of course I totally cried my face off when Ron sat on the Scottish cliff, reading a Rabbie Burns poem.

But, I have to be honest: The show has lost something for me. I miss Leslie's and Ann's friendship, which used to be central to the show. I cringed at Leslie ranting about the complainy fatties in Pawnee "clinging to their fried dough and sodas." I can't take the Jerry bullying anymore. (And what was that suckling baby face? Nope.) The writers kept promising, after lots of folks complained, that the Jerry bullying was going to be addressed, implying it would be resolved, ended. But that hasn't happened. We got an episode where he had a heart attack and the people he's super nice to all the time were nice to him for two seconds before going right back to bullying him.

It's a weird thing, because I enjoy some other shows that are more problematic in more ways than Parks and Rec is. Which maybe doesn't seem fair. But I expect more of Parks and Rec, because I know it can deliver more.

It's fundamentally a show about earnest people who have flaws and fuck up but are still essentially kind. I don't want or expect Leslie Knope to be perfect, but I don't want her to be a fat-hating jerk who's mean to her loyal coworker and friend, either.

And as much as I love (and I really do love!) the relationship between Leslie and April, I miss the relationship between Leslie and Ann. I never expected Parks and Rec to be a show that didn't make room for two female friendships.

Anyway. What did you think? Did you love it? If you loved it, I am genuinely glad for you! Yay! Did you have some problems with it? Same as mine, or different ones? Let the discussion commence!

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