Hardest Goodbyes

Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite sitcoms, purely because it has always made me happy. When I first started watching I actually laughed out loud, instead of just passively thinking the jokes are funny like I do with most sitcoms. If a show can get an audible laugh out of me, that is how I know it is gold. Parks and Recreation is also something refreshing in modern society. With the nastiness of the political election, we all need Leslie Knope. She is full of all these amazing characteristics, and she makes you believe that deep down everyone is capable of good. I think, if the show was still on, it would provide interesting material related to the current political situation. Imagining Leslie Knope debating with a Donald Trump-esque character is almost too good.

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Still from Parks and Recreation Season 6, Episode 12, “Ann and Chris.”

Among other reasons, I was devastated when the show ended. I felt that seven season was too short. The show ending felt like a friend moving away. When the characters of Ann and Chris left the show in the middle of season six, the viewer can almost sense the inevitable close of the series. Sitcoms are typically so consistent with their casts. Main characters always turn back up week after week. They don’t die off like they would in a Shonda Rhimes drama, but maybe that is what makes me vulnerable when I watch a sitcom. I expect everyone to die in Grey’s Anatomy, but I feel equally, if not more, devastated when a character simply leaves a sitcom. For instance, when Micheal Scott leaves The Office? Heartbreaking. When you grow attached to a series, the show feels like your own constructed family. Rachel Green pursuing her love for fashion and shopping in Friends resonated with me, and I felt like she was my friend too. When I finished Friends, I felt like that friend left. Perhaps it is because when we fully finish a sitcom, we realize it was not actually real. The characters never existed and the action never happened. Depressing right? Thankfully we have Netflix to make it so we never fully have to say goodbye.

by: Andrew Guido

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7 Responses to Hardest Goodbyes

  1. mediaphiles says:

    It’s always hard for me to watch a show end in any instance. It is like you have been through that journey with them and that journey is coming to an end. Becoming emotionally attached to a show is extremely difficult because you had the chance to know these characters and be a part of their lives. I love Parks and Rec and also agree with your point about if it was still on today, then the series would touch upon the current election. Parks and Rec also had an episode where they featured political figures such as Joe Biden, Corey Booker, and John McCain, which was a very exciting episode to see considering the fact that individuals from each party came together and socialized in a comedic fashion. -Shelby Halliman

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Not going to lie, when I finished Friends for the first time I sobbed. Sobbed. I completely agree with what you said–I felt like a best friend moved away. The feeling quickly vanished, however, as I realized that I could simply restart the whole series. 4 rounds of Friends later, I no longer get upset about finishing the series again. There’s something about each particular show that simply cannot be replicated by another show. I think the reason our generation feels so deeply for our chosen shows is because we strongly identify with their characters and scenarios.

    -Sam Moore

  3. mediaphiles says:

    Parks and Recreation does such a great job of making you feel connected to the characters. Other shows have succeeded at this as well, but I feel like none did quite as well. The Office had a lot of lovable characters, but also had some you disliked (Angela, Andy at the end) or felt apathetic towards (Stanley, Meredith, the season 9 additions). Every character on Parks and Rec is totally lovable to the core. You get so familiar with the characters that you feel like you actually know them and are friends with them rather than simply watching them on a screen. You get attached to them, invested in their happiness. And though the series finale was total unabashed wish-fulfillment, it was one of the best series finales I’ve ever seen because that’s exactly what I and every other fan of the show wanted. The show creates a sense of friendship and camaraderie that welcomes viewers to participate and be a part of it all.

    –Kevin Pabst

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I feel like sitcoms have become more consistent with their casts, though Parks and Recreation actually lost someone at the end of season 2: Mark Brendanawicz. It happened so early in the series that it is easy to forget, especially because he and Ann Perkins filled the same role in the show (which Ben Wyatt would later fill in a more fulfilling way than either). I love Parks and Recreation. I watched the last couple seasons as they aired week to week, so I felt the loss of Leslie Knope and company as well. They did feel like friends, as most great sitcom characters do. – Max Dosser

  5. mediaphiles says:

    Goodbyes are the hardest to get over because you know it is unlikely you will ever have the same relationship with that person again, if you even see them in person again. Whenever I finish a really good anime I always feel sad because it is like I am saying goodbye to the characters I have fallen in love with. It is even harder to say goodbye when there are 5 season or more, as long as more doesn’t entail the show losing quality. Or like in Psych when Jules and Shawn move away, too sad.

    -turner arrington

  6. mediaphiles says:

    Saying goodbye to your favorite show is always difficult. While Parks and Rec is one of my favorite shows and I wish it could go on forever, I do think that the last few seasons were drawn out and overly dramatized. I wish that it had ended on a better note, because I felt that I watched the last season out of obligation. In reference to Leslie debating with a Donald Trump-like character, I think that in some ways the political debates between Leslie and Bobby Newport are similar. Leslie is forced to talk to virtually a brick wall who uses unrelated and ludicrous arguments to “inspire” his followers. This is clearly not the same, but it was the first thing I thought of when I read your comment.

    Arianna Gershon

  7. mediaphiles says:

    I agree that shows that can make you laugh out loud are hard to find. I like how you say that Leslie Knope should be running for president, I think it’s funny how we idealize characters in shows and try to make them real in our heads. I also agree that the end of shows are devastating, it’s like the end of a cycle in your life. – Jon Baquero

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