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Parks and Rec: Buddy boxes


“Breakfast, Knope?” My heart fluttered when Ron said it. JJ’s Diner is a staple of Pawnee and always Leslie’s hotspot for political meetings, first dates, birthdays, hangovers, catering, what have you. Waffles are the medicine for stressful re-elections, broken hearts, illnesses, and now Ann’s departure at the end of this week’s “Parks and Recreation” episode.

This Ann and Chris farewell episode, which is Parks’ last until Feb. 27, wasn’t going to be something extremely memorable. (These kinds of things never are). I wasn’t going to cry because I always thought Ann was a dull character. But I wanted to appreciate it for what it was. Rashida Jones’ character lived in Pawnee all along and this episode brought out the momentous occasion of her move to Michigan in a light, happy, entertaining way.

I enjoyed Ann’s headlock on Mrs. Sweetums, as it was one last way she helped Leslie accomplish something. I enjoyed the director’s jump cut to her crying hysterically as soon as Ron said goodbye and the immediate reaction of Jerry’s uncontrollable tears. Though, this episode reminded me why Ann wasn’t one of the special characters. She tries a joke after she and Leslie break ground on the Pawnee Commons, “friendship over,” but it’s Leslie who gets the laughs: “Don’t even joke about that, Ann.” Aubrey Plaza’s April steals scenes from her, handing her a packed duffle bag full of bras, knives and loose onions.

Yet, we learn she’s dated way more people than we thought. She dated Perd! She dated a random gay guy! She lived with Andy, which he seems to forget. “You know what I just realized? We dated … Have fun in Mexico!” She also dated Tom, whose going away present to her was deleting her number from him phone. (That’s so Tom).

Speaking of presents… Chris is officially the best gift-giver of all time. His “buddy boxes” scene was probably my favorite this week. He gave Ron a bronze burger trophy from their Turkey vs. Beef Cook-Off. He gave Andy a vintage Mouse Rat farewell concert poster. He gave Jerry a picture of him officiating Leslie and Ben’s wedding. He gave Tom a fifth of Snakejuice (Tom: “I thought these were destroyed by the FDA!” Chris: “I did have to go to a very seedy location to find it, but now I know where to go to place a bet on horse fighting!”) Last but definitely not least, he gave Ben…

“2008 Indiana state audit spreadsheets! Man, that year was insaaaaaaaaaaane!”
“That was the year you went from being an auditor, to a legend!”

Ben and Chris’ relationship was often more entertaining than Ann and Leslie’s, so I was happy to see their interaction at the end of this episode when Chris tells Ben that he’s literally the best friend he could ever have. Oh my god, that’s one last literally. I miss Chris already (sad face).

But this isn’t the end of the world, nor the end of “Parks and Recreation” and Ron’s last lines get that through to us. He urges Leslie after she initially declined the invitation because nothing’s a better medicine than breakfast food. It’s so true. I’m going to eat breakfast right now, actually.

Until Feb. 27, have fun in Mexico!
(Oh! How amazing was Chris’ JFK impersonation? I know, right!)


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