I know I should probably be stressing out over Parks and Recreation still being in limbo for a Season 5 (at least as of this writing) while deciding whether "Win, Lose, or Draw" was better than last year's Season 3 finale, "Li'l Sebastian," but honestly, all I want to do right now is sit in a high-quality leather chair and reflect on a season of television that made me happy.
If this is the series finale -- after all, Parks & Rec co-creator Mike Shur cautiously approached it as such -- I'd be slightly heartbroken. I want to see Leslie in office. I want to see Ben on his own, geeking out about new sectors of nerdom. I want Chris and Ron to each get real arcs with fulfilling relationships. I want Ann and Tom to sell me their chemistry. I need more Jerry and Donna constantly. And maybe most of all, I am dying to see Andy join the police academy while April and Champion cheer him on.
It's been a fun season, and I thank you all for coming back each week to relive the episodes with me and for checking out the Best Moments gallery. I'm looking forward to going back and finally having the time to watch the director's cuts of the past few installments, and eventually marathoning through Season 4 when it comes out on DVD. Sometimes writing about a series every week makes you like it a little bit less, and it's a testament to this show that it never really took me to that point. For hopefully not the last time ever, let's grade everyone.
Leslie and Ben: A-
City Council, bitches! It wasn't until when Bobby was first declared the winner that I really, really wanted Leslie to get the seat, alternate career possibilities be damned. Between Leslie voting for herself, adding her photo to the wall of City Council heads, improvising the best parts of her acceptance speech and Ben revealing that he didn't write a concession speech, my little fangirl heart was on pieces in the floor. Luckily, they were cut with Leslie hilariously freaking out about losing and Ben spitting alcohol all over himself.
Leslie's Best Line of the Night: [Ben: "Why are you laughing?"] "Because my dream is dead."
Ben's Best Line of the Night: "Hey, what's a good place to buy jeans?"< br> Best Moment: Jennifer suggesting they strike a deal, perhaps by giving Leslie Joe Biden's phone number -- "Now hang on, that's interesting."
I would worry throughout the season about Ron not developing as a character, only getting stuck into scenes where he gets to talk about how much delicious meat is, how big of a whore Tammy 2 is and how clear alcohols are for rich women on diets (to be clear, all are accurate), occasionally doling out a sage piece of advice. In "Win, Lose, or Draw," the writers nodded to what they've been building up Ron for: not changing. I know there are fears about the show moving out of the Parks department and losing its focus, but I took Ron's refusal of the new position with Chris as a testament to the fans that the heart of the show isn't going anywhere.
Ron's Best Line of the Night: "Well, I've never been one for meeting new people or doing new things or eating new types of food or traveling outside of Southern Indiana. I've had the same haircut since 1978, and I've driven the same car since 1991. I've used the same wooden comb for three decades. I have one bowl. I still get my milk delivered by horse."
Best Moment: Watching Adam Scott trying to hold back laughter the whole time Ron delivered his spiel.
Ann and Tom: B+
Tom got to be silly, throw a ballin' victory party and describe his Nostra-Thomas swagger-filled dream. Ann got to be Leslie's right hand woman. They got drunk and didn't take up too much screentime. If that's not a successful outing for both of them, I don't know what is.
Ann's Best Line of the Night: "Great form! Maybe. I have no idea, actually. I don't know what I'm doing."
Tom's Best Line of the Night: "I picked the wrong week to do a juice cleanse."
Best Moment:(Courtesy of Leslie) "I've said this to you before, and I know it makes you uncomfortable. But you're thoughtful, and you're brilliant, and your ambiguous ethnic blend perfectly represents the dream of the American melting pot."
Andy, April and Donna: A-
Though this felt like an odd time for this particular subplot, it set up a lot of good things for Season 5 (fingers crossed) with Andy, gave Donna something to do and allowed for a list of funny potential careers in Andy and April's futures after she gets fired, he quits, they move away, burn off their fingertips with acid and maybe swap faces. I guess it was just really, really practical.
Andy's Best Line of the Night: "Great win, great night, great year, hot wife. Jackpot! Good job, me."
April's Best Line of the Night: [On dream job] "Uh, dental hygienist who's also a medium, so I can clean people's teeth and tell them when they're gonna die."
Donna's Best Line of the Night: [To Andy, while hugging April] "Bring it in, boy."
Best Moment: "I've been playing Xbox for years, really good at fixing it when it freezes. I know exactly what to do. [Blows on monitor, then throws it to the ground.] Try it now."
There's no telling what will happen to Chris if there is a next season, but I'm really glad he ended on a happy, sexually satisfying high note.
Best Line of the Night: "Several times. And then several more times. And then a couple more times. And then one more time."
Best Moment: Smiling and watching the victory celebrations, unbeknownst to him that Jennifer was avoiding saying goodbye.
Has there ever been an episode of a sitcom in TV history where there was an election plotline, and it didn't include a character who didn't vote? And another question: Did any of them write the non-voter's guilt nearly as hilariously as Jerry's?
Jerry's Best Line of the Night: "I didn't ruin it. I thought I ruined it, but I didn't ruin it!"
Best Moment: Ron: "Jerry forgot to vote."
Honorable mentions: Of course, a big thanks to Jennifer Barkley and Bobby Newport for being excellent all season (specifically in this episode with the Sweetums voting machines). Props got to the Pawnee Lawmakers for creating a law where if there's a tie in the election, the female candidate goes to jail. And while I was overcome with joy when Leslie won, the happiest I was all episode was when I saw Jean-Ralphio sing about his insurance fraud and briskly apply for the Assistant City Manager job.
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