Wednesday, September 13, 2017

30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 13: Favorite Episode

There is so much I love about Season Six's finale, "Moving Up," that it's actually harder to list them all than it was to pick it as my favorite episode. I'm sitting here at my desk and can (channeling my inner Chris Traeger) literally come up with no words to explain why this is my favorite episode. From the Michelle Obama cameo to all of the Unity Concert bands - hi there, Wilco! - I just ... it's so amazing that it almost has me forget that Ann and Chris aren't there*.

I halfway just want to say, "Screw it, you go watch it and bask in the awesome," but I guess I can't really do that? So ... here goes.

This really could have served as the finale of the series, in my opinion, but then we wouldn't have gotten to see Ron shoot down a Gryzzl drone or Garry become mayor of Pawnee/reach the age of 100. It has a very similar hopeful feel to the series finale, but with not the same type of finality to it, I suppose. If I remember the goings on at NBC correctly, the show was actually supposed to end with this episode, and I do believe it would have been a fitting ending. In the seventh season, the show wasn't as much about being in the Parks and Rec department as it was about the people who once worked there, (although technically, Leslie is just in the federal branch version) which isn't a bad thing necessarily, but it does make the name of the show a little odd.

But anyway, about what I loved.

The Tom's Bistro story is probably my favorite part of this episode. Craig is of course awesome - that could just go without saying, but I want to have it noted at every possible point - and Ron's chair-making (and chair-breaking) was classic** Ron.
Via Pinterest
April was somehow both very invested in the bistro and also disinterested, but that's something that Audrey Plaza does so well, and Donna forcing Ginuwine to come to the opening by threatening to bring the Quackson Five to light was pure gold. But the crowning glory goes to Tom. He's come such a long way since the first episode of Parks and Rec: he's a successful businessman with big ideas and the connections to make them come to life. He's still incredibly glamour-obsessed and will always be, but he's got a resilience and resourcefulness that rivals Leslie. I'm just so happy to see him doing something that matters to him.
Via IndieWire
Oh, and the whole Cones of Dunshire*** thing?? I loved that they brought this back, and in such an unexpected way. Being a board game lover****, I really appreciate the level of complexity the show went to to make this game seem impossibly convoluted, and I loooooved seeing those Gryzzl jerks have their asses handed to them by my main man, Ben. God, how I hate Gryzzl. Like ... I understand they did manage to bring a whole (well, half of a) season's worth of stories (Ron rebelling after they sent his very young son a package without his knowledge, for example), and yes, they did end up revitalizing Raccoon Corner, but ugh. My least favorite dude? This guy:
Via YouTube
He's just ... ughhhhhhhhh. The girl on the left isn't much better, but I like her shirt, so she gets a pass.

Leslie's story is the main one of the show, and I could definitely feel how conflicted she was. On the one hand, she's really needing to branch out, to dream bigger as Jennifer Barkley said, but letting go of her town while it is in need is just enough to keep her held back. When I see Leslie in this episode, I see my own mother. She has run her own heart failure clinic for ... god, twenty years is it now? and her retirement is on the horizon, which is bittersweet for her. Plus, she has heard that her clinic might be dismantled once she leaves, which means that her patients won't get the same kind of personalized care for their disease that they have been. She doesn't want to retire but knows that she can't work indefinitely. She has to move on with her life. And so does Leslie. Plus, she can affect change a lot more easily from up top, which she definitely does by the time the seventh season rolls around. Taking the national parks job was the best choice.

But my absolute favorite part of this episode? The final performance in the Unity Concert, where everyone in the town unites to sing "Bye, Bye, Lil Sebastian." It's just so ... pure. I cry every time, and I'm not even sure why, especially when Ron brings out Duke Silver on the stage. And Andy reuniting with Mouse Rat (thanks, April)? My heart. I loved Andy's Johnny Karate, but there's just something about Mouse Rat that brings me joy. Damn, I miss "Sex Hair."

I think that brings today's challenge to a close because a) I am exhausted and b) I am about to head into work for a 12 hour day. So ... have a great day, everybody!


* I did find it a bit curious that they didn't make any guest appearances, especially to introduce their baby to everybody, but hey, maybe Rashida and Rob weren't available? 
** I know I keep using the word "classic," but the writers are so consistent that nearly everything is classic. 
*** By the way, you can totally buy it too!
**** I'm not allowed to play most of them because I get ... competitive about it. I've been known to throw things. 
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