We were very late to the party discovering Parks & Recreation. It was a show that we only discovered about two years ago, and as two people that were used to the classic sitcom set-up, it was certainly strange getting used to the mockumentary style the show is set in. Despite that, it’s since become one of our favourite shows, and as you may have spotted it in my last few wrap ups, it’s a show we’ve been re-watching over the last couple of months. We decided to binge it again because with moving, we wanted something light-hearted and that we could have a laugh at, but we didn’t want to start something new. We had overdone our go-to shows like The Big Bang Theory and Friends, so given that we’d only done Parks & Rec once, it was a pretty straightforward choice. Watching it through the second time around, it was so much funnier, and the emotional moments hit you a lot harder for sure – although maybe that’s the copious amounts of gin I was drinking at the time. Anyway, the show cheered us up during quite a stressful time (on top of the bloody pandemic of course), so I thought today I’d take a look back over my favourite Parks & Rec moments – the ones that made me laugh the most, and the ones that are just so freaking adorable.
For those who don’t know, Parks & Recreation is a US sitcom that ran from 2009 to 2015 (there was also a special that aired this year which I’ve yet to catch). It’s a mockumentary-style sitcom that focuses on Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) – deputy director of the parks and recreation department – and her colleagues. The show also features an ensemble cast with Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, and later on, Adam Scott and Rob Lowe. Over the seven seasons, the show addresses Knope’s eventual career in politics, as well as the relationships and careers of the supporting characters.
Of course, it goes without saying – there’s some spoilers ahead!
S3E2: Flu Season – Full Episode
Up front, it’s kind of weird that I would really like an episode that’s based around a flu outbreak, but this has to be one of the funniest episodes. There’s so many moments that make it as funny as it is – like Chris’ meltdown while he’s in hospital with the flu, and April’s constant mistreatment of Ann – but the best plotline of all has to be Leslie’s reluctance to admit that she’s sick because she’s due to speak at the Chamber of Commerce.
S3E13: The Fight – Everyone Gets Hammered
While this is another episode that brings plenty of laughs throughout, the best scene has to be when everyone in the parks department gets hammered at the Snakehole Lounge after sampling Tom’s new alcoholic drink, Snake Juice. Each character is a different kind of drunk, and the combined result is hilarious:
Let’s also have a nod to the scene afterwards when everyone is hungover AF, and there’s this exchange between Ben and Leslie:
S3E14: Road Trip – Ben and Leslie’s First Kiss
April and Andy’s romance was not surprisingly a fan favourite, but for me, it was all about Ben and Leslie. It probably doesn’t help that I have a bit of a thing for Ben but, whatever. Anyway, a vast portion of the third season focuses on Ben and Leslie having feelings for each other, but can’t act upon them due to Chris’ rule about workplace romances. This episode in particular is based on the two of them enduring a road trip together while having to keep their romantic feelings towards each other at bay. The episode eventually ends with what is arguably one of the most romantic kisses in TV (again, in no way related to my thing for Ben).
S3E15: The Bubble – Ron’s New Desk
While the episode largely focuses on Ben meeting Leslie’s mother for the first time, the best scene of the episode is related to the sub-plot. Chris begins to make some changes to the parks department to make things more efficient, but this is to the chagrin of the staff – especially in the case of Ron’s circular desk.
S3E16: Li’l Sebastian – 5,000 Candles in the Wind
After the death of Pawnee’s beloved miniature horse, Li’l Sebastian, the town holds a memorial service for him, including Andy’s band, Mouse Rat performing their tribute song, 5,000 Candles in the Wind. The song also makes an appearance in future episodes over the run of the show, and weirdly, it brings with it an odd sense of emotional nostalgia each time. All in all, the episode is insane, but it’s incredibly funny and probably one of my favourite season finales of a show. Everybody now – BYE BYE LI’L SEBASTIAN…
S4E11: The Comeback Kid – Leslie Walks on Ice
This scene arguably has to be one of the funniest in the history of the whole show – after working to re-establish her City Council campaign, Leslie and her colleagues set out across an ice rink (what they previously thought to be a basketball court) for her to make her speech. Except the red carpet ends a little too early and the whole gang end up slipping their way to the podium – I’ll be honest, describing it doesn’t do it justice. Just watch the clip.
S4E22: Win, Lose or Draw – Leslie Wins
This episode focuses on the Pawnee City Council election, where Leslie is neck-and-neck with her opponent, Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd). While Bobby Newport eventually wins the election, an automatic recount is triggered because he won by 21 votes. It’s later revealed that Leslie has won, and the scene where Ann tells her the good news is just ALL THE FEELS.
S5E5: Halloween Surprise – Ben and Leslie Get Engaged
I think by now it’s obvious that I’m all for the Ben and Leslie romance, so this is one of my all time favourite moments. After spending months working in Washington, Ben is due to return home to Pawnee, so Leslie looks at houses for the two of them. Meanwhile, Ben is given the opportunity to extend his work in Washington, much to Leslie’s disappointment. He initially tells her nothing is confirmed, and is advised to think about his future. At the end of the episode we see Leslie viewing their house one last time before cancelling their lease, but Ben arrives unexpectedly (looking HOT I might add), and this happens:
I’ll be honest, Monica and Chandler getting engaged in Friends is emosh, but this scene just smashes it to shit.
S5E14: Leslie & Ben – Ben and Leslie Get Married
I bloody love a wedding scene in a sitcom (April and Andy’s wedding was also a contender in this list), so Ben and Leslie’s wedding instantly became one of my favourite Parks & Rec scenes. The episode basically involves Leslie and Ben trying to throw together their wedding in a couple of hours, except for it to be ruined by Councilman Jamm. After Ron punches Jamm in the face and ends up in a police cell, he’s bailed out by Leslie who gives up hope of getting married that evening. However, Ann invites Leslie back to City Hall under the guise of having a few drinks. After telling her how much she means to him, Ron walks Leslie into the Parks Department where Ben and all of their friends and colleagues are waiting, and they get married in a simple but romantic ceremony. The whole episode is just perfect, and the wedding vows are just (again) ALL THE FEELS.
S6E13: Ann & Chris – Ann Moves Away
Finally, we have this emotional AF moment in season six. The episode centres around a pregnant Ann and Chris’ last day in Pawnee before they move to Michigan to start their new life together. Leslie throws Ann a going away party packed with memories of their friendship, while the guys feel guilty that Chris has given them each a ‘buddy box’ full of memories and they’ve just given him a gift card. There’s quite a few sweet moments in this episode, but for me it’s the final scene that always gets me. The guys end up giving Chris his own “buddy box” hand-crafted by Ron, for him to fill with memories of his child; while Leslie says her goodbyes to Ann. The exchange between them is just adorable and it really shows what close friends they are (they’re ultimate friendship goals) and this was yet another moment that had me crying into my gin glass.
Of course there were plenty more moments in that I haven’t included that I feel I should give honourable mentions to:
April and Andy get married
Pretty much any scene featuring Jean-Ralphio
Ron and Diane get married, followed by Leslie’s meaningful gift to Ron
Tom and Donna taking Ben on a “TREAT YO’SELF” day out:
Leslie tells Ben she’s pregnant
Ben teaching April and Andy how to do laundry:
When the rest of the gang lock Leslie and Ron in the office together to work out their differences after months of fighting
The final episode where we see a time jump of what happens to all of the characters
What are your favourite Parks & Recreation moments? Let me know in the comments!
Featured image credit: The Mercury News.