Parks and Recreation was (and is) one of my favorite television shows. It’s absolutely hilarious, full of goofy characters and ridiculous scenarios. But what really made that show special was the heart; mixed in with the humor were moments of such emotional truth that you couldn’t help but fall in love with the wonderful people of Pawnee. And those truths really shone when it came to romantic relationships. To help ensure we never forget, here are four lessons in love we learned from Parks and Rec.
4. Love is Found Where and When We Least Expect
Just about every couple in Parks and Rec wasn’t actively looking for a relationship when they found one. When we first met April, she was a cold, dark character who hated everything.
In fact, I remember noticing that she never smiled… until she met Andy.
Andy, Ann’s screw-up ex-boyfriend man-child who worked at the shoe shine stand because that’s the best job he could get. But as any fan of the show knows, Andy was lovable and charming, and he (kinda) warmed April’s cold heart.
Another example is Leslie and Ben. When they first met, Leslie hated Ben, because he was threatening to cut the parks budget.
But, as time went on, and they worked together, her feelings… changed.
Then there’s Chris and “Ann Perkins”.
The great thing about Ann and Chris is that it didn’t work out the first time. They dated for awhile in Season 3, but then broke up when Chris moved back to Indianapolis.
Then, in Season 5, Ann decides she’s done waiting to find “the one” before she becomes a mom, and decides to try in vitro fertilization. Her search for a donor eventually leads her to Chris.
Despite their reunion being under some of the least romantic reasons possible, they hit it off again. Which is about as unexpected as it gets.
3. Sometimes You Have To Make Hard Choices
Time and again, we see the couples in Parks and Rec making difficult decision for the person they love. At one point, April tells Andy to accept a job offer and stay in London for awhile, because it’s obvious that it’s what would make him happy.
Ron’s relationship with Diane is essentially one difficult compromise after another. First, he agrees to watch her kids.
Then he asks her to marry him, something he had sworn off after his previous marriages ended in disaster.
But in the end, he’s a better, happier man.
And of course, there’s all the times that Leslie and Ben make hard choices for each other, like Ben breaking up with Leslie so she can run for City Council
And Leslie deciding to get back together with Ben, even though it could hurt her campaign.
There’s the time Ben quits his job so Leslie can keep hers, and the time Leslie tells Ben to go to Washington to work on the congressional campaign. Their relationship is so much about making hard choices out of love, that the final episode of the series is about them deciding who gets to run for governor. Of course, because they are so wonderfully adorable and perfect, they each want to let the other run. But in the end, only one of them can win that fight.
2. Love is Blind
It’s a cliche, I know. But Parks and Rec shows us time and again just how true this cliche is. For example, Leslie is very accepting of Ben’s nerdy habits
and his obsession with calzones.
And Ben accepts Leslie’s obsession with Joe Biden.
April loves Andy’s gross tendencies
and Andy loves April’s dark tendencies.
Ann puts up with Chris’ neuroses
while Chris handles… Ann.
Lucy is okay with Tom’s lifestyle
And Diane is okay with Ron’s convictions.
Every good relationship in Parks and Rec has annoyances that one or both people have to accept. It’s an important lesson that can and should be applied to real life.
1. It’s Okay to Be Weird
This is probably my favorite lesson from Parks and Rec: when you’re in a great relationship, it’s okay to be weird together! In fact, it’s a lot of fun! Just look at Chris and Ann
Or Ben and Leslie
Or Andy and April
Or Leslie and Ben
Or April and Andy
Don’t forget Ben and Leslie
And of course there’s Andy and April
Andy and April
and Andy and April.
So next time you need some relationship advice, just watch some Parks and Recreation. But make sure you’re watching the right episodes.