Tomorrow night, Parks and Recreation goes out on top.
Though it’s profoundly upsetting that NBC felt that it had to burn off the only comedy it has left (and the best one on network television), at least the show is ending on its own terms. This seventh season has felt like a victory lap, one intent on driving home the life lessons that Parks has been teaching us for years.
What sets Parks apart from most of its half-hour sitcom peers (besides impeccable writing and a knockout cast) is its worldview. With its Paunchburger-sized heart firmly in the right place, the show made nice funny again. And its niceness has never felt naive or unsophisticated. Today, we pay tribute to Parks and Recreation by thanking the show for everything it’s taught us about friendship, ambition, teamwork, and whole-assing one thing. Good night, sweet Pawnee. We’ll miss you in the saddest fashion.
1) “Anything’s a toy if you play with it.”
Your life can be fun, but it’s up to you to make it that way.
2) “Ovaries before Brovaries”
3) “Do not confuse drama with happiness”
Let the story be the bright side when things go wrong. But don’t sacrifice your happiness just for the story.
4) “Sometimes you have to work a little so you can ball a lot.”
The Head Over Feels Life Philosophy. No amount of fun comes without some modicum of hard work.
5) “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.”
As scientists and joyologists have proven.
6) “Whole Ass One Thing.”
Self explanatory, really. Put your whole ass into whatever you are pursuing.
7) “Dream Bigger”
When they knock you down, go above their heads. You’ll be better off, plus they’ll hate it.
8) “Jogging is the worst.”
Seriously. Jogging is the worst.
9) “Messy is fun, okay?”
“Ron, messy is fun, okay. My whole life is a giant mess, and I love it.”
Throw out all your expectations of the neat, magazine-glossy existence; the spotless resume; and the bump-free relationship. Embrace the inevitable chaos.
10) “Don’t start chasing applause and acclaim. That way lies madness.”
The minute you start doing things for the approval of others is the minute you start losing yourself.
11) “You have several options. They are all terrible, but you have them.”
Sometimes, just getting to make the choice is as good as it’s going to get.
12) “If you don’t like what I post, don’t follow me.”
Your Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, whatever is YOURS and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.
13) “If you don’t like what you do, why do it?”
“I’m gonna tell you something that I once heard from a very, very smart woman named Kim…”
“The lady who waxes you?”
She told me, ‘if you don’t love what you do, why do it?’ Then she ripped the hair from my B-hole.”
Rent and bills won’t pay themselves, but there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. Find the one that doesn’t make you miserable.
14) “You can’t actually plan your future.”
“Leslie, you can’t actually plan your future. You know there’s no guarantees in this world. As long as the people I love are a part of my life, I will be just fine.”
No matter how much of a Type-A planner you are, sometimes it’s best just to let go and let things happen. People matter. Not plans.
15) Enjoy Every Day.
“I was born with a blood disorder and my parents were told I had three weeks to live. And here I still am. Some 2,000 odd weeks later and I have enjoyed every one of them.”
All time is borrowed. Do that thing you’ve been meaning to do, and do it right now.
16) Do Stupid Things.
“Look, this is a stupid idea, but right at this exact second, we have enough momentum to do something stupid before we realize how stupid it is.”
Impulsive and stupid choices often lead to the best memories.
17) “Look, who hasn’t had gay thoughts? Who?”
18) Be a Pain in the Ass.
Harold, to Leslie and Ann: “You two are a couple of real pains in the ass, you know that?”
Leslie: “Harold, your tiny brain could not understand this, but that is the best compliment you could ever give the two women standing in front of you.”
Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you want and deserve. And it’s even better when you find a partner in crime who enjoys being a pain in the ass too.
19) “What are we going for?”
I usually call this look “sexy librarian,” but Leslie would hardly approve.
20) Nerd culture is mainstream now.
“So, when you use the word “nerd” derogatorily, it means you’re the one that’s out of the zeitgeist.”
Being called a nerd is a compliment. Who run the world? Nerds.
21) “Or we could just say screw it.”
Not all rules add order to your life. Sometimes you have to beg forgiveness rather than ask permission. Especially when it comes to making out with Ben Wyatt, on his face.
22) Be your own biggest supporter.
“Leslie, this is Leslie. Hang in there. I love you.”
Believe in yourself. No negative self-talk. You should be your own champion.
23) “If you believe in something, you sign your name to it.”
According to Ron, your name and your honor are the most powerful tools you have. Don’t hold them back.
24) “Treat Yo Self.”
You deserve it.
25) “We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”
What are your favorite life lessons from Leslie Knope and company? Let us know in the comments. We’re slowly catching up in our Parks coverage…we will post a recap of every episode no matter how late they are. Sage is also hard at work on her top 15 episodes of the show. Stay tuned.