Are waffles good for soaking up the tears?
On Thursday (Jan. 30), NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” aired its big farewell episode to Ann Perkins (original cast member Rashida Jones) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe, who moved to Pawnee in Season 2) and it was — well, it was a tearjerker.
With her mom-to-be bestie due to depart Pawnee, Leslie (Amy Poehler) set about to not only throw Ann (and Chris too, but mostly Ann, let’s be real) a goodbye party that crams in every holiday the two would be missing together in the next year — “Ain’t no party like a Leslie Knope party ‘cuz a Leslie Knope party is actually 30 parties!” — but bring it back to the park that started it all and break ground on Pawnee Commons.
After a bit of bureaucratic maneuvering that forced Leslie to secure a local celeb’s endorsement for Sweetums’ new Dunktastic 3-Point B-Ball Blast sports drink (so the crazy company would return the free-flowing Super Fizzy Fruity Pop to Public Works — who was holding the lot hostage), we got to visit some old friends. Pistol Pete (Tuc Watkins) didn’t want anything to do with basketball anymore, but the always-reliable (and always hilarious) Perd Hapley was more than happy to oblige. All Ann had to ask him to do it “for old times’ sake” — revealing that during her dark, date-anything-that-moves days, she gave Perd a shot. Consider us as shocked as Leslie.
As the pals waited for a ribbon-cutting guy to never show, they made a handful of promises: Always be available by phone for all State of the Union address, “Tootsie” rewatches and to comment on Jennifer Aniston’s decisions. After Leslie thanked her “perfect sunflower” for all she brought into her life, the two finally gave up waiting and broke the ceremonial ground. Tear!
Meanwhile, in guys land, Chris gave Ben (Adam Scott), Tom (Aziz Ansari), Ron (Nick Offerman), Andy (Chris Pratt) and Larry (Jim O’Heir) each a “buddy box,” which contained a reminder of the time they spent together. So, who got what?
– Ron: A bronzed hamburger
– Andy: A poster from a MouseRat performance at the Snakehole
– Ben: The framed 2008 Indiana state audit sheets, prompting Ben to cheer, “That year was insane!”
The super-thoughtful gifts made the guys’ offering of a gift card for three pans, and the subsequent bag of paper, seem as insufficient as they sound. Eventually, however, they landed on the perfect gift: An empty “buddy box,” hand-crafted by Ron Swanson, meant for Chris to store new memories made with his soon-arriving little buddy.
As the group gathered to see the pair off, Chris shared a tender moment with Ben where he told him he was “literally the best friend I will ever have” and Leslie let Chris know that, while no man will ever be good enough for her perfect sunflower, he comes “pretty d*** close.” And with that, and the Sarah McLachlan mix tape from Leslie on the stereo, Ann and Chris took their leave from Pawnee.
Again: Can waffles soak up tears?
-The episode’s main focus was on the pairings of Leslie/Ann and Chris/Ben, but Ann and Chris did get a moment with each of the other characters in the half-hour. How’d those go?
Ann: Larry offered her some warm words that were instantly overshadowed by Ron’s share: “I have enjoyed parts of our time together.” She helped Donna (Retta) dodge a bad choice, man-wise, was able to get a hug and a mumbled “I love you, too” out of April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy remembered they’d once dated. Oh, and Tom deleted her number from his phone, you know, to set her free. How sweet.
Chris: Donna got fresh during a hug and April offered the end-of-his-farewell moment for him. “That was remarkably close to what I was going to say. Also: I’m proud of you.” Okay, seriously, waffle time.