'Parks and Recreation' Has Found a Place for Every Character Except Donna
The sixth season of Parks and Rec seemed like it was going to be a bad one for Leslie Knope, as she faced a recall election, until last week's episode, "Second Chunce," showed that a recall was just what she needed to reignite her bigger dreams. While Leslie was facing those challenges, everyone else on Parks and Rec was discovering their own paths and now each character has a clear direction— except one.
Donna Meagle, played by the hilarious Retta, is easily one of the show's best characters. We don't know too much about her and every new piece of information about her tends to be completely unexpected in the funniest way possible. Like that she has a fiancee outside of Pawnee and Ginuwine is her cousin. Donna and Tom are often paired together, but with this week's episode, "New Beginnings," Tom has finally found something he's good at, actually enjoys, and can't be ruined by Jean-Ralphio. He's essentially the last character to discover his Leslie-esque calling, except for Donna.
Tom proved himself to be a successful business liaison right after Leslie realized she needed to start exploring bigger dreams outside of Pawnee. Chris and Ann are getting ready to move to Michigan to raise their child and possibly get married — the decision hasn't quite been made. Earlier in the season, Ron married a pregnant Diane and Ben became city manager while Andy explored his newfound affinity for non-profit work. Last year saw April taking over Animal Control and Jerry finally retiring to spend more time with his family, before returning to work part-time and becoming Larry.
Tom was really the last person who needed something, since the collapse of Rent A Swag, and now he's found it.
So where does that leave Donna? We don't need to know everything about her, the mystery itself is a big part of her character, but she can have an aspiration without revealing everything. We know that she loves social media, maybe a little too much, her Mercedes and men. Oh, and Scandal.
Besides that, we barely even know what it is she does for the Parks department. Can't she find a new professional goal? Maybe Pawnee wants a stronger online presence and she does some social media-based PR. Or she could help Andy with some of his non-profit projects. Ron was just awarded Employee of the Month.
He may have destroyed all evidence of the honor, but it still happened and if Ron Swanson can still find new work successes, so can Donna. Even a recurring romantic storyline would work. We always hear her talk about the men who worship her, but we've never met one. There is so much comedic potential for a relationship arc, think of the guest stars who could play one of her men, and how amazingly awful she could treat him.
All of Donna's small, usually self-contained storylines are great. Live-tweeting, hanging out with Billy Eichner, giving dating advice, going hunting with Ron, Donna brings great moments and great lines. But she, and Retta, have so much more potential.
Parks and Rec can't just let her get left behind as everyone else pursues their passions. It just wouldn't make sense because we all know that if anyone in the Parks department is meant for greatness, it's Donna.