'Parks and Recreation' Turns 5: Here's How Far We've Come, Pawneeans

Five years ago, the town of Pawnee, Indiana was put on the map thanks to its illustrious team at their Parks and Recreation Department. And in those five years our hearts have grown tenfold with love, obsession, and adoration for the town that Knope built. It's no secret that the NBC series is one of our absolute favorite comedies on television — if not of all time — so it feels necessary to celebrate its milestone anniversary. After all, there's little doubt that a world with less Amy Poehler in it is would've been no world we'd want to have to endure. So thank you, Parks and Rec, for expanding that Poehlerpacity for the greater good of the world. 

But it's not just more Poehler that the series has gifted us with: if it weren't for Parks and Recreation there'd be no Treat Yoself, no Burt Macklin, no Jean-Ralphio, no April Ludgate deadpan-y deathstares, no Snakejuice, no lit-rally, and certainly far fewer guffaws in our everyday life. And considering the series was renewed for another season, we're thankful we won't have to know what a post-P&R world looks like yet. The little The Office spin-off that could has come a long way — and grown way into its own — in these past 5 years, so how about we take a wee walk down memory lane and reminisce about how far our favorite government employees have come, shall we?

Images: NBC

Leslie Knope: 2009 vs. 2014

In 2009, Leslie Knope was a hardworking and overly enthusiastic deputy director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department with grand ambitions. She also loves waffles.

In 2014, Leslie Knope is a hardworking and slightly less enthusiastic deputy director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department after being pushed out of the city council in a spiral controversy and shame. But she still loves waffles!

Ron Swanson: 2009 vs. 2014

In 2009, Ron Swanson loved meat, woodworking, and destroying the government with inactivity.

In 2014, Ron Swanson loves meat, woodworking, and destroying the government with inactivity.  Oh and he’s also married to Xena.

April Ludgate: 2009 vs. 2014

In 2009, April was probably a witch and spending lots of time with Orin.

In 2014, still a witch (and also married to Andy). Still friends with Orin.

Andy Dwyer: 2009 vs. 2014

In 2009, Andy was living in a hole in a park.

In 2014, Andy’s… married with a dog and in a loving and stable relationship… in a house?!

Tom Haverford: 2009 vs. 2014

In 2009, Haverford was all about swag.

In 2014, still swaggy (but now with more insight into its practical business application)! That deserves a chicky-chicky parm parm.

Ben Wyatt: 2009 vs. 2014

In 2009, Ben didn’t live in Pawnee, but he did love George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” (a.k.a. Game of Thrones) more than/before you.

In 2014, Married to Leslie and still really, really into Game of Thrones.

Donna Meagle: 2009 vs. 2014

In 2009, Donna was treatin’ herself. 

In 2014, she’s a fully realized #bossbitch and she’s probably live-tweeting the shit out of this.

Jerry Gergich: 2009 vs. 2014

In 2009, Jerry was Jerry. Damnit, Jerry!

In 2014, Jerry went from Gary to Larry. Was fired and then hired back as an intern. But he’s still got a hot wife and the biggest penis in Pawnee/maybe the world, so don’t feel too too bad for Larry. (We still feel pretty bad for Larry.)