With the Park and Recreation series finale airing Tuesday night, I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs a major pick-me-up. The Parks Department of Pawnee, Indiana, has warmed our hearts for seven years now and their departure from our TV screens will leave a void that can't be filled. Though the beloved series is coming to an end, the Parks and Recreation series finale should be an occasion for celebration, not mourning.
It's easy to write off shows like Parks and Recreation as nothing more than a TV show, an inconsequential bit of pop culture. But the reality of it is, there is no such thing as "just a TV show" anymore. The cultural impact of shows like Parks and Recreation is profound. These shows aren't just around to make us laugh — they are here to teach us about ourselves, about our culture, and about what it means to be a human on this crazy planet we inhabit.
Sure, I will undoubtedly miss how the show constantly made me laugh. But more than that, I will miss what Parks and Recreation had to say about what it means to be a woman. Parks and Rec has been praised for its positive messages of female empowerment, with Leslie Knope acting as an (only slightly exaggerated) example of what it means to be a confident, ambitious woman who always stands her ground and is relentless in her pursuit of her goals.
Leslie isn't the only one who has taught us some valuable lessons over the course of the show's run either. The entire cast of Parks and Rec has given us some serious wisdom about what it means to be a mentor, a loving partner, and a caring friend.
Parks and Rec has also taught us that life can be a difficult endeavor and, sometimes, everyone deserves a little reward. Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford are the pre-eminent experts on self-indulgence in Pawnee; their "Treat Yo' Self" tradition has become a pop culture phenomenon (and has fueled a few too many Sephora hauls of my own).
As I try to get used to a life without Parks and Recreation , I know I am going to need to treat myself. To all my fellow Parks and Recreation fans out there, I invite you to join me in celebration and treat yo' self to all the different ways Parks and Recreation has taught us how to treat ourselves over the past seven years.
Treat Yo' Self...
... With "Treat Yo' Self 2015"
First and foremost, P&R taught us how to treat ourselves like Donna and Tom. You know the drill. Slippies. Mimosas. Crystal beatles. Fine leather goods. Perhaps a DJ Roomba if you're really in the mood to splurge.
... To Gender Equality
Leslie is no stranger to sexism and she stops at nothing to fight for gender equality.
... To Sex (But Be Safe About It)
Senior citizens everywhere: take note.
... To Getting a Little Wild Every Now and Again
Snakejuice: the tequila of fake liquors.
... To a Positive Body Image
Waffles. Whipped Cream. Pizza. Treat yo' self to all the foods you want, cause Leslie taught us that we are beautiful as we are and a can (or two) of whipped cream never hurt anybody.
... To Extreme Honesty (Within Reason)
Ron taught us that there is such a thing as being too honest.
... To Never Giving Up on Your Goals
... To Supportive Friendships
There is no shortage of girl bonding on Parks and Rec and the show brought us everyone's new favorite holiday: Galentine's Day.
... To Loving What You Love, Even If No One Else Gets It
A brief moment of silence for our favorite fallen tiny stallion.
... To Learning Fiscal Responsibility
Entertainment 720: a cautionary tale.
... To Healthy Relationships With Mutual Respect and Equality
This GIF says it all.
... To Self-Confidence
Leslie teaches us time and time again that if you don't believe in yourself, no one will.
... To Working Hard and Playing Harder
As we go into the Parks and Recreation finale, I will leave you with one last nugget of wisdom from our dear Ron Swanson: