Oh Parks and Recreation, how sweet it is to have you back, gracing our televisions with rollerskates, filibusters, Bloosh, Donna’s '90s gear, Chris walking into mirrors, the return of Andy, and a drunk Leslie Knope. Thursday night’s double-header was filled with so many wonderful moments, making the long three-week hiatus well worth the wait. We learned about Ben’s weird sexual fantasies, saw April be, dare we say, vulnerable, and the most gratifying dumping of a margarita on someone’s head in television history (Screw your curls, Jamm!).
As delightful as Thursday night’s bright and charming episodes were, our favorite citizens of Pawnee also had to face some big losses and changes. Tom sold Rent-A-Swag, April was heartbroken over missing her husband in London, Andy was scared of the pressure of his new job, and most heartbreakingly of all, Leslie lost the recall.
Ann and Ben were on a task-force to keep Leslie motivated and hopeful in anticipation of the backslide of possible failure in the recall. She did lose in the end, but she took it with the grace, professionalism, and dedication that makes Leslie Knope one of the strongest women on television. Though it was Ann’s support and knowledge of what would get her friend back in the swing of things (“Never trust a husband to do a best friend’s job”), it was Ron who delivered what was perhaps the most touching line of the whole night. In response to Tom feeling defeated over the loss of his business, Ron reassured him that, “There is no shame in failure if you gave it an honest effort.”
Now if that doesn’t give you all the feels, I don’t know what will. Just in case you need a little bit more to get through the last of your work week, here are our favorite motivational moments from Parks and Recreation.
TREAT YO SELF
Donna and Tom can't tell you enough. You DESERVE it. You've worked hard in your job, school, relationship, or becoming the accomplished, talented, all around badass person that you are. You should enjoy the finer things — whether it's lavender face masks or a full-body rubber Batman suit. Live your dreams and TREAT. YO. SELF.
Even in the face of defeat and the knowledge that former Eagletonians were supporting her so that they could vote in their own candidate, Leslie refused to step down. "The right to vote is fundamental in any democracy and this is bigger than me or anyone. I don't care if I lose. No one prevents people in my town from voting. Not on my watch." Oh Leslie, you would make Wendy Davis so so proud.
Image: Colleen Hayes/NBC
Ben Walks Away From Accounting For His Dreams
It's something most people are far too scared to do: turn down a secure job in order to pursue what you really want, but Ben did just that in Season 5. It's never easy to walk away from something like that, but when love and passion are on the other side of it, well, it's a no-brainer. Ice Town may have been a bad idea, but this was a great one.
"Catch Your Dream" by Andy Dwyer
The song serves two purposes: A campaign for Leslie's Council seat as well as a testament of loyalty and friendship from Mouse Rat's frontman and shoe shiner extraordinaire. It also has the most motivational lyrics uhhhh pretty much EVER. Sing Along:
That dream is big, won't go down easy.
It's gonna struggle to break free
Until we beat it senseless with courage, hope and will
We're gonna make it rue the day, that it had the nerve to fly away
Leslie Votes for Herself
In the Season 4 episode "Win, Lose, or Draw" Leslie gets to fulfill her lifelong dream of voting for herself on a government ballot. It's a beautiful moment and another point where we see that, even if failure is possible, there is so much to be proud of in our lives. FEELS.
April's Adoption Center
There are two things we know April Ludgate actually loves: Andy and animals (which makes sense being that Andy is an actual golden lab). In the episode "Live Ammo" of Season 4, the budget for an animal shelter is cut in order to meet the needs of the Parks and Rec department. To save the furry friends, April steps up and holds a pet adoption in one of Pawnee's parks, because animals "Should be rewarded for not being people." A true selfless giver that April.
Gerry/Jerry/Larry Has A Wonderful Life
Loving and supportive (AND SUPER GORGEOUS) wife: Check
Loving and supportive kids: Check
A Warm Perfect Home: Check
Throws the Best Christmas Parties in Town: Check
Gerry/Jerry/Larry might be the butt of the department's jokes, but he certainly gets the last laugh. And how sa-weeeeet it is. He caught HIS dream.
Leslie and April Move the Refrigerator
What happens when Leslie and April volunteer with the sanitation department in order to destroy sexism in local government? Feminism wins!
Chris Traeger's Indestructible Positivity
“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.”
Basically Everything Ron Swanson Says
Ron Swanson is full of inspiration. Why? He's a man of conviction. He means what he says, cares deeply for the people who matter to him, and has time and time again stuck his neck out as a display of loyalty. Underneath the layers of bacon and eggs, Ron is mashed potatoes. Here's just a smattering of the wonderful things Ron has said to motivate himself and his friends:
“Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
“Straight down the middle. No hook, no spin, no fuss. Anything more and this becomes figure skating.” (On bowling)
“Crying: acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon.”
“One rage every three months is permitted. Try not to hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it.”
"Before we go in there, I want to say something. You are a wonderful person. Our friendship means a lot to me. And you look very beautiful."
And lastly, just for some extra fun, here's Infinite Drunk Ron Swanson.