You’ve been waiting patiently, I know. But this is the motherload, officially beginning right now. So long, numbers twenty through eleven: it’s time for the Big Leagues! My top ten shows of 2015 begins right now…
#10: Parks and Recreation
One of the absolute best network comedies not just of the past decade but of all time, Parks and Rec signed off earlier in 2015 with a string of excellent episodes that balanced heart-warming feels and gut-busting comedy. The likes of Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson, Ben Wyatt, Tom Haverford, Andy Dwyer, April Ludgate-Dwyer, Donna Meagle, and — yes, even — Jerry Gergich left indelible imprints on the television landscape, and this victory lap of a season reminded us what made Parks and Rec so special: its affection for its characters.
In a post The Office world, comedy shifted in a more caustic direction, so — while I love both the British and American versions of that fantastic show — Parks and Rec did something daring: it refused to condescend to or mock its characters. Instead, it would present them as fully-formed human beings, replete with strengths and foibles, and challenge its audience not to fall in love with them. And, for those of us taken by this wonderful menagerie of weirdos, fall in love we did. Parks and Rec signed off as it signed on: with its trademark optimism and positivity worn very much on its sleeve.
And how about that doozy of a time-jumping finale that served each of our characters just as they should have been? For me, the image I’ll take away from this episode and series is so emblematic of what I loved about this show: that look of peace that settles across Ron Swanson’s face as he paddles his canoe to the middle of Lake Pawnee. Bliss, folks. That’s what life should be, not just in the world of Pawnee but ours. The unmitigated, unfiltered joy of just being. And as far as comedy series go, that’s one hell of a legacy.
Stayed tuned for tomorrow’s 100th blog post, which happens to recap the ninth best show of 2015! #top20in20