Parks and Rec Goodbye Episode Recap: Ann Gets Her Park, and We Are Wrecked

Parks and Recreation Ann Chris GoodbyeWe’re gonna need a lot of breakfast food.

NBC’s Parks and Recreation this Thursday said farewell to Ann Perkins (played by original cast member Rashida Jones) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe, who joined the series in Season 2), with an episode that involved 103 scrapbooks, six buddy boxes, one party that was actually 30 parties and a mix tape that’s heavy on Sarah McLachlan.

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With parents-to-be Ann and Chris set to move away, Leslie’s No. 1 priority — aside from a goodbye party that celebrates every holiday she and her bestie will miss spending together this year — is bringing their friendship full circle by breaking ground on Pawnee Commons, the park that drew Ann into Leslie’s orbit.

Thing is, Harold from Public Works hits Leslie with some red tape, and no amount of snacks featuring a touch of hazelnut crunch will grease the works enough. Ultimately, Harold’s price is this: the return of Sweetums’ Super Fizzy Fruity Pop. To make that happen, Leslie needs to secure a local celeb’s endorsement for Sweetums’ new Dunktastic 3-Point B-Ball Blast sports drink. Pistol Pete wants no part of it (“Their slogan is, ‘It’s All About Basketball'” the fatigued hoops legend notes), but Perd Hapley comes through when Ann beseeches him to do it “for old times’ sake” — revealing that she and the verbose newsman once went out, during Ann’s date-anything-that-moves days.

As they wait for the ribbon cutting guy to (never) show, Leslie and Ann reflect on their friendship and promise to always touch base on Jennifer Aniston’s decisions, State of the Union addresses and during Tootsie rewatches. Calling Ann “a perfect sunflower,” Leslie thanks her friend for teaching her how to find balance in life, be (more) patient and throw caution to the wind when it came to Ben. Parks and Recreation - Season 6Also: Say no to tulip skirts.

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Chris, meanwhile, gifts Ben, Tom, Ron, Andy and Larry/Jerry with a “buddy box,” inside which is a thoughtful reminder of their time together (e.g. framed 2008 Indiana state audit sheets for Ben, who effused, “That year was insaaaane!”). Ben struggles to come back at Chris with a gift more meaningful than a few pans and a bag of paper. What they eventually arrive at is a hand-crafted Ron Swanson special, an empty “buddy box” in which Chris is to store new memories (or Twizzlers) — starting with a tear he sheds.

As the half-hour drew to a close, with their car ready to drive away, Chris told Ben he was “literally the best friend I will ever have,” while Leslie told Chris that while no man is good enough for Ann, he’s “pretty damn close.” And with a mix tape from Leslie in hand, Ann and Chris drove away.

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All told, it was a thorough and thoroughly satisfying episode, affording both Ann and Chris a chance to share at least a moment with everyone else. Ann fielded warm words from Larry, only to lose it when Ron shared, “I have enjoyed parts of our time together.” She left knowing that Donna would “run this town,” man-wise, with her out of the mix, and even coaxed frenemy April — who at one point was reveling in the idea of Ann’s day full of “painful goodbyes” — to mumble an “I love you, too.” Ann saw Andy remember they once dated, witnessed Tom delete her from his phone and amusingly traded notes with Ben on how to manage their respective mates, now left to their own devices.

Chris, too, got his goodbyes, which included an ass-grab from Donna and a sweet exchange with (again!) April, who “blah-blah-blah”d an approximation of his farewell speech. “That was remarkably close to what I was going to say. Also: I’m proud of you.” (There was also a random moment with a JFK mask, which maybe was a meta nod to Lowe’s recent portrayal of the president?)

“Keep your tears in your eyes where they belong”? Impossible. What moment had your waterworks working hardest?

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  1. Robert says:

    The send off was warm, sweet and comfortable.

  2. Lena says:

    I LITerally cried at the end. It hit so close to home, saying goodbye to best friends. Beautiful episode. Ben and Chris’ hug also got me

  3. GuessWhat says:

    Um, I dont cry during sitcoms….but it was a good ep.

  4. kd86953 says:

    i don’t know what this show will be like without ann and chris!! waaaaaaaaa.

  5. Jillian says:

    What a sweet sendoff. I definitely cried A LOT. I’m hoping with Ann gone now Leslie will have more scenes with Donna and April.

  6. Ron says:

    I cried last week during Troy’s exit on Community, and I cried tonight with Chris and (mainly) Ann’s departure on Parks & Rec. Throw in me crying during the 2nd episode of Sherlock earlier this week, and my tear ducts are getting really frustrated with me lately…

  7. Hope says:

    My eyes are basically useless. I was a mess of emotions through the whole episode but the final goodbyes really let the floodgates open. This is LITERALLY the saddest I’ve ever been. Such a touching episode. I cannot say enough good things about it, mostly because I’m typing on my phone and it’s hard to see the keys through my tears.

  8. Jill says:

    I literally will miss Ann and Chris… please pass the waffles!!!

  9. luke says:

    This was a great episode but Community tonight was freakin unbelievable…

    • Patrick says:

      Good or bad? I thought this was the worst episode of Community ever.

      • Brian says:

        Agreed. That was a BAD episode of Community. Streets behind for sure. I am surprised with how good they have been so far this season…

        • Patrick says:

          I am not as down on last season as a lot of people were, but I think this season has been as good as the second season so far. Until last night. Bad. Bad bad bad.

  10. Nicole says:

    My favourite part was the end when they drove away. It seemed like a perfect ending with everyone just going to breakfast together. My husband said it would have been a great ending for the series….it was nice to see that everyone was hanging out together and I loved the way the camera just panned out.

  11. Tenney says:

    A fantastic goodbye to Ann and Chris. While I LOVED Troy’s goodbye episode last week on Community a bit more, this one certainly did not let down. Excellent epsiode.

  12. Dillon says:

    I thought the episode was a perfect Parks send-off. Weird little coincidence, though, how part of its plot overlapped with tonight’s Community’s (trying to obtain a favor that requires arranging favors between a bunch of other folks). Liked ’em both tonight.

  13. Babybop says:

    I loved it! I will definitely miss Chris Traeger though… Him dancing like an idiot to “One Headlight” was literally the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

  14. lagavulin says:

    Unbelievably great episode. Easily could have been a series finale. One of the best shows on television hands down.

  15. Joey says:

    Loved it. Great episode. Sweet and great send-off for Chris and Ann. I’ll miss them on the show.

  16. Spencer says:

    Does anyone know the song that played in the very last moments as they drove away?

  17. B says:

    So, Ann and Chris’s goodbye was beautiful and all, but can we talk about that closing shot? This is the first time that I can recall that we’ve gotten a wide full shot of Pawnee. I’ve never known what Pawnee actually looks like until this. Normally it’s just bits and pieces, establishing shots and specific locations. I was really blown away by this honestly.

    • Higb says:

      i got the same impression… what a thoughtful touch at the end, it almost changed how i thought of the show, somehow…

    • JenInChicago says:

      I agree. I went back a few times to re-watch. Were they along the shores of a lake? For some reason, I always thought Pawnee was landlocked in the middle of the state……(for no real reason!)

  18. R. says:

    This felt like a series finale, and honestly it would have been a really great and really satisfying one. I think (and hope) Parks still has a few great seasons left in it, but I wouldn’t have complained at all if that was the ending of the whole show.

  19. Bob Johnson says:

    “There was also a random moment with a JFK mask, which maybe was a meta nod to Lowe’s recent portrayal of the president?”

    Nah, pure coincidence.

  20. sara says:

    I cried way too much. Also, that closing shot of the town was awesome.

  21. Lori says:

    Sweet, sad, funny. Pretty damn perfect

  22. David Graf says:

    Why did the producers get rid of these characters?

    • Patrick says:

      The actors wanted out, sort of like Donald Glover/Troy on Community. The actors asked to be let go, and the producers complied. Both wanted the opportunity to do other projects. Jones has a lot of movie projects in the works, and Lowe is starring in a pilot next year. The producers are only two happy to comply, because losing these big salaries makes the show much more attractive as a pickup next year.

      I feel for the actors in struggling (but fantastic) shows like PandR and Community. Usually, when a show reaches syndication, everyone involved is making insane money. The people on Modern Family are all making around 350-500,000 per episode. The actors on P and C are locked into mediocre contracts that pay them well, but not to the level they could demand for other projects. Most of the actors are fine with the regular gig. They are getting good money for steady work, which is hard to come by in Hollywood. But Glover, Jones, and Lowe are all in demand for other projects. Unless they are getting top end TV salaries, they are leaving money on the table by not doing other projects.

      The real problem is that not enough people watched PandR and Community. If the viewership reflected the quality, no one would be leaving. Jones and Lowe would be content to ride out the final seasons of an ensemble show where they don’t have to work every day but still get paid. Ditto Glover. If the ratings were there, Harmon and Chase would still be at community, and would never have left (the money generated by a popular show tends to soothe all problems).

  23. e says:

    i’ve watched parks and rec from the beginning and always felt like it hit its stride when ben (adam scott) and chris (rob lowe) joined the cast… leslie and ann’s relationship has always been wonderful, but for some reason, the thing that got me to cry the hardest was the goodbye between ben and chris! i think at that point the whole episode was catching up to me. i love the fact that we have this sitcom which really calls back to the old sitcoms, like cheers, which were smart, funny, and so incredibly heartfelt. the relationships between these (fake) characters feel so incredibly real, and the connections they have made over these seasons came to an wonderfully satisfying close last night. i know that most of the time television shows go through a casting change things can get a bit hairy, but this was one of the most fantastic groups, and i am very sad to see chris and ann go.

  24. Mo says:

    I thought I was ok until Leslie said goodbye to Anne at the car window. Loved this episode.