How to: End a Sitcom Gracefully: Parks and Recreation Edition

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Parksandrec

Friends, Parks and Recreation ended last night.  This warm, hilarious show about small government and public servants who actually serve went out not with a bang- but with a sweet, nostalgic fizz not unlike The Colbert Report’s excellent finale last December.

The year, I remind you, is 2017.  On Leslie Knope’s last day of work in the titular department, a man comes in to request a swingset be fixed.  That’s it.  Nothing life changing.  As she exchanges heartfelt words with each member of the main cast, the camera freezes on each gesture and tells us what became of Tom, Donna, Jean Ralphio, Andy and April, Garry/Jerry, Ron, and of course, Ben and Leslie.  I might have liked to see more of what became of Ann and Chris, but what we did see was wonderful.  The small story about one broken swing exists solely as a plot device for the clip-show style of the rest of the episode, but seldom does that device work so well as it did last night.

The endings for the characters never denied who they were, and rewarded their virtues without making them pay too dearly for their flaws.  Garry’s ending, even with a misspelled tombstone, was heartwarming.  A dear, optimistic man dying on his hundredth birthday, surrounded by the people he loved, who clearly loved him dearly.  Tom’s resourceful nature and neverending tenacity are rewarded, even when fate deals him a bad hand.  April and Andy grow up without maturing, as baby Jack’s incredibly long full name implies.  Everyone evolves but never changes.

Parks and Recreation was wry, but never cynical.  In a world of Breaking Bads and Game of Thrones, a world where even in comedies like The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men rely on insulting and undermining each other, Parks dared to be kind.  It dared to be gentle and sweet and believe that people could really be good to each other.  Instead of finding the humor in nastiness, it found the humor in love and devotion.  We laughed with them, not at them- except maybe for Garry.

By the time Leslie Knope said her last line: “I’m ready,” I was, too.  I loved Parks and Recreation, and I’m happy it got to go out on its own terms.  NBC didn’t do the show justice cramming all of its episodes into a few weeks, but I’m grateful we got this last season to say farewell.  For me, two words started the waterworks:  “Ann’s here.”  The sheer joy and emotion in Poehler’s voice sold the moment, and I was happy to see all of these wonderful people together in one place one last time, too.
How I Met Your Mother writers, take note: This is how a sitcom finale is done.  Realistic, cathartic, and respectful of the characters, their world, and the fans.  I leave you with one of the most basic moments of Parks and Recreation, celebrating unity and mini horses.

http://youtu.be/_NbBGrBxRhs

Pretty Nerdy Party Planning: Parks and Recreation

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Parks and Recreation’s final season opens this week, and we think you should Treat Yo-Self to a fun Pawnee themed party to see out one of the sweetest, funniest, warmest shows on television.

Decor:

  • Throw together simple typography prints of your favorite lines.

Suggestions:

  • “I love you and I like you.”
  • “You had me at meat tornado.”
  • “It says you might have network connectivity problems.”
  • “Treat Yo’Self.”
  • The Pawnee Goddess pledge.
  • ‘Slowing down is not really my jam.”
  • “Friends. Waffles.  Work.”

 

  • Be sure to post the Entertainment 720 logo around.  Include a VIP section no one is important enough to sit in.
  • Arrange some stuffed Mini Horses to be both Li’l Sebastian and Imposter.

tom-haverford

Apps:

Let’s take our cue from Tom Haverford for the “Apps”-

  • Chicky Chicky Parm Parm- Bake up some chicken nuggets and cover with sauce and cheese.  Stick a toothpick in each nugget.
  • Without the sauce and cheese, call it “Chicky Chicky Fry Fry.”  Lazy option: use this as the entree and buy premade fried chicken.  We’re not Martha Stewart here at PNT.  We’re not judging you.
  • Mini Calzones, because i love Ben Wyatt and so can you.

 

Tray-Trays:

There are two more routes you can take here, or you can combine them.

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THE RON:

Meat.  Meat everywhere.  All of your eggs. and all of your bacon.  Hamburgers with just meat (you can put ketchup if you want to- I don’t care.)

THE LESLIE:

Waffles.  Waffles everywhere.

RON AND LESLIE:

Waffles and Bacon.

leslie-knope-waffles

Zerts:  

If you went the Ron route with the food, try the Leslie route for cake, by layering waffles with whipped cream or icing to create a beautiful layer cake.

 

If you went Leslie with the food, go with a breakfast dessert that is not waffles.   If it’s made with dough or batter, you can put it in a waffle maker.  Cinnamon rolls?  Cake?  Cookies?  The world is yours, my friend.

If you went both, buy or make a cake, stick a sign in front of it that says  “Big Ol’Cookie”  and you’re set.  Write “Treat Yo’Self” on the cake.

snakejuice-ad

Drinks:

  • Use Whiskey as replacement “Snake Juice.”  Please be careful.  Do not die.
  • Find the biggest cups you have.  Put soda in them.
  • Be sure to serve Tom Haverford’s favorite: Magic Water (root beer.)
  • Some strong coffee would probably be a good idea.

 

Favors:

Plush Mini Horses!  Let your guests take them home.  What are you going to do with ten of them anyhow?

 

Music:

Easy One.   Mouse Rat is real.

Dress:

If a dress made out of newspaper clippings of your personal successes is not feasible, and you didn’t buy a Batsuit during your last Treat Yo’Self day, just dress in the spirit of your favorite character.  Be neat and cute like Chris or Ann, professional like Leslie or Ben, or thrown together like April and Andy.  Or do as Donna and Tom would do: wear whatever you want.

 

As always, check out Pinterest for more on this Party!

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2014 Emmys: a Will Win/ Should Win (Lead Actor Edition)

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The 2014 Emmy Nominations have been released!  There’s definitely some controversial  omissions .  We’re going to take you through a will win/ should win, right now for lead actors, because there are kind of a lot of categories.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:

Breaking Bad • AMC
Bryan Cranston as Walter White
House Of Cards • Netflix •
Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood
Mad Men • AMC
Jon Hamm as Don Draper
The Newsroom • HBO
Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy
True Detective • HBO
Woody Harrelson as Martin Hart
True Detective • HBO
Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle

Will Win and Should Win: Bryan Cranston, for his terrifying turn in the last season of Breaking Bad.   McConaughey and Harrelson could very well split any votes True Detective would garner, and it’s not wise to bet against the one who knocks.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Downton Abbey • PBS
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley
The Good Wife • CBS
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick
Homeland • Showtime
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
House Of Cards • Netflix •
Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
Masters of Sex • Showtime 
Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson
Scandal • ABC 
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope

Will Win:  Claire Danes has won twice for Homeland, but many feel the show has lost its way a little bit in the most recent season. Honestly, I could see this going to anyone but Lizzy Caplan- Masters of Sex simply isn’t popular enough.
Should Win: 
Kerry Washington.  She’s been nominated before for the role, but her Presidential fixer has risen to become a cultural icon.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Dancing On The Edge • Starz
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Louis Lester
Fargo • FX Networks
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard
Fargo • FX Networks
Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo
Luther • BBC America
Idris Elba as John Luther
The Normal Heart • HBO
Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks
Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece) • PBS
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes

Will Win: Ruffalo’s a strong contender for his turn in the star-studded, high-profile The Normal Heart.
Should Win: 
Cumberbatch has never been better as Sherlock Holmes

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

American Horror Story: Coven • FX Networks
Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode
American Horror Story: Coven • FX Networks
Sarah Paulson as Cordelia Goode Foxx
Burton And Taylor • BBC America
Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth Taylor
Return To Zero • Lifetime
Minnie Driver as Maggie Royal
The Spoils Of Babylon • IFC
Kristen Wiig as Cynthia Morehouse
The Trip To Bountiful • Lifetime
Cicely Tyson as Carrie Watts

Will Win: Jessica Lange, though not necessarily for her turn as Fiona.  The Emmys might hand over the award because she didn’t win for Sister Jude.
Should Win: Kristen Wiig, but comedies don’t really fare well outside their own category.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory • CBS
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper
Derek • Netflix
Ricky Gervais as Derek
Episodes • Showtime
Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc
House Of Lies • Showtime
Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
Louie • FX Networks
Louis C.K. as Louie
Shameless • Showtime
William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher

Will Win: The Emmys love The Big Bang Theory, and Parsons has had more opportunities to act and grow as a character this season than in previous ones.  Expect that to be rewarded.  The only new face is Ricky Gervais, and I’m sure people are still not particularly fond of him after the Golden Globes.
Should Win: I’m actually pulling for Parsons, given that he actually made catchphrase-spouting Sheldon human again this season.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Girls • HBO
Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath
Mike & Molly • CBS
Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn
Nurse Jackie • Showtime 
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Orange Is The New Black • Netflix 
Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman
Parks and Recreation • NBC 
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
Veep • HBO
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer

Will Win: The Emmys love Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  In a category with few new faces, they might stick with the status quo.  Orange is the New Black is fabulous, but Schilling’s character is largely considered the least interesting part of it.
Should Win: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation.  A beautiful balance of bumbling, steely, brilliant, sweet, and courageous. She’s far overdue.

(Later today, I will post for supporting actors!)