Fellow Geeklings I am a day and a half removed from finishing Parks and Rec and the void of the show sits deep in my chest.The completion of any show, yes even the crappy ones, leaves a void on it’s viewer, but the truly remarkable shows… well their absence leaves a hole borrowed deeply through your heart. Think of it like a relationship that ends and you’re left wondering what you did to make the other person stop loving you or in this case stop making episodes. If I can use the power of gifs to help make this analogy better, finishing watching the series has got me all like…
Right? I feel both those facial emotions at the same time. Now I know what most of you are thinking, “Kevin if your face is expressing both of those facial emotions at the same time won’t it explode?”, and my answer to you is the science is still unproven on that particular outcome. Although my face hurts most of the time or more accurately feels confused.
For the longest time I didn’t watch Parks and Rec and it wasn’t because there was a lack of interest. I’ve always been a fan of Amy Poehler (side note I just picked up her book on Amazon dirt cheap on sale. What whaaaaaaaat. See you after the Goblet of Fire. Yes I plan my books this far in advance). I knew it came from the creator of The Office, Greg Daniels, and was one of those talking head shows. For those of you who ever wondered, does Kevin like talking head shows, the answer to that question is a resounding yes, yes he does. The truth of the matter is I never got around to it. When I first got interested in the show it seemed too late in the game so I just put it on the shelf with the empty intentions of getting to it one day. I say empty only because there are ton of shows that I say I’m going to get to and still haven’t watched (looking at you Battlestar Galactica and The Wire) and just figured Parks and Rec would fall into that category.
Enter a first date that more or less resulted in the viewing of the entire first season and I knew that this was something that was going to go down. And go down it did (you know after mentioning the date part of this story the “go down” comment just seems unintentionally dirty. My bad. To clear things up by “go down” I meant the show viewing and no other context what so ever. Also to my Mother who could be reading this in which case… I’m sorry.) Wow. That got weird. I’m just going to move on as if that never happened. Agreed? Alright then.
My obsession with Parks and Rec started suddenly and then burnt fiercely. I’d watch mostly on the weekend because during the week I had other shows to clean off my DVR, but even those limited viewings resulted in at least a season and a half consumed in a weekend. I have a lot of free time apparently. Then something glorious happened. Most of my shows took a March break. I don’t understand why they did, just seems like bad marketing to me. “Hey, stories are starting to rev up and we’re building to our conclusion of the season…see you in a month!” While I may not agree with the strategy it did allow me to sneak Parks and Rec into every night viewing. And while I had complete freedom to watch over the weekends, I had to stop myself during the week so I could get some sleep before work. I hear that sort of thing is important.
There was an underlining weirdness to Parks and Rec that I didn’t expect but grew to adore. This weirdness wasn’t focused to just one single character, no, every one had their own little brand of weird they brought to the table. April is an obvious choice with her hatred of everything and bizarre analogies, Lil Sebastian, Duke Silver, Leslie’s obsession with waffles, Andy and all his different identities, everything that has to do with Jerry/Barry/Gary, Ron and Tammy II and how he can sense her, Ben’s many attempts to work at that accounting firm, Jon Ralphio, and the list goes on and on. Through that weirdness though there is a layer of absolute heart and feels that is the pulse of this show. While I didn’t expect such deep weirdness, the tenderness and love that flowed through this show also caught me off guard and quickly swept me in.
While an outsider to Pawnee I believed the show would be just a vehicle for the awesomeness of Amy Poehler, and I couldn’t have been any more wrong about that. Yes, Poehler shines and shines brightly throughout the entire series, but Parks and Rec doesn’t work without it’s cast. Everyone is given an opportunity to glow and bring their brand of humor and that’s one of the things that works the most for the show. There’s a diverseness of humor spread among the characters and when put together it gels so perfectly. I found it difficult to pick a favorite character because I believe each character is a spoke on a wheel and that wheel wouldn’t work as well if you removed a spoke. I mean come on people, this is basic wheel analogies one-oh-one.
I regret not watching the show while it was on the air but the binging of it brought on something else entirely. I was able to pick up on most of the re-occuring jokes as they happened and story lines flowed fluidly into each other. Side note the story telling on Parks and Rec is some of the best I’ve ever seen in any sitcom. The writers actually advance their characters and their stories in a way that makes sense and seems appropriate. The binge watching allowed me to appreciate that and all of the other little things that helped make the show spectacular. And when you think about it that’s the beauty of binging. Think of it this way. If you’re reading a book you wouldn’t get half way through, put it down for six months, and then pick it up again. That’s basically what it’s like watching programs on a weekly basis. Binging allows you you to bury yourself fully into the story giving you the bigger picture that the writers and show creators want you to experience.
But what happens when the binge ends? The void. I spent probably close to two months with my friends in Pawnee, and now I’ve finished their story and only have the great re-watchings to visit them again. When you watch something while it airs the end of a series has a different effect on you. When you binge something, there’s a large amount of time viewing the program, in some cases almost daily. There is so much consumption that when the series is over there’s that “what do I do now” feeling. And that is kind of one of the downfalls of binge watching. I try my best to savor things that I’m enjoying but I also don’t want to keep myself from being excited about them. It’s a clear catch 22.
My void for Parks and Rec should be short lived as the second season of Daredevil comes out on Friday so I’ll be able to pick that up, but in between then and now who knows. Honestly I’ll probably just hop around through favorite episodes of Parks and Rec ignoring some of the shows sitting in my DVR. Cause like any relationship it’s tough to say goodbye, and sometimes you need to ease yourself into the pain while you try and recapture those moments of binging bliss. At least until the next show comes along to distract you from the binging blues.