Bye bye Li’l Sebastian: Fans say farewell to NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”

Five years, six seasons, and 125 episodes after its premiere, NBC’s hit comedy “Parks and Recreation” is preparing for its final season. Losing “Parks and Recreation” is like losing one of the sun’s rays; it remains one of the only shows that makes my stomach hurt from laughing with every episode.

Story by Emily Gibson

“My heart is broken,” said UT Austin sophomore Amanda Conway. “When they canceled it, I cried. When you love something, you know, it isn’t easily let go.”

The cast of "Parks and Recreation." Photo from nbcparksandrec.tumblr.com

The cast of “Parks and Recreation.” Photo from nbcparksandrec.tumblr.com

The show was left out of NBC’s fall lineup, causing speculation that the final season may premiere mid-season and be shorter than the usual 22 episodes, something that hasn’t been done since the six-episode first season in 2009.

According to showrunners, the show was nearing its natural end, and keeping it on any longer would be dragging it out. Though I would be content to watch the show forever, I understand that they want to cut it off before it becomes a burden to watch and make.

Since its premiere in 2009, the show has received surprisingly low viewership for how critically acclaimed and loved it is. Though it is acknowledged as one of the best television comedies, it has been snubbed yearly at award shows, and its viewership has continued to dwindle. Still, though, it is always positively reviewed for its writing, acting, and character development.

The original idea for “Parks and Recreation” was a spin-off of “The Office.” Show creators Greg Daniels and Mike Schur, who had both worked on “The Office,” decided to scrap that idea and make a different workplace comedy instead.

Since the show was created by the same people and was originally a spin-off of “The Office,” it is not surprising that “Parks and Recreation” follows the same mockumentary format. However, they are using the last season to experiment with deviating from the now-signature style. Personally, I find that concerning. Like “The Office,” the mockumentary format has become a “Parks and Recreation” staple, and some of the funniest lines were spoken directly into the camera.

Some fans such as Conway, however, are not worried, and believe in the show’s talented writing team to keep it strong through its final season.

“The documentary style filming has always been interesting — but it made the show too much like ‘The Office,'” said Conway. “The characters themselves can hold the show together.”

The show’s writing has kept fans engaged and laughing for seasons. Each character has developed a distinct and strong personality, making the drama that ensues in the fictional Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department even funnier.

The characters are written in a way that makes them interesting, complex, and easy for fans to fall in love with. After years of watching the show, I have become April Ludgate, I’ve taken life advice tom Tom Haverford and Donna Noble, who taught me to always “treat yo self,” and I’ve developed an odd love for waffles like Leslie Knope.

“[The characters] are all so polarized that any attempt to meet in the middle just ends in disaster,” said Conway. “They are all so individual and funny, so it’s always funny to watch them interacting with each other.”

The show’s sixth season ended with a three-year time jump, where fans are assuming the seventh season will resume. Though I am excited to see what the writers have in store, each day we get closer to the premiere means another day we get closer to the series finale. And I am not ever going to be ready to say goodbye.

Like Pawnee's tearful goodbye to Li'l Sebastian, fans are having trouble letting go of "Parks and Recreation." Photo from hwdyk.com

Like Pawnee’s tearful goodbye to Li’l Sebastian, fans are having trouble letting go of “Parks and Recreation.” Photo from hwdyk.com

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