10 Things I Learned from 'Parks and Recreation'

I fell in love with Parks & Rec in 2016, which is reason enough for it to have been a good year. This television show is absolutely golden, making me both laugh and cry (I still can’t watch season five’s “Halloween Surprise” and “Leslie and Ben” episodes without getting emotional). I only wish I had started watching the show sooner. Seven seasons aired before I cared about the show. Now, with the seventh and final season being binge-watched on Netflix, I just wish we’d had more time together, Parks & Rec. But here is what I did learn.

Season Five (NBC)

Season Five (NBC)

You deserved my devotion years ago, but I promise you will have my devotion for years to come. As proof, here are ten things I’ve learned from Parks and Recreation:

1. Breakfast food is the best food.

Whether you’re more of a Leslie and prefer waffles, or you’re a Ron and could eat plates and plates of bacon and eggs, breakfast food is delicious. Seriously, “why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?”

2. All sorts of people can get along. Opposites really do attract.

The Pawnee Parks department is the most random conglomeration of co-workers. Their personalities are so different from one another, from sassy, Mercedes-driving Donna, to optimistic and determined Leslie, to swagger-ific and entrepreneurial-minded Tom, and everyone else. They are all very different and don’t always agree, but their friendships are absolutely wonderful to watch.

3. Treat yo self.

Thanks, Tom Haverford, because this is definitely a lesson I’ve taken to heart. If something makes me happy, sometimes it is worthwhile to indulge in that thing without worrying about the consequences (the one exception, I’d say, is if the consequences could harm someone else). Bad day and need cheering up? Treat yo self. Just received good news? Treat yo self. Bored? Treat yo self.

4. Sometimes you gotta work a little to ball a lot.

Yet another piece of Tom Haverford wisdom. There were far too many times that I needed to work on an essay, went to dinner with friends instead, and then came home and became stressed over how little time I had left to finish the essay. Sometimes you don’t get to do what you want until you do what you have to do.

5. If a movie has been out for more than 25 years, you can livetweet it and not have to post #spoileralert.

I don’t know about you, but coming across spoilers for movies, books, TV shows, etc., online sucks. It’s expected for people on social media to tag or announce their spoilers to help protect the un-spoiled from learning information before they’re ready. But how long does something have to be out before you don’t have to do this courtesy? Well, Donna Meagle gave me the answer. In one of my favorite episodes, “Halloween Surprise,” Donna live-tweets the Death Canoe movie only for a Pawnee resident to get angry that she didn’t acknowledge the spoilers in her tweets. She defends herself because the movie was 25 years old. Now I know that anything related to something that was released over 25 years ago doesn’t have to announce #spoileralert.

6. Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

Ron Swanson is literally a genius. Instead of completing two things semi-decently, devote your attention to one thing and complete it wonderfully. Quality over quantity.

7. Good friends are so important. And good co-workers.

This kinda has to do with #2, but the relationships are part of what makes the show so great. Whether it is the friendship between Leslie and Ann or the work relationship between Chris and Ben, the characters love each other as co-workers and friends. And these friends and work relationships really make a difference in the show being as fantastic as it is. This show constantly reminds me that good friends and good co-workers are a blessing.

8. Nerd culture is mainstream now, so being a “nerd” isn’t an insult anymore.

The precious Ben Wyatt is to thank for this bit of enlightenment. I’ve been called a nerd derogatorily before and actually let it affect my self-esteem. But like Ben said, “nerd culture is mainstream now.” It’s cool to be a nerd; I shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

9. Hard work and perseverance can make a difference.

Leslie turned a pit into a park. She faced a lot of resistance and discouragement, but she didn’t let the doubts and negativity faze her. She kept at it, and what did she do in the end? She made the park. That woman is poster child for perseverance and effort. She’s such an inspiration.

10. Be passionate about whatever you do.

Leslie Knope’s passion for the Parks department is infectious. She loves her job and genuinely wants to make a difference. Her passion makes such a difference in her work. I hope to do everything with half of the passion that Leslie Knope does everything.