I understand that art is constantly evolving, and I can appreciate when an artist wants to part with their work to either try new things or simply take a break. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. When I found out Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe were leaving Parks and Rec, I was devastated … well, as much as you can be about fiction, I suppose. The cornerstone relationship on the show was between Leslie and Ann, and I could not imagine how things could continue without one half of that couple absent.
Honestly, this is kind of a two-parter, but since they both revolve around Ann, I’m going to congeal them into one post.
- I wish Ann had not moved away.
- I wasn’t a huge fan of Ann getting back together with Chris.
To tackle the first of these, I will start off by saying I totally understand and respect that Rashida leaving was a mutually arrived at decision between the actor and producers. But after she left, there was a hole in the series that never quite went away. Plus, she left right before the Unity Concert, which was wildly out of character for Ann, considering how important the concert was to Leslie. From a writing standpoint, I get that Ann had kind of petered out in story opportunities, especially since she decided to reunite with Chris after they decided to have a baby together, but she hadn’t stopped growing. There were so many concepts they could have tackled: co-parenting, dating other people, etc.; it just seems like such wasted material.
Which actually segues quite nicely into my second point. I love Chris Traeger and see quite a bit of myself in him, but I did not like that he and Ann became romantically involved again, at least at the pace that it happened. It was very rushed, like the writers were trying to give them a reason to leave Pawnee at the same time (which, I mean, is exactly what they were doing, but whatever). I don’t mind that they had a child together, but Ann’s journey to define her life on her terms was negated by jumping back into a relationship that had previously and spectacularly failed.
This is not to say that something couldn’t have happened between them at a later date, but nothing about it seemed organic. I get why Ann would want Chris’ sperm (he is an ideal human male specimen, regardless of Lowe’s political inclinations) and why Chris would want to start a relationship with Ann, as she’s much more confident in herself in the sixth season, but … nah. It just didn’t make sense for them to start boning again. If they had taken a bit longer to develop the story and show how and why the two got back together, I would have been more okay with it. Ann had clearly moved on emotionally and just the thought of having sex with Chris again wouldn’t have been something that would have urged her into a commitment.
Then again, if they hadn’t gotten back together, we wouldn’t have gotten this conversation, which is probably one of my favorites from the entire series:
Regardless, I really wish Ann had stayed; I missed her. #cries