30 Day Parks and Recreation Challenge, Day 30: How Parks and Recreation Inspires Me

Parks and Recreation will always hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. It has such a dedication to its persistent sunny optimism that it will always bring a smile to my face, even on my worst days. But the show is so much more than just cheerful characters having good things happen to them. They grow and evolve into deeper people that aren’t just caricatures of themselves. I was actually talking to a friend about this recently: how, in so many comedies, the characters more often than not devolve into more simplistic versions of themselves (i.e. the funny one, or the neurotic one, or the one with that one catchphrase). There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that – and I love me some easy-to-digest brain candy as much as the next guy – but that isn’t what keeps people coming back to stories. It’s about the journey.

And as a writer, Parks and Rec definitely inspires me to create characters that are willing to change as they experience their lives. Take Ron, for example: at the core, he’s still the libertarian who’s obsessed with privacy and self-reliance, but he allows himself to become interconnected with the people around him, even involving himself in things that Season One Ron wouldn’t have even considered, such as writing a will so his children would not be left destitute should he pass on too early. Or look at April, who is disinterested in everything around her at the beginning of the series but, by the end of the series, takes action to be involved with something that provides her the fulfillment she so desires. I know there were plenty of people that were dissatisfied with her character arc, saying she just became another cog in the machine instead of remaining her off-putting, overly chaotic self that she was in her teens and early twenties. But she grew up, realizing that sabotaging everything for entertainment purposes and becoming a part of a team wasn’t this moratorium on being true to herself. It was just so beautifully to watch the carefully planned evolution of fictional people that you care about, and I want to create characters like that.

And that, my friends, concludes this challenge. And OMG, tomorrow is December 1st. Jesus. I haven’t even started buying Christmas presents yet! Well, anyway, stay tuned for some supplemental character posts, and I may even throw up some info about my current writing project! Stay frosty, everybody!

Art Credit: Reppiced

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