Just because Pawnee, Indiana, isn’t a real place doesn’t mean you can’t live there. Over seven incredibly consistent seasons of Parks and Recreation, creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur—along with an A-list creative team and one of the best ensemble casts in sitcom history—founded a living, breathing community of oddballs and eccentrics, a town where the breakfast food is to die for if you can make it past the raccoon packs. What started as an offshoot of The Office with a Midwestern twist quickly turned into a live-action cartoon, a carousel of recurring characters that each could have gotten a spinoff if they pitched it loud enough at a public forum.
And at the center was the Parks Department, a group of workplace associates turned friends turned family. Led by living ball of scrapbooked positivity Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), this crew transformed from workplace comedy clichés into something at once relatable and unbelievable. The deadpan loner (Aubrey Plaza) and the hapless oaf (Chris Pratt) fell in love at the shoe-shine stand. The mustachioed curmudgeon in the corner office (Nick Offerman) learned to care about more than meat. Donna Meagle (Retta) came to live for more than a Mercedes, and Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari)—real-life unpleasantness notwithstanding—journeyed from man-child to child-sized man.
Jerry Gergich… survived. I think. Something is definitely off by the end.
In the words of Perd Hapley: This, the “Top 50 Parks and Recreation Episodes, Ranked,” is a ranking of the top 50 episodes of Parks and Recreation. Enjoy.