Over the past five seasons of Parks and Recreation, we’ve watched Leslie Knope find a best friend/soulmate, meet and marry the man she loves, achieve her dream of winning an election and joining the city council, and generally succeed at whatever she put her mind to. In the sixth season, things take a turn for the worse for Leslie and her friends, but unlike most comedies, the issues the characters face are not treated as issue of the week pieces and are instead serious situations that must be handled realistically.
Here is where Parks shines, bringing positivity and optimism to these real-world problems without diminishing the importance of the problem. A quote has been circulating tumblr recently from Daily Show writer Tim Carvell wherein he describes the show as a “comedy [about] people who like things, as opposed to the usual sitcom where it’s just people being awful to each other.” This is undeniably true and very important, but the positive aspects of Parks go beyond this element because the show provides its audience with hope and encouragement that can carry over into the real world, reaching viewers who suffer from those same issues.
Ben, say it again, but this time, I’m gonna turn the light on, like you just had an idea.