Parks and Recreation aired its final episode nearly five years ago — on February 24, 2015 to be exact. But its impact continues to be felt. To wit: Galentine's Day, the ladies-centric response to Valentine's Day hatched in the Season 2 episode of the same name, just celebrated its tenth anniversary. And to ring it in, as noticed by Entertainment Weekly, co-star Aubrey Plaza posted a mini-Parks and Rec reunion with her, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, and frequent guest star and scene-stealer Kathryn Hahn.
Not unlike Seinfeld's Festivus, Galentine's Day has evolved from a joke made on a fictional comedy program into an almost-official holiday. It made its world debut on the 16th episode of the show's second season, which aired on February 11. The holiday itself was supposed to take place two days after that. Let Poehler's Leslie Knope explain:
“Every Feb. 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. ... It's like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”
Poehler also got in on the Galentine's Day social media love, posting a still from the episode on her own Instagram account.
Despite getting its name scoring the title spot, Galentine's Day itself was only mentioned in the episode's cold open. You may remember the remainder as the one where Leslie helps reunite her mom Pamela Reed with an old flame, played by John Larroquette and who winds up being a little less than the masculine ideal she had long remembered him as. In any case, happy Galentine's Day to you and yours!
Parks and Recreation has only been off the air for five years, but it's already hard not to miss Pawnee and those who lived there. Although it began in a more satirical bent, the show found its footing when it realized it wasn't a mere clone of The Office. Specifically, it got better once it realized its main hero, Middle American bureaucrat Leslie Knope Amy Poehler, was worthy of affection, not ridicule. The same went for her gaggle of weirdo co-workers, who populated the fictional Indiana town's eponymous department. Over seven seasons, from 2009 to 2015, Parks and Rec walked a fine line between batty comic invention and good vibes, able to toss off a bizarre one-liner as easily as it could find the space to pluck at the heartstrings.
Predictably, there were a lot of stand-out episodes. Quality control was consistently high for its run, making it an easy show to rewatch episodes can currently be found on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Because of this, it was tough to pick only the 20 best episodes out of a total of 125 for this list, but somehow, we managed.
20. Ron and Diane Season 5, Episode 9
The Story: Ron Swanson Nick Offerman has a new girlfriend, Diane played by no less than Lucy Lawless, and he takes her to the most Ron shindig imaginable: a woodworking award show that's honoring him. Alas, lying in wait is his much-feared ex, Tammy II Megan Mulally.
Why It's On This List: Every episode featuring a Ron ex is gold, and each one is different. There's a spectacular showdown, but what makes this one special is that Tammy II is, as it turns out, a red herring. The real beef winds up being not between Diane and Tammy II but Diane and Leslie. The former isn't cool with how chummy Leslie is with her new man, and the episode questions the nature of their unusual platonic relationship. What's more, you get to see some of Jerry's home life when he throws his annual holiday party and doesn't invite some of his co-workers.
19. The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show Season 7, Episode 4
The Story: It's the final episode of Andy Dwyer's Chris Pratt public access children's show, as he's following April Aubrey Plaza to D.C. That's it. That's the episode.
Why It's On This List: Parks and Rec had no problem going wacky, but until its final season it never went high-concept à la Community. That changed with its final season — an unusual one, set two years in the future and thus the perfect time to surrender an entire episode over to man-child Andy and his bizarre interpretation of television for actual children. Yes, the gimmick sags here and there, but for sheer outside-the-box chutzpah, it's a delight.
18. The Treaty Season 4, Episode 7
The Story: Leslie and Ben Wyatt Adam Scott have...