They haven’t moved to the town from Footloose, instead Buzzfeed broke the news yesterday that Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe are leaving Parks and Recreation. This double exit will take place after the 13th episode of the forthcoming sixth season. Reaction to this was mixed (well at least on my Twitter feed it was) ranging from cries of “Nooooooooo,” a repeated use of the word LITERALLY and others suggesting it will rejuvenate the show. I stand somewhere in the middle as both performers are fantastic to watch but in a show that can feel crowded at times, they get the short shrift in character development and plot. After spotting an old ad for the Rob Lowe show Lyon’s Den I had a conversation with fellow This Was TV colleague Noel Kirkpatrick yesterday afternoon, this was before the news broke and we discussed Lowe’s role in an ensemble after his previous exit from The West Wing. A complete coincidence of course, or we might have jinxed it.
Chris and Ann have both suffered on the show with how their characters sometimes fit in to the overall narrative; Ann has often just been there as “the girlfriend” (which they seemed to acknowledge with the whole dating herself storyline last season) and Chris has a lot of funny quirks but not much else (his therapy sessions attempted to broaden his character). Quite often they are there to service other characters and while they are both funny they have a habit of getting lost in the ensemble in terms of development beyond jokes. This is clear in how they both provide important stability in their friendships to both Leslie and Ben. The Leslie/Ann dynamic is one of my favorites on the show and great female friendships can be hard to find on TV. I’m sure Leslie will be supportive of Ann’s decision, however I don’t think we can rule out a plan to sabotage Ann’s Pawnee exit. The projected leaving date is around February and could tie in with one last epic Galantine’s Day.
It’s too early to speculate exactly how they will leave, but their story is currently tied together as Ann and Chris are trying to have a baby together. Rashida Jones has a deal with her Jesse and Celeste Forever writing partner Will McCormack for Warner Bros. Television and this movie was a highlight last year, so I am excited for what they will produce next. This could be better suited to Jones’ talents and a show where she gets to be the star is something I am very much for. Rob Lowe has been involved in other projects recently including Behind the Candelabra and the upcoming Killing Kennedy. If this means we can get a Dr Startz spinoff then it will make it all worth it (hey I can dream).
Here is the Leslie/Ann dance party scene from last season that is one of my favorites, I’m sure they will squeeze in a lot more in the next 13 episodes.