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How to Fill the Ann Void on 'Parks and Recreation'

By Jordan Smith, Hollywood Staff

In what's probably the smartest move made by any characters on Parks and Recreation, Ann and Chris are finally leaving Pawnee. And with that move, the new couple is escaping the bizarre little town with hellish public forum meetings, racist murals, and a general populace that still uses AltaVista as their search engine of choice, and departing Pawnee to raise their baby on the relatively sane shores of Michigan.

Losing Chris Trager, Pawnee's resident microchip, is a heartache on its own, but losing Ann is by far the bigger tragedy, even though it might not seem that way. Ann has been a part of Parks and Recreation since the beginning, and even though the show has often struggled with giving Rashida Jones' character much in the way of fun plot lines, she did serve as a ballast that anchored the increasingly absurd cast. More than that, Ann was Leslie's best friend, and their friendship stretches across many of the show's best moments. Parks and Recreation has often been celebrated for showing this authentic close female friendship, and one that didn't succumb to cruel gossip or competitions over men (lows to which so many other television shows often stoop).

So what is Leslie going to do without her magnificent tree of life, her beautiful tropical fish that makes her world make sense? Once Ann and Chris finally leave Pawnee in their rearview, Leslie needs to find a new best friend to fill the Ann void. But who's the best fit? Should Leslie become besties with Donna or April, the two women still left in Pawnee's Parks Department? What about one of those Eagleton transplants from earlier in the season? We think that April has the most potential out of the people left in the cast. Aubrey Plaza's character has grown up a lot from her days as an intern in the Parks Department and has transformed from a lazy and demented slacker to a slightly less lazy and a little more demented, yet effective member of the team, and that's in no small part thank's to Leslie's mentorship.

We would love to see Leslie take a renewed focus into developing April into something special. We would also love to see more stories with Donna and Leslie interacting with each other. Donna has often felt like too much of a side character, and it would be nice to see the lovely Retta mixing it up with the cast a bit more, and become a more developed character. The beauty of Parks and Rec is that it has developed a diverse cast of characters over the past six years. Characters that can make new connections and continue to surprise and entertain. Even though the show is losing it's lovely powerful musk ox, Parks and Recreation will be fine, and so will Leslie.

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