Your Comprehensive Guide To Hosting The Ultimate ‘Parks And Recreation’ Finale Viewing Party
The final episode EVER airs tomorrow afternoon.
After six glorious years and seven iconic seasons, this week officially marks the end of Parks and Recreation.
The final episode of the legendary series will air tomorrow night in the US and the world will begrudgingly say goodbye to Ron Swanson, with a perfunctory nod accompanied by a heavy and meaningful silence; Leslie Knope, with an enormous rib-crushing hug that leads to an inevitable downward spiral of incessant scrapbooking; and Garry Gergich, with a quick wave.
The show of course leaves an enormous legacy. Though initially conceived as a kind of redux of The Office, Parks and Recreation has proven itself as one of the most unique and consistently clever comedies of the past decade. Just think about it: this is a show about a vocal feminist and aggressively friendly person who works in a low-stakes department of local government. This is a show that drops obscure references about David Foster Wallace, treats Joe Biden like a rock star and can still single-handedly launch the career of the guy rumoured to be the next Indiana Jones.
Because of all this, and the myriad other ways Parks and Rec has no doubt affected you, it really deserves to be sent out in style. It’s time to call the biggest dorks you know, cram ’em all in front of your TV and throw a viewing party so good it would make ‘Lil Sebastian shed tears of joy from pony heaven.
Step 1: Food
I cannot emphasise this enough: food is everything. And, while that is generally just an excellent rule to live your life by, it is even more true in the universe of Pawnee. Seriously. We’ve written about this at length.
This is a place known for JJ’s Diner, Paunch Burger’s child-size sodas — “literally the size of a child” — or Sweetums’ Nutri-yum bars which are made with “love, sunshine, and a little bit of corn syrup”. The town’s food is completely inseparable from its people.
For the Leslie fans:
– Waffles. Enormous stacks of waffles served with an industrial vat of whipped cream.
– Emergency cans of whipped cream for direct mouth-to-nozzle consumption.
– Candy. Like “Halloween in a rich US neighbourhood” amounts of candy.
– Bowls of sugar each adorned with a single straw.
– An IV filled with corn syrup.
For the Tom fans:
– Adam Sandlers.
– Long-ass rice.
– Fry-fry chicky-chick.
– Chicky-chicky parm-parm.
– Super water.
– Bean blankets.
Basically, you can serve anything as long as you have a good name for it. If you’re having trouble of coming up with something, keep refreshing the page at Tom Haverfoods. It will not disappoint.
For the Ron fans:
– All of the bacon and eggs you have.
– Good shared meat.
– Rare porterhouse steak.
– Meat tornado.
– Hamburgers made out of meat on a bun, possibly with ketchup.
If you’re vegetarian or would instead like some treat that exemplifies your love for both Ron and Leslie then you are permitted to make a variation of these breakfast-themed cupcakes.
For the Ben fans:
Step 2: Drinks
Now, your first point of call is going to be Snake Juice. Made with equal parts rocket fuel and pure liquid terror, this mystifying drink gifted us one of the greatest episodes of the entire show.
But don’t let the fact that it’s fictitious get you down. The website for the Snakehole Lounge — which is actually a thing — describes the drink as a “delicious blend of many kinds of alcohol, coffee, sugar and ingredients” and even has a selection of Snake Juice-inspired cocktails including the Slithery Russian, the Forked Tongue and the Hiss Cream Soda.
As someone who watched people slam poison into their bodies for four years behind a bar, my best guess for IRL Snake Juice is Patrón XO Café — an unreasonably expensive coffee-based tequila that will make you bleed from your ears. Enjoy!
If you’d rather class it up a bit, I suggest whipping up some whiskey-infused hand lotion by pouring half a bottle of Johnny Walker into a tub of Aesop moisturiser, opting for a ‘Joan Callamezzo’ — a tumbler full of gin with cracked Asprin around the rim — or shelling out for a $100 bottle of Lagavulin.
Step 3: Costumes
As most people don’t usually dress up to watch television, this step is obviously optional. But let’s face it: if you’re having a viewing party for a TV show about the parks department of a rural town in America, you’ve probably already dealt with the fact that you’re a bit of a nerd.
As such, I implore you to use this opportunity to go ALL OUT. Anyone can put on a pantsuit and a blonde wig and call themselves Leslie Knope and all it takes to be Andy Dwyer is a flannel shirt and some boxer shorts. But here are some ideas for the people who really care.
– Ron in full Tammy mode: bonus points if you leave your kimono open.
– Tammy as Jam and Ron finally leave her: stark naked and screaming.
– Leslie’s best friend, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
– Barney Varmn: head accountant at Tilton & Radomski Accounting.
– The presumably twice-divorced 2017 version of Mark Brendanawicz.
– The incredibly attractive child of Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger (use your imagination).
– Mona Lisa Saperstein, because come on, that would just be a fun night.
Step 4: Activities
Of course, watching the show itself will be the main event of the evening, but it would be nothing but an insult to the memory of Leslie Knope if you left it at that.
You should really have gift bags for each of your guests to commemorate the time their spent in your home; perhaps a scrapbook of covert photos of them watching the show or episode stills you’ve edited ahead of time to include their face.
Alternatively, you could recreate a version of Cones of Dunshire — I don’t really see the Kickstarter one getting here on time — enlist some friends to perform as the chard dancers, or go full baller and take some tips from Entertainment 720.
Someone please make a shrimp wall.
Step 5: Music
Nothing but bangers. Spotify have you sorted.
The final episode of Parks and Recreation airs on February 24 at 10pm in the US which translates to tomorrow afternoon for us. (Yes, you have to get this ready by tomorrow).