In the same way, Parks creator Michael Schur came from The Office, and in a time when that series was starting to show its age he identified the reasons why. For example, in the early days the folks at Dunder-Mifflin didn’t really know one another outside of work. As it went on, it needed to put the cast in non-work situation more and more often. That’s perfectly reasonable, but it didn’t make sense in the face of what was established. And then everybody went to Jim and Pam’s wedding, outnumbering any actual friends they might have had and the reality broke a little. There are other things, but I’m not here to pick on The Office. The point is that Schur avoided this by building his show around the enormous power of Leslie Knope. Instead of people getting by in a job that they would never love, Parks gave us an idealist who made the most every day. Leslie made her co-workers into fiends whether they wanted it or not.
With just that one tweak, Parks could leave the office without it feeling weird. It meant they always had something to talk about. And maybe most important, it gave the characters the ability to move on. So many of the characters moved forward in their jobs or changed careers. On another show, that’s how you write somebody out. But when Tom left the Parks Department, Aziz Ansari didn’t go away. These were his friends and they stayed involved in his life. Because Leslie created these bonds, characters were free to pursue their dreams. They never had to stick to a status quo in order to retain the ast. And because they didn’t remain in stasis, I think I cared about them more than I otherwise would have.