Friday, February 13, 2015

The genius of April and Andy

Photo credit NBC
I, along with everyone I know, am on a huge Parks and Rec high at the moment. They are ending it on such a high note - harkening back to some of the series' most memorable jokes without getting too heavy-handed. (Exhibit A: Treat Yoself 2017!) And the characters have all developed in believable ways since the show left off three years previous.

But I think my favorite part of the season so far is April and Andy and how they've evolved over the course of the series. When they first got together, April, for all her anti-social quirks, was the responsible one with a steady job. Andy was a sort of dopey guy who mostly wanted to play with his band and shine the occasional shoe. Now, a few years later, Andy has parlayed his childlike sense of fun and imagination into a successful, fulfilling creative career. He's doing a grown-up version of what he’s always loved. April, on the other hand, is fumbling a bit, feeling like she's wasted ten years of her life on a job that's not her real passion, but unsure what her real passion is. And along the way, they each made a few attempts at new careers that didn't pan out – Andy with the police academy and April with veterinary school.

That portrayal of a young couple figuring out their careers feels so realistic to me. The roles can reverse, over time, with regards to who is secure and confident in their path and who is searching and struggling. It’s not that there are some people who always have their shit together and some people who never do. Instead, it’s a constantly evolving process as we all go through periods of stability and periods of questioning in our career paths. It rings true with what I’ve learned about life and career so far – that periods of feeling lost and uncertain can lead to greater growth and fulfillment (and, apparently, TV gigs as Johnny Karate). And that just because you know what you're doing now doesn't mean you always will.

Of course, I also love the portrayal of Leslie and Ben addressing the challenge of balancing their relationship with their careers in politics and public service. But they're a bit further along than I am in their careers and family life. At this point, April and Andy are where it's at.

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