Ann Perkins

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Ann Perkins
Parks and Recreation character
Ann Perkins.jpg
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance "Ann and Chris"
(as a Series Regular)
"Galentine's Day"
(Guest Appearance)
Portrayed by Rashida Jones
Information
Occupation Nurse
Health Department Public Relations Director of Pawnee, Indiana
Significant other(s) Andy Dwyer (ex-boyfriend)
Mark Brendanawicz (ex-boyfriend)
Chris Traeger (boyfriend)
Tom Haverford (ex-boyfriend)
Children Oliver Perkins-Traeger (With Chris)

Ann Meredith Perkins, RN is a fictional character in the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. She is a nurse and the best friend of Leslie Knope, and is portrayed by Rashida Jones.

Storyline[edit]

Season one[edit]

At the start of the series, Ann Perkins was dating Andy Dwyer, her live-in boyfriend. Ann matured faster than Andy did and, while Ann entered into a career in nursing, Andy remained lazy, spoiled and unemployed.[1] After Andy falls into a large pit next to her apartment and breaks his legs, Ann is inspired to attend parks and recreation meetings to advocate the pit be filled in, which leads Ann to befriend parks deputy director Leslie Knope.[2] Eventually, after Andy's leg casts are removed, Ann learns he could have taken them off weeks prior, but did not because he enjoyed being pampered and spoiled by Ann. This leads to an angry confrontation, and eventually the two break up, much to Andy's despair.[3]

Season two[edit]

After Mark (Pawnee city planner) fell into the construction pit (at the end of season one), he is nursed by Ann during his time at the hospital. The two develop a romantic interest in each other and start dating only after Leslie, who previously harbored feelings for Mark, assures Ann she is fine with the pairing.[4] At first, she seems to be happy with Mark, but as time goes on, she starts getting bored having a normal and healthy relationship, remembering that her relationship with Andy, while terrible, was more interesting. Furthermore, she shows a hint of jealousy toward Andy's budding relationship with April. She and Mark break up, and Mark leaves his job working for the government. In the season finale episode after Andy crashes his motorcycle, Ann kisses him while nursing him at the hospital. One night she gets drunk and kisses state auditor Chris Traeger, which prompts him to continually ask her out on a date, which she refuses to do because she is put off by his excessive positivity.

Season three[edit]

Ann continues to be asked out by Chris but continually refuses. Leslie sees an opportunity to utilize Chris' positivity to bring more funds into the parks department by having Ann bring it up on a date. While out, Ann learns of the reason for Chris's positivity: he was expected to die as a baby and so is happy to still be alive many years later; as a result she takes a genuine liking to him. Their date is ruined when both Leslie and Ben crash it and Leslie accidentally reveals the motive behind the date. Ann later apologizes to Chris and asks him out on another date and the two soon enter into a relationship. Initially Ann was intimidated by Chris' intensity, calling him "the perfect human man". But after he is incapacitated by a serious flu virus and so drops his appearance of perfection, Ann relaxes. After a few weeks of dating Ann is infatuated enough with Chris to have no issues with the idea of leaving Pawnee and following him to Indianapolis. When the two discuss the issue of a long distance relationship or the notion of Ann moving with him, Ann believes that things are a bit cleared up although she came up with no definite solution on the issue. Ann later tells Leslie of Chris being distant after their "talk", which prompts Leslie to search his house for items that could suggest his infidelity when she and Ron visit his house in Indianapolis. There she finds a pink razor and pink swim cap, and calls Ann about it who storms into Chris' house drilling him about whether he is cheating on her, only to find out that he had actually broken up with her in their conversation the week before; Ann did not realize he had dumped her because Chris was so cheerful about it and Ann had never been dumped in her life before this point. Ann is shown to be emotionally affected by the break up, and begins engaging in impulsive behaviors, such as dying part of her hair red and making out with a patient during the Harvest Festival. When Chris returns to Pawnee as the temporary city manager, the two of them discuss their relationship over dinner, where Ann is fooled again by his positive attitude into thinking their relationship is back on. In order to cope, she decides to start dating again, which causes her to be more distant from Leslie. Leslie, in response, recommends her as the new health department public relations director. Ann ends up taking the job part time so she can still be a nurse at the hospital.

Season four[edit]

In season four, Ann moves on from Chris after they shoot a PSA. Ann gets closer to Ron and April after she tells them a disgusting medical story. This results from several failed attempts to engage in small talk, over fact-checking Leslie's book. Ann is again a big supporter in Leslie and Ben getting back together. She also agrees to help Leslie with her campaign and temporarily became her campaign manager. In Operation Ann, Leslie tries to help Ann meet a date. She ends up going out with Tom even though almost everything he does frustrates her and they frequently break up. On election night, a drunken Ann agrees to move in with Tom.

Season five[edit]

In season five, Ann and Tom have moved in together, despite not being able to stand each other. But because their co-workers smugly expect them to break up again, they stay together, until Donna tells them she knows and lets them off the hook.

Ann decides she wants to have a child and begins the process of in vitro fertilization, asking Chris Traeger to father her child. Chris accepts her offer in the episode "Bailout." Ann and April Ludgate's friendship has also expanded this season, culminating in a hug and an admission on April's part that she considers Ann a friend. She and Leslie have reached a new point in their relationship, now that Leslie and Ben are married.

Season six[edit]

In season six, Ann and Chris get back together and she gets pregnant with his child. She and Chris get to talking and decided to leave Pawnee and raise the child in Michigan.

With hearing the news, Leslie decides to throw her a goodbye party and start grounding on "Pawnee Commons", the lot that was once a pit in the start of the series in which Ann brought it up at a Public Forum and Leslie vowed to turn it into a Park. On Ann and Chris' final day in Pawnee she tells Leslie she will always be her best friend and to come and visit, and she and Chris leave Pawnee for good.

On "Galentine's Day", Ann makes a guest appearance because to tell Leslie that she and Chris had their child named Oliver Perkins-Traeger.

Development[edit]

While in early stages of developing Parks and Recreation, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur had been considering ideas for a possible show involving Rashida Jones before the concept of the series was even established. Both Daniels and Schur had worked with Jones on the Daniels-created NBC comedy series, The Office, in which Jones played the character Karen Filippelli. It was only after Amy Poehler was cast as protagonist Leslie Knope that the concept of the show and Ann's character were fully developed.[5] While most of the Parks and Recreation character work for the local Pawnee government, Ann Perkins was initially conceived as a political outsider who became indirectly involved in municipal government and, in Schur's words, "got drawn into Leslie's world".[6] Ann Perkins has appeared in every episode of Parks and Recreation except for "Woman of the Year", which she missed because she was filming scenes for the David Fincher film The Social Network (2010).[7][8] Her last name was inspired by Nancy Perkins, one of the casting directors who worked on the show.[9] In crafting the Ann Perkins character, the staff were drawn to the idea of building a show around a female relationship, namely Ann and Leslie Knope.[10]

Reception[edit]

God bless you, Rashida Jones's agent, you know how to draw up an ironclad contract. Jones herself is never a chore to watch; far from it, and it can only be assumed she's equally charming to work with. [But] the Parks and Recreation writers are the smartest in the business, and even they seem at a loss as to what to do with Ann Perkins.

– Steve Kandell, New York magazine[7]

While most reviewers have praised Rashida Jones' performance, the character of Ann Perkins has received mixed reviews from critics. Ann often serves as a straight man to the other characters, particularly Leslie Knope,[11][12][13] and some reviewers have said Rashida Jones' talent has been under-utilized in the role.[14][15] Steve Heisler of The A.V. Club wrote, "While I like Rashida Jones in the part, her character usually does best when she's got some wacky person to play off of."[16] Entertainment Weekly writer Hillary Busis said, "Even Parks and Rec lovers often agree that Rashida Jones’s character can seem, well, kind of boring."[17] Matt Fowler of IGN wrote, "Ann isn't necessarily the funniest character on the show, to say the least",[18] but he said she is capable of being very humorous, adding: "Rashida Jones is sexy and funny, but a lot of her humor is subtle and thankless."[19] New York magazine writer Steve Kandell said he did not believe the Ann character was necessary for the show because she was too far removed from the other characters. He added, "The Parks and Recreation writers are the smartest in the business, and even they seem at a loss as to what to do with Ann Perkins."[7] However, Los Angeles Times reporter Robert Lloyd said he felt Jones and Amy Poehler had a good comedic rhythm with each other,[20] and The Atlantic writer Scott Meslow said Jones has a "natural comic sensibility" who rarely gets the best material due to her straight man role.[13] Television columnist Alan Sepinwall said Jones not only plays a good straight man, but particularly excels in bringing the best comedic potential out of her fellow cast members.[21] The character was listed in Wetpaint's "10 Hottest TV Nurses".[22]

Many reviewers were critical of the pairing of Mark and Ann, feeling the couple lacked chemistry and were often the least funny parts of the individual episodes.[23][24][25] Entertainment Weekly writer Margaret Lyons called Mark and Ann the show's "Achilles' heel",[26] and Sandra Gonzalez, also from Entertainment Weekly, wrote, "No matter what they do with these two, I can’t help but be bored."[27] Alan Sepinwall said the relationship was ineffective because both Mark and Ann are "straight man" characters, and he called the pairing one of the few mistakes of the second season.[11] In his review of "94 Meetings", in which Mark discusses his intentions to marry Ann, Leonard Pierce of The A.V. Club wrote of the couple, "their scenes just seemed to lay there and die: action was set up but never resolved, and the deferral contained no laughs to compensate for the dramatic fizzle".[25] Matt Fowler of IGN called the pairing one of the "lesser elements" of the second season, but said it had more to do with Mark than Ann: "Mark just wound up feeling extraneous, [but] I can also appreciate the nuanced realism of Ann just realizing that she wasn't ultimately that 'into him' as a way to break them up."[28]

Many reviewers felt Ann's relationship with Chris in the third season was a major improvement,[11][18] with several writing that Chris' near-perfection took the normally composed Ann out of her comfort zone, giving Rashida Jones more comedic material to work with.[13][17] Several commentators felt Ann's character in general saw major improvements during the third season, such as in subplots where she started acting eccentric after her break-up with Chris, or her phase of dating several random men.[12][29][30] Steve Heisler of The A.V. Club wrote that by the middle of the third season, "Ann's character defies all the expectations heaped on her from two previous seasons".[31] Eric Sundermann of Hollywood.com wrote: "Rashida Jones hasn't been given too much opportunity to shine within the ensemble, so pushing her off the deep-end seems to be a good decision. Jones is a really funny actress if given the right material, and it's quickly becoming apparent that the 'crazy, almost slutty' approach is one that works in a comedic way for her very, very well."[32] Matt Fowler of IGN wrote, "While Ann still isn't the best of the bunch as far as characters go, she was able to be a part of more great scenes this year by getting paired up with Chris in the first half of the season and getting to have some great moments of drunken anger in 'The Fight'."[33] Several reviews also praised the pairing of Ann and Donna Meagle, the latter of whom gives her dating advice in the episode "Harvest Festival" and "April and Andy's Fancy Party".[34][35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ditzian, Eric (2009-09-17). ""Parks and Recreation" Star Chris Pratt Talks Amy Poehler, Adorableness And Cracking Some Beers". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  2. ^ Phipps, Keith (2009-04-09). "Parks and Recreation: Season 1 : Episode 1: "Pilot"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  3. ^ Fowler, Matt (2009-05-15). "Parks and Recreation: "Rock Show" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 19 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  4. ^ Fowler, Matt (2009-09-16). "Parks and Recreation: "Pawnee Zoo" Review: It's Flipper and Eve, not Flipper and Steve". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  5. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (2009-03-26). "It's Not 'The Office.' The Boss Is a Woman". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  6. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (May 19, 2011). "Interview: 'Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur post-mortems season 3". HitFix. Archived from the original on May 28, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c Kandell, Steve (April 15, 2011). "Parks and Recreation Recap: A Wedding". New York. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  8. ^ Martin, Denise (March 12, 2010). "'Parks and Recreation': Mike Schur tells us why Paul Schneider is leaving the show, plus more details on Adam Scott and Rob Lowe". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  9. ^ Jones, Rashida (2009). Parks and Recreation: Season One: "Rock Show" (DVD audio commentary). Universal Studios Home Entertainment. 
  10. ^ Heisler, Steve (March 24, 2011). "Interview: Michael Schur". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c Sepinwall, Alan (January 20, 2011). "'Parks and Recreation' - 'Go Big or Go Home': People will come, Ron". HitFix. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Heisler, Steve (March 24, 2011). "Parks and Recreation: "Camping"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c Meslow, Scott (January 28, 2011). "'Parks and Recreation': Flu Season in Pawnee". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  14. ^ Brown, Brigid (April 23, 2009). "TV Recap: Parks and Recreation - The Reporter". Cinema Blend. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  15. ^ Firecloud, Johnny (September 18, 2009). "Parks and Recreation - Season Premiere: Season two gets off to a rocky start..". Crave Online. Archived from the original on February 1, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  16. ^ Heisler, Steve (October 29, 2009). "Parks and Recreation: "Greg Pikitis"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on February 1, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Busis, Hillary (January 28, 2011). "'Parks and Recreation': Love (and a nasty virus) is in the air". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Fowler, Matt (January 28, 2011). "Parks and Recreation: 'Flu Season' Review". IGN. Archived from the original on January 25, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  19. ^ Fowler, Matt (October 9, 2009). "Parks and Recreation: "The Practice Date" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on February 1, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  20. ^ Lloyd, Robert (April 9, 2009). "Television Review - 'Parks and Recreation'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  21. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (May 14, 2009). "Parks and Recreation, "Rock Show": Reviewing the season finale". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  22. ^ Martin, Rebecca (January 1, 2013). "The 10 Hottest TV Nurses". Wetpaint. The Cambio Network. Retrieved January 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ Firecloud, Johnny (September 18, 2009). "Parks and Recreation - Season Premiere: Season two gets off to a rocky start..". Crave Online. Archived from the original on February 1, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  24. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (February 12, 2010). "Parks and Recreation, "Galentine's Day": John Larroquette woos Leslie's mom". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on February 8, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  25. ^ a b Pierce, Leonard (April 29, 2010). "Parks and Recreation: "94 Meetings"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on March 27, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  26. ^ Lyons, Margaret (May 7, 2010). "'Parks and Recreation' has one of its best episodes ever -- except for Mark and Ann". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 27, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  27. ^ Gonzalez, Sandra (January 15, 2010). ""Parks and Recreation" recap: Will Arnett can see your insides". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 8, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  28. ^ Fowler, Matt (May 27, 2010). "Parks and Recreation: Season 2 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  29. ^ Sundermann, Eric (April 15, 2011). "'Parks and Recreation' Recap: Fancy Party". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  30. ^ Richenthal, Matt (March 25, 2011). "Parks and Recreation Review: Gone Camping". TV Fanatic. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  31. ^ Heisler, Steve (February 24, 2011). "Parks and Recreation: "Indianapolis"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on June 25, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  32. ^ Sundermann, Eric (March 25, 2011). "'Parks and Recreation' Recap: Camping". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  33. ^ Fowler, Matt (June 1, 2011). "Parks and Recreation: Season 3 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  34. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (April 14, 2011). "Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Andy and April's Fancy Party': Impulse power". HitFix. Archived from the original on June 21, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011. 
  35. ^ Porter, Rick (April 15, 2011). "'Parks and Recreation': Andy and April did what?". Zap2it. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.