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The Worst Season Of Parks And Recreation According To 20% Of People

It has only been six years since NBC aired the final episode of "Parks and Recreation" and significantly less time has passed since the series made a mini-comeback in 2020 in the form of a pandemic-centric special. Nevertheless, the series' place in the annals of sitcom lore is more than secure. The show's contributions to the pop culture lexicon are numerous. Without the cast of "Parks and Recreation," we wouldn't have Galentine's Day, "Treat Yourself!" or Burt Macklin — FBI (or Chris Pratt for that matter). Nor would we have Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) as a pillar of manhood and Libertarianism or the advice of Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) to serve as the ultimate example of what a can-do attitude can accomplish.

It's no wonder the single-camera, mockumentary-style comedy netted a slew of Emmy nominations and was a major hit with critics and viewers alike — it currently holds critical and audience scores of 93% and 89%, respectively, on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, not every episode, plot line or character landed with every fan of the show. In fact, there are entire seasons of "Parks and Recreation" that are fairly divisive.

Looper recently conducted a survey of 637 people in the U.S. and asked them which of the seven seasons of "Parks and Recreation" was the worst as a whole. There were three that clearly came to respondents' minds more than the rest but, in the end, one of them stood apart as the worst of the bunch.

The final season takes the cake

One potentially obvious answer to the question of which "Parks and Recreation" season was the worst is the six-episode first season. In addition to there being substantially less episodes overall, the show was very clearly still figuring itself out during year one. The pilot episode was just that — a pilot, with all the pitfalls that come along with them. Moreover, there was a lot of focus on Leslie Knope's ill-fated "romance" with Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider), a ho-hum B-story that was quickly dropped. However, Season 1 was actually the No. 2 choice in this survey after just over 16.3% of respondents chose it. 

Curiously, Season 3, which yielded the arrival of fan-favorite characters Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), finished a close third with 16% of the vote. In the end, the top pick for the worst "Parks and Recreation" season — as chosen by more than 20% of respondents — was the seventh season of the show. And really, its placement here should come as no surprise.

After playing the push-and-pull dynamic of occasionally-reluctant — but always there for each other — friends Leslie and Ron Swanson to perfection for six years, the show made a sharp left turn and the two became bitter enemies for a significant portion of the season. The final, 13-episode run also featured some jarring time jumps. It still featured some great moments but the show had clearly run its course by that point.