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Parks and Rec – Could Rob Lowe leave?

This week’s ‘Park and Rec’ reveals that Leslie's overworked and Donna is GINUWINE’s cousin. While I enjoyed the show’s awesomeness, I kept wondering … could Rob Lowe leave?

- Season 4, Episode 13 - "Jerry's Sweet 16"

Watching this week’s Park and Recreation, made me think about Rob Lowe. I love Rob. Post-’80s brat pack revolution, he evolved into an amazing actor, with a great sense of irony. But, once he maps the hell out of a role, he moves on to the next awesome thing. His seven years on The West Wing felt too short; likewise for his time on Brothers and Sisters. He’ll have 34 episodes on Parks and Recreation by the close of season four. Hmm. Two years; isn’t that when Rob’s feet start walking?

This week surrounded Leslie discovering that she couldn’t work two jobs at once while Tom and Ann continued to contemplate their non-relationship and Jerry celebrated his birthday (in leap years, Jerry is 16). Although Chris took a partial back seat this week, he continues to explore his newfound loneliness by discovering a new relationship with Andy and April’s tripod dog.

Maybe it’s because Chris doesn’t feel as awesome as his season two introduction that I fear Rob might move on. At the same time, are the writers giving him this new character direction to keep him invested? Considering how awesomely hunky the Lowe is, I love the writers’ irreverence with him. Remember the valentine’s day episode when Chris claimed people thought he was in his 20s and Leslie called balls? I loved that! Rob Lowe is film and TV history. But, where else will people blatantly mock him without falling down and exalting his talent?

So, while I still fear losing Rob, because his role has gotten smaller (possibly due to his playing Ulysses S. Grant and Captain Marvel or because he’s planning on trundling off), I’ll enjoy him while he’s still there.

On the rest of the episode, I love the show’s continuing character growth. In season one, Ron seemed like the worst administrator possible. But, in season four, despite his anti-human tendencies, he knows when another worker, i.e. Leslie, needs time off. I enjoyed their quiet moments together throughout the episode, exhibiting kickass writing.

I also love that Donna and Jerry are no longer the one-note one-line characters from season one. Throughout the past few seasons, the writers dropped hints that Donna liked the finer things. However, while Tom just maxed out his credit cards and returned things a day later, Donna never did that. So, I always wondered how Donna afforded her luxury car on a Parks and Rec salary. This week I learned the reason. It makes total sense that her family’s rich and she’s cousins with the genuine GINUWINE! Does that mean he’ll guest in a future episode? I hope so!

Although I like the loser-tendency the writers added to Ann both this season and last, her relationship with Tom creeps me out. Yet, it simultaneously demonstrates Aziz Ansari’s incredible talents. In season one through three, Tom played the creepy one-dimensional player and insane entrepeneur with sprinkles of vulnerability surrounding his ex-wife and bartender girlfriend. Although Rashida Jones is way too hot for Aziz, season four explores a cartoonish, uber-clingy baby-talking Tom. The fact Aziz can play so many shades of sleaze so convincingly is amazing. But, the clinginess is too much. I went to see the character step up to justify why the previously most level-headed character (Ann) would date him. Also, could Ann and Chris get back together? Chris always looks sad when Ann discusses her new relationship. I know he hates loneliness, but could he still have feelings for her? I’d love to see them together without Ann cloning our hyper-futuristic healthnut.

Finally, in terms of the show’s youngest character, I enjoy watching April grow out of her season one one-note goth character while maintaining her utter hatred of everyone.

So, although both Chris and Ben have taken second platform this season, their addition to the cast definitely  signaled a growing change within the show’s writing. I know Lowe has a multi-year deal, but, he’s currently hitting year three. If either actor decides to move on, I’ll miss them. But, hopefully, the show’s kickass awesomeness will remain.


  • Tom is “The Brown Gosling”
  • Tom and Ann’s mash-up name – “Tan(n)”


“Is this all the eggs, you have” – Ron  (holding 2 dozen eggs)
“Yes. What are you making?” – Donna
“Eggs.” –  Ron

“Never half-ass two things. Full-ass one thing.” – Ron

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Photo Credit: NBC

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Categories: | Episode Reviews | Features | General | News | Parks and Recreation | TV Shows |

3 Responses to “Parks and Rec – Could Rob Lowe leave?”

February 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Although I agree with you that the minimal use of Rob Lowe on P&R might cause his exit – and I would encourage that – you have a couple facts wrong. He was on West Wing for 4 years not the entire run of 7. (The show went downhill drastically after that along with Sorkin leaving.) I was thrilled when he left Brothers & Sisters as that show didn’t seem to know where it wanted to go and got very silly and unbelievable. It was reported at the time that it was a mutual agreement for Lowe leaving. The next season B&S was cancelled.
Actors leave shows all the time for various reasons but critics criticize Lowe for leaving just 2 tv shows after coincidentally a magic 4 years – not 2. I’m sure that criticism will creep up again with P&R.
I like P&R but don’t race to watch it even though I’m a huge Rob Lowe fan. The character is widely acclaimed and I see new things I haven’t seen Rob do before. But they don’t use him enough. I haven’t watched this week’s ep but I’m afraid there’s just that one scene featured above with “Chris” so I’m not optimistic.

February 24, 2012 at 8:17 PM

I should’ve written five years. Although he left at 2003, he returned in 2006 for a couple episodes, but imdb lists it as 1999-2006.

I’m not criticizing Rob Lowe in the slightest. When a role gest boring or you’ve done everything you can with it, it’s time to move on. Parks and Rec is a half-hour ensemble comedy with Leslie Knope as the lead character. By default, the writers can’t give Lowe the meatiest roles.

Yet, I also understand we can’t keep Rob Lowe doing 5-lines per episode if his talents are best suited elsewhere.

I love him as a series regular. But, once his contract expires, if he decides to move on, I hope he continues to guest star at least 4 eps a season, so we won’t miss our vitamin dosage that is Chris T. that is Rob L.

February 24, 2012 at 7:07 PM

I have seen like 6 episodes of P&R, two with Rob Lowe and four without. He isn’t needed at all. I don’t blame him, after 2-5 seasons of a show, you might feel like having a new challenge come along.