Pawnee will be losing two of its residents this season, Kate Aurthur of BuzzFeed reports. No, nothing dire will happen, but Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe will be leaving NBC's cult favorite sitcom Parks and Recreation in the 13th episode to pursue other things like writing movies and playing JFK. It's frankly not a huge loss.
Both Jones and Lowe are welcome presences on the show, but of late their characters had found themselves in pretty stagnant places. Jones's straight-woman nurse Ann Perkins has been a fixture since season one, but the show has long suffered from what Margaret Lyons at Vulture called an "Ann Perkins" problem. Essentially, Jones's character, while always around, never had any of the defining characteristics that make the other residents of Pawnee such a lovable bunch. She was simply the pretty one, or the sane sounding board for heroine Leslie Knope.
Lowe's Chris Traeger, meanwhile, came in at the end of second season, along with Adam Scott's Ben Wyatt, as antagonists auditing the city. Traeger, obsessive and robotically cheery, once served an important function as being the barrier to the romance between Leslie and Ben, but now, without much to do, he's been relegated to a dull Ann storyline. They're trying to have a baby, but it's not clear if viewers really care.
We'll definitely miss things about both characters— the way Leslie tells Ann she is beautiful, the way Chris says "literally"—but they are probably not essential to the show at this point. Which may not bode well for the series as a whole; people on Twitter are already suggesting that this news might mean the show is reaching the end of its time.
Oh, Ann Perkins.