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Rashida Jones and Robe Lowe to leave ‘Parks and Recreation’: Should the show end after next season?

Anne T. Donahue
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Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe will leave "Parks and Recreation" in Season 6. (NBC)

The saddest news in TV history occurred this week, and it's the impending exit of Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones from "Parks and Recreation." The adorable co-stars are set to leave the NBC sitcom midway through the next season.

After Buzzfeed reported it yesterday, executive producer Mike Schur confirmed the duo's departure, breaking hearts everywhere and prompting thousands of fans (we assume) to echo Ron Swanson's sentiments: "I hate everything."

"The news about Rob and Rashida is true," Schur said via statement. "They will be leaving the show after the 13th episode of the upcoming Season 6. We've been working on their storyline (on and off) for four seasons now, and heading into this year, with the two of them contemplating parenthood, it felt like a natural time to move them into the next phase."

He went on: "We absolutely love Rashida and Rob, and will be sad to see them go. Rashida was one of the very first people we knew we wanted in the cast, and as important as Ann is to Leslie (and vice-versa), she'll certainly never be far from Pawnee. Rob initially thought we should have six or eight episodes, and we couldn't be happier that he stuck around for 75.

"They are wonderful, funny, committed actors, they've been a huge part of the 'Parks and Rec' family and we think we have a great Pawnee send-off in the works for them."

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Personally, we would like him to stick around for another 75, but fine -- fine, "Parks and Recreation," you win this round. Apparently, Lowe is already being eyed for a new NBC series, while Jones is reportedly amping up her production work through her own company, so it's not like either of them will be left with nothing to do. Which brings us to our next question: If Lowe and Jones are leaving, should "Parks and Recreation" consider just wrapping everything up at the end of Season 6?

It makes sense, right? "The Office" arguably lost a good chunk of its magic upon Michael Scott's (Steve Carrell) departure, and "The West Wing" felt the loss of Lowe when he left in 2004. Perhaps ending "Parks and Recreation" at the end of Season 6 would allow it to bow out on top and leave audiences wanting more. After all, "30 Rock" would've been a lot different had Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) left, and "New Girl" would combust if Schmidt (Max Greenfield) ever left. If "Parks and Recreation" decided conclude all of its story lines at the end of next season, one could argue that they're going out on top and preserving the integrity of a really great series.

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Except... "Parks and Recreation" is different. "Parks" prides itself on comedy, but also on having heart and a real-life feel. In real life, people have babies and move away -- in real life, people pursue other dreams and goals, and those things can taken them from the city or place in which they once lived. Mark Brendanawicz (played by Paul Schneider) left Pawneee and "Parks" in Season 3, and in his place arrived Adam Scott and Rob Lowe. Now, upon Lowe and Jones leaving, we can perhaps take a better look at April's (Aubrey Plaza) veterinary school goals, or Tom Haverford's (Aziz Ansari) latest venture.

It's easy to forget that "Parks and Recreation" prides itself on being a true ensemble series. There are ten main characters, with a constant stream of secondary characters and guest stars, so it's important to remember there are opportunities to explore countless story lines.

Will Jones and Lowe's presence be missed? Absolutely (multiplied by a million). But that doesn't meant we also have to say goodbye to brilliant characters like Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson, Andy Dwyer, or even John Ralphio. We admit it: We're not ready to say goodbye to "Parks and Recreation" just yet.

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