Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation are quite arguably the best couple in the history of television, and it’s not just because they are in “awesome sauce” with one another. It seems totally unexpected that the happy-go-lucky Mouse Rat singer would end up falling for the puckish cynic akin to Wednesday Addams, but alas, these two proved to the world that opposites really do attract. In a lot of ways, I’ll even go so far as to say they are a revolutionary TV couple, and they most certainly changed my outlook on love and relationships for good. As someone who used to be greatly afraid of being involved in romantic relationships, here is why Burt Macklin and Janet Snakehole have totally altered my pessimistic views of commitment and romance once and for all.
It is a common belief among television writers that once you finally pair up a TV couple with that epic first kiss, their relationship stops being interesting (and thus, so does the TV show). This is famously the case with Sam and Diane on Cheers who have a strong case of what sitcom writer Kev Levin calls “The sexual tension ticking clock.” This theory states that once the “will-they-won’t-they” couple finally shares their first kiss, the ratings are never as high afterwards because they have already resolved all that built up sexual tension, which made the show (and their dynamic) so thrilling to watch. According to Levin, “Usually once a couple finally gets together the series is never as good. you’re always playing ‘now what do we do with them?'” We see this happen with Jim and Pam on The Office, as well as Nick and Jess on New Girl, and too many other TV couples to possibly list. After their first kiss, the tension dies, and their relationships are no longer a thrill ride of epic curiosity and excitement.
With April and Andy on the other hand, quite the opposite is true. It isn’t until this couple ties the knot and fully commits to one another that the fun and excitement really begins. How many TV couples can say the same? Now, as a person who takes TV shows way too seriously (to an embarrassing extent), I began to associate the “sexual tension ticking clock” with my own love life. I assumed that my romantic pursuits were just like a TV show, and once I finally committed to someone I liked by entering a relationship with them, all the excitement and thrill would come to an end just as they had on all my favorite sitcoms. These shows that alluded to the idea that relationships stop being interesting once the couple commits to each other made me, in turn, terrified to commit. Why would I want the best part to end? The part with all the passion that derives from the “forbidden love” aspect? And is the best part of a romance when there is pain and heartache involved? That is what all these sitcoms seem to suggest.
Andy and April live in their own little universe in which they see life as one big playground designed just for the two of them to be silly and playful in.
But with Andy and April, these fools rush into romance even though everyone around them thinks their fast-paced love story is one big mistake. Leslie Knope famously tries to stop the two of them from getting married, considering they had only been dating for one month. She thinks there is no way they will be satisfied committing to each other so quickly, because in her experience, (and from our own experience of what we have seen on TV), the best part of a relationship comes before the “settling down” period. The thing is though, Andy and April may be married to one another, but they never settle down. They keep the magic in their relationship alive by being each others best friends and playmates, by shooting each other with marshmallow guns in the middle of the night, by throwing crazy parties together, and by role-playing as Burt Macklin and Janet Snakehole whenever they are at boring social gatherings. THIS is what keeps their bond interesting for viewers — not breakups and misunderstandings that we are so used to seeing within the majority of our favorite TV couples. Even Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother are guilty of this, despite the fact that they are written to be the revolutionary sort of harmonized married couple that Andy and April are to a greater degree.
Andy and April live in their own little universe in which they see life as one big playground designed just for the two of them to be silly and playful in. Most television writers use dramatic obstacles and tension as a tactic to keep TV relationships alive. If there is some sort of threat to these fictional romances, it is supposed to be more exciting to audiences because there is a chance that this “will-they-won’t-they” couple could end up being a “won’t they” pairing after all. Andy and April never succumb to that, because they are able to stay interesting and captivating without unnecessary downfalls.
What keeps Andy and April’s relationship alive and relevant comes from all the beautiful little ways they make each other happy. They prove to the world that relationships don’t need drama or heartache in order to be passionate and fulfilling. Whether this lesson is intentional or not by the writers, it carries a massive impact on how we consider relationships and romance as a whole. We are so used to thinking that something has to go wrong or be “forbidden” for serious sparks to fly, yet Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza have created two characters who show us that the opposite is true. They prove that if you fully trust your partner and want the best for them, it’s all smooth sailing from then on. This couple teaches us how valuable it can be to be silly around your partner rather than always trying to be attractive and perfect. Above all, Andy and April show us that the best partner for you is one who can help you grow and become more decent. And this is why April and Andy are the best couple on TV.