While other NBC sitcoms have failed miserably in the past few years, Parks and Recreation has remained as one of the network’s true standouts. Not only has the hit show continued to bring in solid ratings, but it has garnered its share of critical praise along the way, due to sharp, witty writing and perhaps even sharper comedic performances from its ensemble cast.

It’s rare to see a sitcom run like such a well-oiled laugh-inducing machine for five seasons. It’s even rarer to keep an ensemble together for the entire course of a TV show. And so we’re sad to report that Parks and Rec will be losing two key cast members soon.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the show’s producers have confirmed that Rob Lowe – who plays the always positive health nut, Chris Traeger – and Rashida Jones – who plays Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) best friend, Ann Perkins – will exit the series together in episode 13 of season 6. Showrunner Mike Schur is currently busy filming the show’s season 6 premiere in London and couldn’t give out any more information regarding the departures.

However, considering season 5 ended with Chris and Ann deciding to start a family together after reconnecting from a breakup in season 3, it’s safe to assume that the show will follow through with that storyline and have the two characters run off together in a happily-ever-after conclusion.

Though seeing two fan favorite lovelorn characters finally end up together (if that’s how it plays out) will likely cause audiences to smile, the characters’ exits will undoubtedly be tough on viewers in the short term. Since his introduction in season 2, Chris had won over audiences with his ultra-positive outlook, while Ann had been an integral part of the show since its inception, as Leslie’s – and often the show’s – voice of reason amidst the zany hilarity of the Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Rec department.

Fortunately, all is not lost, considering the show is still built around so many memorable and affable characters. While it will be sad to see Chris and Ann go, their exits may provide more room for other characters like April (Aubrey Plaza), Andy (Chris Pratt) and Tom (Aziz Ansari) to shine, not to mention other new characters down the line. Then, of course, there’s Leslie, the show’s “glue,” who seems to hold the comedic formula together. As long as she’s leading the Parks and Rec department and the city of Pawnee as its only coucilwoman, the show will likely remain hilarious.

Will you be sad to see Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones leave? Let us know in the comments.

Parks and Recreation premieres Thursday, September 26th, 2013 @8pm on NBC.

Source: Los Angeles Times