Leslie Knope and Parks & Recreation fans said goodbye to Ann and Chris in season 6, but why did they leave Pawnee? Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, Parks and Recreation aired from 2009 to 2015, with a total of seven seasons and a bunch of characters (both regular and guests) that won the hearts of viewers thanks to their eccentricities and relatable personalities. The series followed Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), an eternally optimistic bureaucrat working at the Parks and Recreation Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.
Throughout the series, viewers met Leslie’s co-workers and friends, such as Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), a nurse who started to attend Parks and Recreation meetings after her slacker boyfriend Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) fell into a large pit next to her house and broke his legs. Ann and Leslie became best friends, and viewers got to know more about her and many aspects of her life, including her romantic relationships, especially with Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe). Chris arrived in season 2 as an Indiana State Auditor and eventually became Pawnee’s acting City Manager.
Ann and Chris began to date in season 3 but broke up a couple of episodes later. After a few ups and downs, in season 5 Ann decided to start a family by herself as she was tired of waiting for the perfect man. She began the process of in vitro fertilization and asked Chris to be the father of her child. Chris accepted, and in the first episode of season 6 Ann revealed that she was pregnant and back together with Chris. The couple then decided to raise the baby somewhere else and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, as Ann’s family lived there and Chris had gotten a job at the University of Michigan. In season 7, it’s revealed that Chris and Ann had another child, and that they were moving back to Pawnee.
Ann and Chris’ departure was something the producers of Parks & Recreation had already planned (via HuffPost), though they weren’t sure when it was going to happen. Both Jones and Lowe wanted to pursue other opportunities and had other projects lined up, so the baby storyline for Ann and Chris worked for everyone. The writers managed their exit quite smoothly, and having Leslie visit Ann on the episode “Galentine’s Day” after giving birth to her son was a nice touch to remind viewers that no matter the distance, Leslie and Ann were still best friends.
Ann and Chris’ arc in Parks and Recreation got a satisfying conclusion after everything they went through, both separately and as a couple. But even better than Ann building the family she wanted, is the fact that the Perkins-Traeger family and the Knope-Wyatt clan keep a close relationship, even if they lived in different cities.