Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe are leaving Parks and Recreation. According to series creator Mike Schur:
The news about Rob and Rashida is true — they will be leaving the show after the 13th episode of the upcoming season six. 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.As sad a news as this is, I can't say it's exactly surprising, for several reasons. First, see see Schur's comment about the Chris character originally being meant for a limited run. His character has struggled to find relevance in a continuous role since the end of that initial story arc, and that he has remained in Pawnee all this time makes very little sense in universe. I've thought for several seasons now that he would have been much better served in a recurring role.
We absolutely love both 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 we initially thought we could only have for six or eight episodes, and we couldn’t be happier that he will have 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.
Second, the writers have never been able to find something for Anne to contribute to the show, and is the very definition of a supporting character. Ann-centric stories tend to fall flat, and she's best used when backing up Leslie or helping Ron with inpromtu home repair. Stories like her dating Tom or her dating an endless string of random guys, or last season's fairly terrible baby crisis are signs of continuing desperation in finding relevance with the characters. Getting her and Chris back together to have a kid signalled pretty much the end of either character's significance or growth potential. And fictional characters are only interesting if they continue to grow. Or, if they are like Ron, they never ever do.
All of that aside though, they are amazing characters, and I'll miss them both. Leslie won't be the same without her best friend, though that role has been quietly shifted over to Ben over the last year or so. And Chris has provided some of the more genuine, non-Ron related laughs. His limitless enthusiasm has elevated episodes like Flu Season and Emergency Response into memorable episodes.
If, however, it means a potentially larger role for Lucy Lawless on the show, then I'm fine with it.