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Who is Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation?

Rashida Jones's character — best friend to Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope — changed a lot over the show. 

By Megan Lasher

Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) received a great deal of nicknames from her best friend, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) throughout her time on Parks and Recreation. From "beautiful tropical fish" to "poetic, noble land mermaid," the Pawnee nurse always had big expectations to fill — and she certainly did. 

How to Watch

Watch every episode of Parks and Recreation on Peacock.

Ann went from being a full-time nurse and living with Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) to working at the Parks Department and co-parenting with Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe), all while being Leslie's cool, calm and collected best friend. Revisit her best moments from all seven seasons of Parks and Recreation.

Who played Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation?

Ann Perkins was played by actor Rashida Jones. NBC viewers might have recognized her from her break-out role, playing Karen Filippelli on The Office.

Her first big television role was Louisa Fenn, the school secretary on Boston Public, from 2002-2004. After a series of smaller roles and unsuccessful auditions, she has since told the L.A. Times she was about to pursue a graduate degree in public policy when The Office came calling in 2006. She got the call to join Parks and Recreation in 2009.

She has since appeared in, lent her voice to, and/or produced dozens of other film and television projects.

Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins

When did Ann Perkins first appear on Parks and Recreation?

When fans first met Ann, she was attending a Pawnee forum to complain about the large ditch next to her and Andy's home, in the show's pilot episode. Andy had fallen into the pit and broken both of his legs, so Ann requested that Leslie's team do something to fill it in, which began a seasons-long Parks project. 

Ann was working as a nurse at the time, and she would later reduce her hours in the hospital in order to begin working part-time with the city's public health department, a job Leslie helped her land. 

Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger's Relationship

In Season 3, Episode 1 ("Go Big or Go Home"), Leslie convinced Ann to go on a date with Chris, simply to get him to give more funding to the Parks Department. The date went surprisingly well, and Ann developed feelings for Chris after weeks of turning him down. They dated for a while until Chris relocated back to Indianapolis and broke things off.

In Season 3, Episode 6 ("Indianapolis"), Ann was convinced that Chris was cheating on her, and when she confronted him about it, he reminded her that they had broken up — she realized that their breakup conversation was so positive that she hadn't even noticed it was a breakup. 

Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger, Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins

Chris returned to Pawnee later in Season 3 and the two hit it off again. Ann had been looking for someone to have a child with, and she approached Chris about donating his sperm. In Season 5, Episode 16 ("Bailout"), he accepted her offer to co-parent and they later realized their romantic feelings for each other. 

Ann Perkins' Other Relationships on Parks and Recreation

Chris Pratt as Andy, Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins, Retta as Donna Meagle

Ann started the show dating Andy, but the two quickly split up after Ann learned that Andy had kept his leg casts on for longer than he'd needed to, just because he enjoyed having Ann cater to his needs.

Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins, Paul Schneider as Mark Brendanawicz

After their breakup, she began dating Parks employee Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider), who had a fraught romantic past with Leslie.

Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins, Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford

Later — before Chris' return in Season 3 — she had a short-lived relationship with Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari).

Ann Perkins' Friendship with Leslie Knope

Ann became friends with Leslie upon witnessing her commitment to her job, and the two quickly became inseparable.

Leslie was known for being a fantastic gift-giver who always jumped at the occasion to celebrate her loved ones, so it was no surprise that she started annual Galentine's Day brunch and invited Ann as one of the esteemed guests. 

Ann Perkins' Relationship with April Ludgate

Ann did not initially have the same kind of friendship with April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), who despised Ann for a long time in part because Ann had kissed Andy after April started developing feelings for him. The pair became closer when Ann helped April get into veterinary school. She wrote a letter of recommendation and later accompanied April to orientation, in Season 6, Episode 3 ("The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic"). 

During the school visit, April told Ann that she got a "gut feeling" the school wasn't right for her, which prompted Ann to think about her own gut feelings — one of which was to leave Pawnee and raise her children elsewhere. 

When did Ann Perkins leave Parks and Recreation?

Ann and Chris decided to officially leave Pawnee and move to Ann Arbor to be closer to Ann's family. In Season 6, Episode 13 ("Ann and Chris"), Leslie threw a huge going-away party for them, which included references to various holidays and birthdays. "I don't know when we're gonna be able to visit each other, so just to be safe, this party is a celebration of every event that's gonna happen this year.... ain't no party like a Leslie Knope party because a Leslie Knope party is 30 parties," she told Ann. 

"Ann's leaving town and saying painful goodbyes to loved ones. Greatest day of my life," April joked. Eventually, construction on the lot next to Ann's old house forced Ann, Leslie and April to attempt to break into the lot, and the journey led April and Ann to a heartfelt one-on-one moment during which April told Ann, "I love you" in a soft mumble.

Leslie made Ann promise to call her all the time, and said, "Oh, Ann Perkins. You perfect sunflower. You totally changed me — you taught me how to balance my life, how to be more patient," she said. "But most importantly, you taught me that I can't pull off a tulip skirt." 

Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger, Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins

Ann's Continued Appearances on the Show

Just a few episodes after her tearful goodbyes, Ann reappeared on Parks and Recreation for Season 6, Episode 17 ("Galentine's Day"). Leslie plotted out her topics of conversation with a bunch of post-it notes, but Ann had to delay her visit to Pawnee so Leslie was left trying to find another best friend in the office for a last-minute Galentine's celebration.

It turned out that Ann was in labor and, during the Galentine's brunch, she texted Leslie that she'd had her baby. Leslie rushed to the hospital to meet her new nephew, Oliver, and got some quality Ann time. Ann advised Leslie to give the other Parks girls a shot at becoming better friends, while April and Donna Meagle (Retta) made Leslie a talking stuffed bunny with Ann's voice recording as a gift. 

Watch all of Ann's best moments by streaming Parks and Recreation on Peacock.