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Goodbye to beloved 'Parks' folks; hello to 'Puppy Bowl'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Thursday's "Parks and Recreation" episode is literally going to be the saddest thing ever. It's the last episode for Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones' Chris Traeger and Ann Perkins.

I've been dreading this since the news was announced this summer. I understand the actors' desire to move on, as a TV show has a very demanding schedule and they both have other projects in the works; however, it makes me incredibly sad to think they won't be part of the show's pitch-perfect ensemble cast anymore.

I like Jones and am going to miss Ann's level-headed yin to Leslie's (Amy Poehler) wacky yang, but I'm really going to miss Lowe's delightfully odd Traeger. He's one of my favorite characters on the show, with his relentless optimism and perkiness and his penchant for abusing the word "literally." You just can't help but smile or laugh when he's onscreen.

Though he and Adam Scott didn't join the show until the end of season two, I feel like they've always been there. They're definitely one of the best late additions to a cast that I can think of. (Thankfully, Scott's Ben Wyatt will most likely be staying put, since I don't see his wife, Leslie, ever leaving her beloved Pawnee - or at least not before the series finale.)

The storyline that's sending Chris and Ann on their way is Ann's pregnancy, and the move has been incorporated in a logical way that I've found as satisfying as can be given the circumstances. I can't fault the writers for the way they've handled it, and I trust in them that Thursday's episode won't disappoint.

Still, I'm bummed that we won't get to see how Chris handles being a new dad. That's literally a comedy gold mine.

•••

On Sunday, it's time for the big game, by which I mean Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl, of course. Now in it's 10th year, this adorable alternative to the Super Bowl starts at 3 p.m. and repeats every two hours through 5 a.m.

There are some new additions to the show this year, including an extra special halftime performance. In addition to the regular kitty halftime show, Internet sensation Keyboard Cat will appear to perform Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven." (Mars is the Super Bowl halftime performer.)

Another Internet superstar, Lil Bub, will check in periodically from Chicago, and police dogs from the New York area will perform the national anthem. This year's sideline cheerleaders are penguins.

There will also be real-time voting for the MVP each broadcast and a variety of Top 10 lists from past games as well as adoption updates regarding past Puppy Bowl pooches.

During the game, be sure to watch for the adorable hound mix Rosie (not to be confused with Rosie the Chihuahua/terrier mix), who came from Operation Underdog in Beckley. She's currently listed as a back-up pup, not a starting player, but I'm sure she'll see some field time.

Over on the Hallmark Channel, the inaugural Kitten Bowl launches at noon and repeats every three hours through midnight. It's basically the same as the Puppy Bowl, but the 50 kittens are divided into four teams, which will face off in two preliminary matches followed by a championship between the two "winners."

•••

Series premieres: "Rods N Wheels," 9 p.m. Monday, Discovery (restoring vintage cars and hot rods); "Beyond Candid with Giuliana," 10 p.m. Monday, E! (three-part Giuliana Rancic interview series; starts with Demi Lovato); "Super Skyscrapers," 10 p.m. Wednesday, PBS (four-part series about buildings that push engineering, technology and design limits; starts with One World Trade Center).

Season premiere: "The Devil's Ride," 10 p.m. Monday, Discovery.

Sneak preview: "Southern Charm," 11:30 p.m. Monday, Bravo (follows six aristocratic Charleston, S.C. singles).

New timeslot: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" moves to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Fox.

Series finale: "Operation Repo," 10 p.m. Wednesday, TruTV.

Season finales: "White Collar," 9 p.m. Thursday, USA; "The Carrie Diaries," 8 p.m. Friday, CW; "Sherlock," 9:58 p.m. Sunday, PBS; "Hollywood Game Night," 8 p.m. Monday, NBC (winter finale); "The Biggest Loser," 9 p.m. Tuesday, NBC; "Ravenswood," 9 p.m. Tuesday, ABC Family; "Top Chef," 10 p.m. Wednesday, Bravo.

Post-Super Bowl: "The New Girl" (with guest star Prince) and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" have this year's post-Super Bowl slot at 10:30 and 11 p.m. respectively (time approximate, presuming the game doesn't run over), Fox.

Specials: "Saturday Night Live Presents a SNL Sports Spectacular," 9 p.m. Thursday, NBC (sports sketches hosted by Seth Meyers); "VH1 Super Bowl Blitz" concerts, 11 p.m. Thursday (TLC) and Friday (Goo Goo Dolls), VH1; "Great Performances: Barrymore," 9 p.m. Friday, PBS (starring Christopher Plummer); "Best of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," 8 p.m. Saturday, NBC; "NFL Honors," 8 p.m. Saturday, Fox (awards show); "The Gabby Douglas Story," 8 p.m. Saturday, Lifetime (TV movie about the Olympic gymnast); "Oscar," 8 p.m. Saturday, TCM (the history of the Academy Awards); "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful," 9 p.m. Monday, NBC (hosted by Heidi Klum); "Winter Gold: NBC's First Look at the Sochi Olympics," 8 p.m. Tuesday, NBC; "Hunting Hitler's Stolen Treasures: The Monument Men," 8 p.m. Wednesday, National Geographic (a profile of the real men on whom the upcoming movie, "The Monument Men," is based); "P&G Presents: How to Raise an Olympian," 8 p.m. Wednesday, NBC (seven athletes and their moms).

Of note: Nathan Fillion guest stars on "Community," 8 p.m. Thursday, NBC; the Hollywood round begins on "American Idol," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox.

W.Va. alert: Josh Stewart, who plays JJ's husband, appears on the 200th episode of "Criminal Minds," 9 p.m. Wednesday, CBS. (Padget Brewster also returns as Prentiss.)

Canceled: "Sean Saves the World," by NBC. Two episodes remain and will air sometime after the Olympics.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com.


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