Andy Dwyer is Parks and Recreation‘s lovable goofball who I didn’t think would grow much as a character when I started watching. As previously stated in my last post, I thought this would be a more laid-back show that wouldn’t really focus on character development, so I expected Andy to remain pretty stagnant. But of course, he surprised me.
When he’s first introduced, it’s as Ann’s lazy, unmotivated, slob of a boyfriend who mooches off her after he falls in the ditch outside her house and breaks his legs. At this point, his character was used no more than to serve as the introduction of Leslie and Ann and then for Ann to learn her relationship with Andy is dragging her down and that she needs to go off on her own. He’s selfish and manipulates her kindness, but after their break-up, Andy takes to living in the pit, so he can be nearer to Ann, while trying to prevent her romance with Mark Brendanawicz.
Ann breaking up with Andy is one of the first turning points in his life. Once she leaves, there isn’t someone who’s doing everything for him and he doesn’t know what to do when that’s not the case. He had been totally dependent on her and now he had to stop
milking his injury and go out and get a job, which happens to be at the Pawnee Parks and Recreation as Andy is injured in the pit a second time and he contemplates suing the city. Leslie convinces Andy not to sue by giving him a job as a shoeshiner in City Hall. Here, Andy spends a lot of time mistreating his regular customer Kyle by overcharging and insulting him. Ron Swanson appears as a regular customer and usually bestows Andy some advice. He and April develop a close friendship that eventually grows into something more as she continues to spend time there because she likes how energetic, full of ideas, open about feelings, and passionate about everything he is.
According to denofgeek.com, April spends so much time with Andy that she develops a crush, but the two have complications in their relationship, which Andy thinks is because of their age difference, but it’s actually because April knows he still has feelings for Ann. When a rebounding Ann kisses Andy, April is devastated. Because of this, Andy spends large amounts of time trying to mend their relationship, which for him means doing all of the tasks April hates around the Parks Department Office in an effort to get back on her good side. It works, and then at a seemingly normal dinner party hosted by the new, young couple, they announce that they will be getting married that very evening.
April’s relationship had a positive impact on his life because she constantly supported and encouraged him to take chances, especially when he trained to become a cop and failed to do so. April stays at Parks and Rec for Andy, but when they get married, Andy decides to join the police force so he can better provide for their future together.
I admire that both of them encourage the other to take on new job opportunities, even if it means being apart for extended periods of time, which I touched upon in my last blog post. In season seven, April is offered the opportunity to work in Washington at the American Service foundation, but Andy would have to give up his dream job as a kids television entertainer. Instead of being angry with her for making him choose or telling her she can’t take the job, he tells her that she’s been supporting his career long enough, and that she deserves his support too. That moment was all I could’ve hoped for because it shows how much Andy has grown since he was in a relationship with Ann. Instead of using April for his own benefit, he selflessly offers to put his career on the back burner so she could go after something she’s passionate about. I was impressed at the maturity of his character because it showed how much he grew on his own, but also in his relationship with April.
After not being accepted into the police academy, Andy was depressed. He felt lost without a goal and even claims that he has trouble eating; none of his old hobbies interest him. To get him out of his funk, Ben invited Andy to help him pick out a charity for the Sweetums Foundation. Andy takes right to the work, choosing a worthy charity in the Redwood Valley Music program. Andy does so well that Ben made him his assistant, and took Andy with him to London for business, helping him learn to grow through his failure and that maybe he wasn’t meant to be a police officer, even if it was what he really wanted.
With this in mind, the viewer can clearly see how April and Andy have changed from the start, given that April fights her way through adulthood out of fear of becoming “boring,” but in the end, learns that being a grown-up and being interesting are not exclusive with the help of Andy. I found that to be surprising, given his child-like nature, but he was able to grow up for the sake of helping April learn how to fit into the adult world as well. While them eating food off Frisbees was fine at one point because they’re in the honeymoon phase and enjoying being silly, they ultimately accepted responsibility and managed to be a happy, healthy, married couple despite everyone thinking their spontaneous marriage couldn’t possibly last.