With Parks and Recreation coming to an end after this season and no continuation in sight (despite our ideas), the writers have the ability to pull out all the stops now. Part of the fun of having a long running show is creating in-jokes and reoccurring gags because they let dedicated fans feel more attached and rewarded for their repeat viewings, and now that the show is ending, we get to see these fan-favorite jokes rolled out one more time.
Parks and Recreation has a lot of reasons why it’s a an amazing comedy, but a big part of it has to do with the writers’ ability to build the town of Pawnee, with all of its quirks, bizarre history, and personalities. The nameless people of Pawnee provide some of the show’s best moments, usually coming in the form of an angry town hall meeting directed at Leslie. It might be the show’s first reoccurring gag, and tonight we not only get another incredible glimpse of what’s on the mind of the average Pawnee citizen, but for once, the people’s anger wasn’t directed at Leslie. They were on her side! That’s a novelty idea that was perfectly kept in the pocket until the final season.
We also got TREAT YO’ SELF 2017!!! Donna and Tom’s favorite day of the year got its final moment in the sun as well, IN BEVERLY HILLS!!! It’s another moment in a season-long goodbye that feels satisfying and earned. Just like April having to watch over a young unenthused intern that’s just like a younger version of herself. Just like Dennis Feinstein returning to be the evil, stinky villain he always was for one last time, or getting a dose of Perd in judge mode, or hearing what must be Tom’s hundredth Hitch joke.
It’s more than jokes though. Parks and Rec also has its final moments to offer up the sort of topical, bipartisan issues that mirror things that real people should be concerned about, like internet and information privacy. When Leslie and the town learn that their Gryzzl devices are giving away tons of personal information to the company legally, it almost tanks Gryzzl’s chances. It’s another example of how Parks routinely uses real life issues as plot devices and presents government as a positive agent for change, no matter your politics.
Even the character beats are warmly familiar and presented as final reminders. As optimistic and full of energy Leslie can be, she still can suffer from those brief hyperbolic moments of doubt when she’s facing opposition, but once again, Ben is there to talk her up and help her have confidence in herself. They have the best relationship on television, and season seven keeps rubbing it in our faces.
Compassion, support, and teamwork are the ethos of the show, so it’s fitting that Ron and Leslie’s last big team-up solves this season’s crisis. Gryzzl takes over the derelict Beachwood Terrace and donates the Pawnee Foothills to the National Parks Department. Once again, everyone wins and goes home happy.
On a farewell tour, you get to play all the hits one more time, just make sure you leave it all out there on the stage.
The Best of the Rest
- Andy fights for a better contract for Johnny Karate and the character rights with the help of his new manager, Tom. Before, Andy was doing every aspect of the show’s production, and giving rides home, for $100 a week. The TV station manager is played by Dax Shepard, who fits perfectly playing another moronic swindler of Pawnee. Tom gets Andy a new contract and the rights, but only by crying and begging. Whatever works, I guess.
- April compares herself to the tape from The Ring, saying that she’s the warning to help the interns get out of the parks department alive.
- Ron resembles the sock pig version of Tom Selleck, Tom Selloink.
- Ron carries around a picture of his son, which he tears up after showing to people for his son’s privacy.
- On Andy’s show, Burly plays Puppy Hating Dan.
- “In the words of Jerry Maguire…” “The human head weighs eight pounds…” “Show me the money.”
- The Gryzzl Pad has a skate mode. Wouldn’t that be chill?
- Gryzzl and Leslie face off in the Perdples Court. Judge Perd (not a real judge) presiding.
- The release of Star Wars: Episode VII distracted Ben from reading the contract properly. Ice Town II.
- Shepard’s character is a big deal: “James Woods follows my niece on Twitter.”
- RON SWANSON USES THE CODE NAME LES VEGETABLES! Amazing.
- Without her internship, Craig says April would have been a check out girl at a gas station.
- Keegan Michael Key from Key & Peele plays Donna’s fiancé.
- Tom and Donna get their elbows bedazzled and Tom has his fingernails lasered off.
- Who needs riot gear when you can use The Hound, the latest scent from Dennis Feinstein.
- Hitch 2: Son of a Hitch starring Jayden Smith, coming in 2017!