It’s not typical where we’ll throw out a review for a single episode, but this show meant so much to so many people (including this guy) that we felt warranted to give Parks its due. Whenever a series has such a big following and has been on the air for its seventh season, things have to be handled with care to not only have a good show but to give the fans the send off that they want. Mix that in with the fact that Parks and Rec is a comedy (which typically have mixed reviews on series finales) and you have a difficult challenge. As a die hard Parks fan, I was looking for something close to perfect. It’s a good thing then that Parks and Recreation‘s last episode was as perfect as I wanted it to be.
Some of what makes it hard to have a good finale as a comedy series is the fact that…well, it’s supposed to be funny. Several comedies, including Seinfeld, just couldn’t pull that off. Parks had no problem whatsoever. The characters stayed true to their nature and delivered the yucks just like always. I found myself laughing just as often as sobbing (did I mention I loved this show). The exquisite writing, mixed with the perfect timing from the cast, just clicks and always has. I would also like to say that, as an hour long episode, all of this is even more impressive. Typically an hour long sitcom relies heavily on clips and is more of a really long curtain call, but Parks managed to not only do all of that but stay funny at the same time.
The way that the final show was directed was unique and different from the way the rest of the show was cut, but that didn’t take away from the overall quality of the event. Everyone had their chance to shine as the directors had everyone flash forward five years (or, in Garry’s case 31yrs) every time Leslie touched someone. It was a very smart decision on behalf of the show runners while at the same time staying true to the show. Everyone from show mainstays Ron, Tom and Donna all the way to part time faves Jean-Ralphio, Bobby Newport and even Councilman Jamm (do yourself a favor and watch the Producers Cut) had their moment in the sun. And, of course, Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger make their triumphant and emotional return to make the cast list complete. I also like how, in the distant future, that Ben or Leslie was obviously the President of the United States…but left it up to the viewers to decide who won. It was smart, just like the rest of the show.
I knew going in that this show was going to get me in the old heart strings…and man, did it. One of the greatest things this show ever accomplished was getting the viewers to intimately know the characters so well. Seeing everyone together for one last time and then seeing what happens to them in the future was a stroke of genius. I’m not going to lie…I cried. A lot. There were so many emotional moments: April and Andy having a baby, Garry/Jerry/Terry/Larry getting his due (after being the butt of sooooo many jokes) as mayor of Pawnee, Ben giving Leslie the opportunity to run for Governor of Indiana…take your pick. However, I got ALL of the feels whenever Leslie got Ron the job of being the head of the new National Park in Pawnee. Seeing Ron in absolute bliss as he takes a canoe ride while Willie Nelson’s “Buddy” plays in the background…it was perfect and one of the many moments that’ll get fans reaching for the Kleenex.
Overall, there was nothing that I would change about this episode. The show runners did a perfect job at being true to the fans while at the same time delivering on everything that made Parks and Recreation successful. Also, the emotions that flowed out of me, whether it be happiness or sloppy crying, was truly impressive. I will miss the hell out of this show, but it wrapped up so well that I can’t complain. Goodbye, Parks and Rec…you’ll be missed, old friend.
Second Opinion from Trey Elliott, Editor In Chief