“Parks and Recreation” lasted six seasons for two primary reasons. First, the show had incredible talent to include Amy Poehler starring as Leslie Knope, among others. Second, the writing for the show was consistently funny and smart, keeping viewers connected.
In the final season, Mike Schur, co-creator and show-runner of the series, took a huge risk. For the finale, Schur took the storyline a few years into the future, showing viewers what life in the fictional city of Pawnee would be. While the move was a definite gamble, it appears to have paid off.
The final season showed April, played by Aubrey Plaza and Andy who is played by Chris Pratt, living as responsible and productive grownups. In addition, Donna played by Retta is getting married while Tom, played by Aziz Ansari, has become an extremely successful businessman.
Schur also brought the cast back to the Parks Department where everything started and allowed things to unfold into the future. Some people thought the bold move would backfire but in reality, it has been well-received.
Initially, “Parks and Recreation” was to be a spinoff of “The Office” but that plan was eventually abandoned. The firs season was a little rocky as viewers tried to figure out the quirkiness of the characters but by the second season, the show had emotion and depth. As the series continued, those attributes stretched across many different levels.
Instead of Knope being naïve and lacking effectiveness, she evolved into a highly capable and ambitious woman who cherished her job. Interestingly, with each new season, Knope became the most unapologetic feminist characters on television, someone not afraid to challenge cross-gender stereotypes and who proudly displayed photographs of Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton on her desk.
In looking back, “Parks and Recreation” was a special television series, one that reached the top of its game but on its own terms. The cast was originally comprised of character actors and little-known comedians but thanks to the show, people like Poehler and Pratt are big names in the entertainment industry. Other cast members have gone on to great things, thanks to the show.
As the final season winds down, Knope gives a speech in 2025 while accepting an honorary doctorate, saying the thing that makes work worth doing is having the opportunity to do it with those you love. As a final and heartfelt sendoff, the ending credits of “Parks and Recreation” feature bloopers.