This Parks And Recreation post is for people who have seen last night’s season finale—or at least read about its big, bold twist of a coda. It is written from the point-of-view of someone who has seen the finale and for the benefit of fans of “Moving Up” and the series as a whole. All discussion points are valid, up to and including the events of the finale’s final scene. However, we would ask that you clearly mark spoilers from the finale and that scene. The Newswire itself will be quite spoiler-y, and talk about Michael Schur talking about what “Moving Up” means to the future of Parks And Recreation. If you would still like to read the Newswire, but haven’t seen the finale, you should proceed with caution after this spoiler warning and in comments. Because you clicked on a link that says “Michael Schur confirms: Parks And Recreation finale means what you think it means,” and if you have any pretensions at all about living up to the Swanson Pyramid Of Greatness, you’ll accept responsibility for your own actions.
With that out of the way: Taking a cue from Battlestar Galactica—a conscious homage Michael Schur acknowledged in this detailed interview with dean of American TV critics Alan Sepinwall—Parks And Recreation ended its sixth season by flashing forward to the year 2017, when Pawnee, Indiana has become a bustling hub of the National Parks Department. And it’s going to stay there.
Schur elaborates on the thinking process behind the big, bold time jump, a move intended to keep the show in Pawnee while opening up storytelling opportunities for what is likely to be its final season. Also: Now you don’t have to hear new parents Leslie and Ben talking about losing sleep to a trio of screaming babies.
“Triplets was one step beyond the traditional sitcom plot of ‘too much to handle,’ and seemed a little more fun and crazy-making, and when we researched it we found that the odds are about 1 in 8000 (the title of that episode) which didn’t seem so nuts as to be implausible. But once we committed to that, we began imagining ways to avoid repeating what we had already seen with Ann—pads and foot pain and sleepless nights and so forth. The jump forward allows us to avoid a lot of things that (I would imagine) fans were fearing about getting Leslie pregnant, in terms of the stories we tell going forward. That was a big reason I liked it.”
So not only is Parks And Recreation now a show that takes place in the near future, it’s a show that takes place in a near-future where hacky parenthood comedy has been eradicated. It’s also a near-future where Jon Hamm plays the only parks department employee more incompetent than Jerry/Garry/Larry, who’s now Terry. Oh brave, new Parks And Rec world, with such ways to torture Jim O’Heir in it.
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