A reluctant goodbye.
According to my Twitter history, this was the first time I watched Parks and let the world know about it:
— Luciana V. (@lucianavee) October 28, 2011
It was probably a couple of days after the Treat Yo Self episode (Called “Pawnee Rangers”) which started it all for me. The point of bringing this up is because I feel I should have been more vocal about the show, I should have told more people to watch it. Now that it’s over, I can’t imagine another show bringing so much sunniness and optimism to the TV screen, and I think of those people who never got a chance to laugh with the show. What I loved the most about Parks, was how each and every single member of the Parks team helped and encouraged each other. Unlike other comedies, what made Parks special was the fact that, just like the characters wanted the best for each other, you wanted the best for them too.
Now on to the series finale, many tears were shed, and in true Parks fashion, every character got the happy ending they deserved. “One Last Ride” to do something for Pawnee while their own futures lied ahead.
We got to see Donna live her dream of being a real state agent in Seattle with her husband Joe. She even got to the point that she decided to put away some of her money and call April to help her launch Teach Yo Self–a foundation benefiting her husband’s school where he teaches and other schools that need it. Donna always had it all figured it out, and I’m glad to see Regal Meagle treat herself and help others in the future.
Mayor Gergich. We got to see him re-elected multiple times for Mayor of Pawnee, and live happily with his family. While he was the only member whose funeral was shown, his last words were that he lived a happy life, up to 100 years, and that, my friends, made my heart melt. More often than not, Garry was a background member of the Parks team, and it was nice to finally see him take the spotlight as the mayor and ultimately live a good life that he deserved. What a about those secret agents behind Ben and Leslie at the funeral? We’ll get to that in a minute.
One of my favorite guest characters made an appearance, singing included. The same singing that would give him away at his fake funeral. Glad to know that he told Leslie she was his one true love. Someone write a fanfic about Leslie and Jean Ralphio (just kidding! Leslie + Ben 4 eva)
Yes, the same Craig with the medical condition of caring too much got a flash forward and we see him not only singing at Tom’s Bistro, but marrying Typhoon and Ron Swanson is the best man. God, I love the future.
Rent-A-Swag, Entertainment 720, Know Ya Boo, and so many countless entrepreneurial ideas, Tom became the mogul he always wanted to be, although not in the way we would think. After failing with Tom’s Bistro, he decided to turn his life around and released his book “Failure: An American Success Story“, which included a test to find out which type of person were you based on the Parks gang. There were Tom’s, Donna’s, Ben’s, Leslie’s,etc but the most important thing: Never be a Jerry! On the other hand, I was happy to see Tom with Lucy, and I’m sure if even the author/speaker thing doesn’t work out, he’ll come up with something else. (Later we find out at the reunion, that there’s a 2nd book in the works and a re-do of the personality quiz since Ben got that he was a Tom)
April and Andy
Burt Macklin is back on Halloween, and April and Andy join Ben and Leslie for the night. At the Wyatt-Knope residence, Leslie talks to April about having kids, and ultimately tells her to do it only if she wants “more members for her team”. Which of course, happens, a year later, on Halloween, April with Halloween makeup on her face and Andy holding her hand and playing her labor playlist. Burt Snakehole Ludgate Karate Dracula Macklin Demon Jack-O-Lantern Dwyer, you are one lucky baby. (Aaaand we find out later at the reunion that April is pregnant with her second child!)
After retiring from Very Good Building and Development, co, Ron Swanson was at a crossroads in life and recurred to his good friend Leslie, at her house in Washington DC (!!!), where he tells her about regretting that time they didn’t speak (end season 6/beginning season 7) and it was one of those magical times where we could feel Ron and Leslie’s friendship and wonder if their futures would have been any different if they remained friends in 2017. Leslie, loving a personal crossroads, arranged for Ron to work at Pawnee’s National Park. His workplace acquaintance got him more than a job, a life in the outdoors that he always wanted. His smile as he was on the “Lucky Boy” canoe was too much for my emotions.
Leslie and Ben
Vice president Joe Biden makes an appearance in 2025 as he invites Leslie and Congressman Ben Wyatt, both living in DC, to a house party with charades included. Suddenly, both are approached (separately) about becoming governors of Indiana. In their own personal dilemma about who should run for governor, they both decide to take a quick trip to Pawnee and meet with the whole Parks crew to tell them in person, and hear what they have to say. Bring in the Parks crew and Leslie’s tears (mine too) to have everyone reunited at the same time and the same place. We get to see Donna, Tom, Garry, Ron, Andy, April and also opalescent tree shark Ann Perkins and Chris with their children. I need to point out their children because Ann named her daughter Leslie and Ann, you beautiful sunflower, you are too precious for words.
As Ben and Leslie decide to announce that they’re both thinking about running for government, Ben decides to say it first and says that Leslie is the one who will do it. You precious human being Ben, you. We get to see Leslie run as governor for two terms, receive an honorary degree from Indiana University and they name the library after her (LOL). Remember those secret agents at Garry’s funeral? While we don’t exactly know who is the president in this distant future, I’m sure that either one of them would be great for the job.
Thank you Parks, for being a show about inherently good people. A show that made everyone happy. Thank you for the pop culture references, the times where Ben’s nerd could not be contained, Donna’s countless list of men on check, Ron’s devotion to bacon and eggs, whenever no one would get Garry’s name right, Ann’s superlatives given by Leslie, April’s transformation into a more loving person and her love for Andy, Andy checking Leslie’s symptoms online (“Leslie, I think you have network connectivity problems”), Chris’ literal health and happiness, and last but not least, Leslie’s undeniable can-do attitude that shined on everyone at the Parks department, making them and us, better people. I’ll miss you, Pawnee.
Read more about Our Top Favorite Parks & Rec Scenes
Read Allyson’s post about Goodbye Parks and Recreation: I’ll Miss You Leslie Knope
Pictures credit: All pictures courtesy of NBC.com