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"Parks and Recreation" Series Finale Recap: Saying goodbye


“Parks and Recreation,” the brilliant and beloved TV series from creator Mike Schur and Greg Daniels and the talents of Amy Poehler and many, many others came to an end on on February 24.

As a final goodbye, the Parks crew took viewers for one last task: to fix a swing in a park. As Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler, “Mean Girls”), Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott, “Step Brothers”), Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy), April Ludgate-Dwyer (Aubrey Plaza, “Safety Not Guaranteed”), Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari, “Bob’s Burgers”), Donna Meagle (Retta, “Fracture”), Garry Gergich (Jim O’Heir, “Accepted”) and of course the incomparable Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman, “Gilmore Girls”) spend their last day at the Parks Department dealing with one last problem, viewers get to see how their lives turn out in the future.

Donna becomes a successful realtor in Seattle by 2023, supporting her husband Joe’s (Keegan-Michael Key, “Key and Peele”) education goals by establishing an education program through the foundation April works for. Because, if you were wondering, schools cut math completely. Also, April is “Satan’s niece” in Donna’s phone.

April and Andy move to Washington, D.C. and contemplate having a family. Andy really, really wants to have kids but April would really only be in it for the puking and gross stretch marks because, as she said, “At the end, we’ve brought a child into the world, that’s disgusting.” But, lo and behold, the next Halloween April gives birth to Jack O’Lantern, Jack for short.

Tom decides to expand Tom’s Bistro, but after a series of unfortunate financial turns and bad luck (like the country running out of meat), Tom ends up penniless and produces a documentary about his own failure. Have no fear though, because Tom is always thinking. Despite having to sell his pocket square collection, he writes a best-selling novel called “Failure: An American Success Story.”

One of the biggest surprises for all Pawnee-ians had to be the success of Garry Gergich. After winning the election for mayor - ten times over - he dies peacefully at 100-years-old surrounded by his still beautiful wife and kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The Indiana Notary Society honors him with the highest honor a notary could receive - a 21 stamp salute.

In 2022, Ron is fed up with office life. He resigns from Very Good Building and Development Company and goes to Leslie at this crossroads in his life (Leslie loves those). Of course, Leslie knows exactly what to do and offers him the job of superintendent of the Pawnee National Park (!) and despite it being federal work, Ron Ulysses Swanson gets to traverse the beautiful outdoors in his Lucky Boy canoe.

And now to the beloved duo, Leslie and Ben.

Ben (or Congressman Ben), gets approached by Jennifer Barkley (Kathryn Hahn, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”), who tells him that he should run for Indiana governor. Oh, by the way, this is all at Joe Biden’s house. (He is a sore loser when it comes to charades.) But, forever a believer in his wife, Ben gives up running for governor for Leslie, who was approached the same night by the Democratic National Convention.

Leslie runs for governor, and of course, serves for two terms. She gives the commencement speech at Indiana University, Pawnee in 2035, and they rename the library after her. (Leslie: “A *bleep* library.”)

But before the show ends for good, Ben has a surprise for Leslie on their trip back to Pawnee: a visit to the old Parks Department, where everyone is gathered together for one more reunion. Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones, “Web Therapy”) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe, “Californication”) make a lovely surprise visit. Chris and Ann have gotten married and have multiple kids at this point. They’re moving back to Pawnee, where Chris will be working in admissions at the university. Everyone is together with their kids, enjoying each other, before they all continue on their separate (but always connected!) paths.

Fans of “Parks and Recreation” couldn’t have asked for a better finale. The Parks crew gave viewers their last taste of what the future holds for these Pawnee-ians and it is beautiful.

Stray thoughts…

*Notable mention: Craig Middlebrooks (Billy Eichner, “New Girl”) takes over the Parks Department. And in 2019, he and Typhoon (Rodney To, “Wilfred”) get married. Ron is the ring bearer.

*Donna came in 7th in “Italy’s Got Talent” because of course she did.

*Only April will miss the 4th floor, excluding Kyle.

*April also put on her Halloween makeup after she went into labor. She is a true gem.

*All women should dress up as Sandra Dee O’Connor for Halloween.

*Jean Ralphio (Ben Schwartz, “House of Lies”) dies in 2022 - for the insurance money - so that he and Mona Lisa (Jenny Slate, “Obvious Child”) can start a casino in Tajikistan. Brilliant. He also gets caught immediately.

*Also - Jean Ralphio: “Leslie, I’ve always loved you.” Leslie: “I know.”

*Brandi Maxxxx (Mara Marini, “Black-ish”) is the president of the council. And she has starred in over 1,000 adult films in the last few years. A true working woman.

*Ron now owns a portion of the Lagavulin Distillery.

*Ron’s kids are all beautiful and his daughter got accepted to Stanford. No, those are not tears. Crying is only acceptable at the Grand Canyon.

*That suit Leslie rocks when visiting Pawnee - just yes. So much yes.

*The Knope-Wyatt kids and the Perkins-Trager kids will fall in love. They will.

*The Secret Service (?) escort Leslie and Ben from Garry’s funeral. President, maybe? Madam Secretary?

*Leslie has inspired countless many to find their team. We thank you, Leslie.

*”Yes, I’m ready.”

*”We love you, Harris.” -The Parks Crew

@emilykbader -

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