Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Parks and Rec: the final season

by Kelsey Barritt, Writing Intern            

After a long wait, and serious withdrawals, Parks and Rec fans got exactly what they wanted. The show finally started their farewell season this January, and it did not disappoint. Although the show looks to be much different than past seasons, our favorite Pawnee government employees bring just as much laughter as ever.

Oddly, this season begins in the year 2017. The writers definitely have fun with this. They constantly embed jokes that include predictions like “Hitch 2” or a new Jason Bourne movie. The characters also have transparent tablets used for communication and web surfing. Other than that, Pawnee, Indiana remains the same. City Hall still displays graphic Indian-fight scenes. The characters’ lives in the year 2017 are almost exactly what would be expected. Leslie works on creating national parks. Tom actually made it; he’s a restaurant mogul. April and Andy still avoid adulthood like the plague, and Jerry now goes by Terry.

Photo by David Shankbone
One aspect of 2017 does surprise viewers. For some very vague reason, Leslie and Ron become mortal enemies. They come head to head in the season premier, and Ron alludes to Leslie still being upset about “morning star.” Viewers wonder what this means, but know it was most likely a collision of Leslie’s ambition and Ron’s simplicity. Classic character quotes fill the entire premier. Whether it is Leslie saying she will start to cut back on work at age 100 or Ron claiming he’s never known what bangs are and doesn't intend to learn--personalities have not changed. Often, it seems like lines are only there to remind viewers of the characters’ personality traits. They can be unnatural and almost annoying.

For the most part, Parks and Rec provides laughs throughout the entire premier. And of course, a Tammy appearance is mandatory. Ron’s absolutely insane ex-wife comes back crazier than ever, but with new prey. Megan Mullally flawlessly makes viewers cringe in the worst best ways possible. She truly gives the show a boost when necessary. This time, her appearance gave a needed distraction from the confusion of the future.

While this unique setup evokes interest, it also brings quite a bit of disorder for a final season. Starting the season so late already caused dismay. Because it takes place in the future, there are so many gaps in the plot and unknown background that viewers may lose interest. The previous seasons wowed and may have been game-changing. Now, the show will inevitably bounce all over the place and constantly need explanation. Parks and Rec took a rather large risk here. Time will tell if it pays off.

If fans learned one thing in six seasons, it’s that Parks and Rec does not disappoint. It doesn’t. Outrageous, enthusiastic characters like Leslie Nope make viewers laugh at her, and themselves. Quirky duos like April and Andy evoke a goofy appreciation. Stoic, simplistic characters like Ron Swanson add a much needed reality check.  This show provides epic moments consistently. It would be a shame if this odd switch hurt its validity and legacy.

Viewers should keep faith that Parks and Rec will continue to thrive; they've earned our trust. The time change will most likely cease to be relevant, and the cast will be up to their usual antics. Every now and again we may be distracted by little nuggets of the futuristic time period. But Parks and Rec just does not have the ability to disappoint fans. Fans should only be disappointed by the fact that this is the last season.

            
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