[This post contains SPOILERS for the Parks and Recreation Season 6 finale.]
Parks and Recreation – the acclaimed NBC comedy series led by Amy Poehler in her Golden Globe-winning role as unfalteringly optimistic government official Leslie Knope – appeared to be moving along in a conventional manner for most of its season 6 finale, before the episode took a sharp turn in its final moment and jumped forward in time three years, to life in Pawnee in the year 2017. The TV series’ seventh and final season will examine how much (and, in some ways, how little) life has changed for the citizens of Pawnee over those three skipped years, as teased by the above trailer.
Certain elements – like Andy (Chris Pratt) now being the star of his own local TV show – are revealed outright here, while others remain to be unveiled in full when Parks and Recreation returns to the airwaves in January 2015; such as, what married life is like for Leslie and Ben (Adam Scott), now that they have triplets, and just what Tom (Aziz Ansari) is doing now that he’s decided justifies referring to himself a “mogul”.
The show’s co-creator, Mike Schur, has said that some episodes may “fill in certain gaps that go back in time,” so there might be the occasional flashback to 2014-2017 this season. However, beyond that, the series’ (very loose) faux-documentary format should allow various characters to organically provide any exposition or explanation that viewers at home might need to catch up with what’s happening in the now on the show. There’s some of that in the season 7 preview, what with Larry/Gary (Jim O’Heir) explaining that he is, yet again, working under a name other than his real one.
Parks and Recreation has long done an excellent job of combining work-place comedy and heartfelt character-driven storytelling with broad social satire. Appropriately, in keeping with the semi-futuristic setting, it appears that the show’s final season will be taking its fair share of potshots at technology trends, with the extra freedom allowed by its time jump. Hence, in the preview, we see April (Aubrey Plaza) playing with some new gadget, while Leslie and Ben look terrified when a delivery drone shows up at their doorstep.
Fingers crossed, the seventh season of Parks and Recreation will provide a funny (as well as touching) coda to the conclusion for season six – which, if things hadn’t worked out in the real world, could’ve easily sufficed as the series finale. Production on the show is now finished and with the remaining episodes due to go by quicker thanks to the final season’s new airing format, we ought to savor what time we have left going through life with the always wacky (and, in Leslie’s case, always well-meaning) citizens of Pawnee.
Parks and Recreation season 7 premieres on NBC on January 13th, 2015, and will conclude with an hour-long series finale the following month on February 24th.