For everyone who groaned at the “Two and a Half Men” series finale last week, take a look at “Parks and Recreation” for a good example: This is how to do an ending to a beloved show. We treated ourselves mightily, and what we had in the end was a pretty delightful hour of good television complete with surprises, flash-forwards, and reminders of why this became a classic TV show that will be remembered for fears.
Let’s start first of all with all of the great cameos. It was wonderful to see back Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, even if we knew that it was coming. Joe Biden was more of a surprise. As for Ben Schwartz and Jenny Slate, let’s just say that we would be thrilled if there was ever a spin-off show all about Jean-Ralphio and Mona Lisa continuing to be terrible people. Many minor characters even turned out throughout the hour.
Then, we had flashforwards to the futures of many beloved characters. We found out that April and Andy finally had a kid, Tom lost his restaurants but eventually became an author, and Garry / Jerry / Larry continued to be Mayor seemingly until he passed away at the age of 100. The most beautiful moment of the entire episode may actually have been Ron getting to have a new job working at Pawnee’s new National Park. He gets to be outdoors, and actually do something that he loves … even if it is working for the Federal Government.
In the future we learned that Leslie decided to run for Governor, and hilariously had a library named after her. Remember how she felt about libraries?
This episode was wonderful, and it proved that sometimes, you don’t need to get too cute with the ending. We also like that there was at least still some ambiguity about one thing: Whether or not Leslie ended up becoming President of the United States. Given the security detail that was with her, we suspect that may be the case. Episode Grade: A+.
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