It’s been a while since viewers have last been able to see life in Pawnee, Indiana but two weeks ago NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” graced TV screens nationwide with their new and final Season 7.
“Parks and Recreation” stars Amy Poehler as lead character Leslie Knope, a passionate government employee in a small town overrun with obese toddlers and racoons. Leslie is the director of the National Parks department, and loves her job immensely, “I’m going to work until I’m one hundred, and then cut back to four days a week. Ugh, God, I’m already bored thinking about that one day off. Maybe I’ll go to law school or something.”
Composing her group are fellow government employees Tom Haverford, (Aziz Anzari), business owner of popular former business “Rent-A-Swag,” Knope’s meat-loving, wood connoisseur boss Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), and her best friend, nurse Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones).
The seventh season started off with a time jump five years into the future from where the last season had left off. Leslie had been recently appointed as the Director of the Midwest National Parks. This occurred after she was kicked out of City Council office when the residents of Pawnee got angry after she put a soda tax on child sized sodas (As mentioned in the show, “Well, it’s roughly the size of a two-year old child, if the child were liquefied. It’s a real bargain at $1.59.”)
Life seems to be going well for Leslie – along with many of her former colleagues. Tom has become a mogul after his restaurant took off. Ron owns his own wood building company, The Very Good Building and Development Company, named because he “wanted to convey the quality of our work without seeming flashy.”
Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), the lovable goofball on the show and City Hall’s former shoe shiner, has his own TV show called “Johnny Karate” and his serious, animal-loving wife April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) works with Leslie in the National Parks department.
Donna Meagle (Retta) has her own real estate firm now, and still keeps in contact with her cousin Ginuwine. Jerry, now named “Terry” after numerous name changes over the show, is still constantly ridiculed by the rest of the Parks department, like Tom who said, “Damn Jerry! You jumped in a river to get a burrito and broke your arm? What would you do for a Klondike bar? Kill your wife?”
There’s no secret that I love this show. Actually, I watched all of Season 5 in one day with my mom over the summer because we were both sick. But although season seven brings back familiar faces and life seems to be going well, with the exception of the incident in “Morning Star” in the opening episode, season seven is not as funny as previous seasons.
Don’t get me wrong, Amy Poehler is a comedic genius. But the fight between Ron and Leslie seems to contradict their entire friendship in all of the previous seasons, and it seems completely unrealistic. What makes Parks and Recreation so great is that it takes the mundane parts of life and makes them humorous and pokes fun at them, without having to turn characters against each other.
Parks and Recreation is great at having trademark characters and traditions. Back in season three, Leslie and her crew celebrated the death of mini-horse Lil’ Sebastian who is the crown jewel of Pawnee, “He was an animal, a legend, a friend. He was our beacon of light. In what is surely the most monumental news to come out of Pawnee since the eradication of smallpox in 1993, it is with sorrow that we report: Li’l Sebastian is dead. But he will never leave our hearts and our memories.”
If only the writers of Parks and Recreation could write in more discrete jokes that encapsulate the lovable small town of Pawnee, then maybe season seven could live up to the hype.
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