PARKS AND RECREATION Season 7 Premiere: “Thank you, Commissioner Gordon, people of Gotham…”

leslies71500x500

I am quite sad Parks and Rec is coming to an end.

I really respect their decision to end on their own terms, before it overstayed its welcome — while the show might not be as brilliant as it was at its peak, it’s still consistently funny and heartwarming. The first two episodes of this season prove it.

Finishing last season with the time jump to 2017 allowed them to refresh their world and shake up their dynamics and characters just enough that the show’s current story lines feel rejuvenated

I’ll be honest: when the time jump was introduced, I was surprised and somewhat hesitant about it. Now that I have watched two whole episodes set there (as opposed to a couple of minutes at the end of last season’s finale), I have to say they’ve done a great job with it. The characters are still the same, but three years older, so they’ve evolved and are quite successful at what they do.

Yet, there is also conflict for the characters: Andy and April are becoming an old married couple in their own eyes, and April wants to do something with her life). Ron and Leslie are at war. Tom is a successful mogul who feels lonely and is looking for love, etc. Andy and April end up buying a haunted house (I loved that Werner Herzog cameo). After her contacting him, Tom drunkenly gets a cab to Chicago and gets ex-girlfriend Lucy to work for him.

Ron and Leslie’s war is not quite resolved, but that’s alright with me. Their relationship has always been at the center of the show and one of the most interesting relationships on TV, in my opinion. I like that their struggle stems from the fact Ron left the Parks department and is now challenging her over yet another piece of land.

In fact, I quite like the big arc of the season revolves around yet another park: Leslie wouldn’t be where she is right now had it not been for the pit that ultimately became a public greenspace. Now, she wants to create a national park right in her “backyard.”  I cannot wait to see how it develops, but I liked seeing what she used to try to win the bid (despite the low offer) — Leslie has come very far. (I particularly love this is reflected in the promotional material for the show too. Just look at season one’s and season seven’s side by side.)

However, as much fun it is to see Ron and Leslie as “enemies,” the second half hour saw them team up as reluctant allies to break Jamm from Tammy II’s spell. They will undoubtedly be at odds again next week, but I enjoyed this short truce. As for the storyline itself: I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jamm by the end of last season, but this whole plot was hilarious: seeing Jamm as a depressed Ron clone was fun and the deprogramming scenes were hilarious. Megan Mullally is, as per usual, a delight in the role of Ron’s she-devil ex-wife. (Also worthy of mention: Amy Poehler’s Megan Mullally’s impression is spot-on.)

I could keep singling out things that happened in these first two episodes, but there’s too much to cover.  There was a bit of exposition setting up the next few outings, but the storylines were engaging.

What I like so much about the show is that, despite being set two years from now, it feels as real and human as ever. As much as the futuristic technology and imaginative predictions (a rebooted Bourne franchise! Cubs wins the World Series! Shia LaBeouf has a wedding dress line now!), I enjoy that the show is still grounded. I particularly liked April’s horror at her stale relationship and her dissatisfaction in the job (and trying to find a new one). Leslie might have come really far, but it’s also admirable how far April (and everyone) has matured.

 

Have I mentioned it is also a lot of fun? Not only does it have really funny lines, but there are nice callbacks. I found myself sad at the prospect of the show ending in a few weeks — these episodes were quite solid and funny and with lots of great cameos.

Season 7 is certainly demonstrating why Parks and Recreation continues to be a gem on the small screen.

Some other things I didn’t mention…

  • Ben’s tuxedo in the finale was for the Pawnee bicentennial. I have a couple observations about that scene: 1) If you put a cake on a scene, of course someone’s going to end up on it; 2) I knew Tom would use Ben’s introduction to promote himself.
  • However, I very much loved the scene in Ben’s office when Tom reads him the intro he prepared and they end up hugging. Aw.
  • April’s adoration for an even crazier Joan Callamezzo was hilarious. Joan herself was amazing. (There’s a reason why “People of Gotham” trended on twitter. See: post’s title.)
  • Too bad Lucy has a boyfriend! She’s my favorite of Tom’s ex-girlfriends, and I hope it works out. Good to see Natalie Morales again!
  • Donna is getting married! She’ll wear one of the aforementioned Shia LaBeouf dresses.
  • Garry (Jerry) now goes by Barry (on Andy’s show) and Terry (in the new group).
  • I’d probably watch Andy’s “Johnny Karate” show.
  • Donna’s justification for April’s current doubts (Saturn’s revolved around the Sun exactly once in April’s life, as it takes about 29 years) is wonderful and I will use it when the time comes. She also experienced it! I want a Donna in my life. Heck, I want to be Donna.
  • I almost started writing some of the funniest lines from the episodes, but then I realized we could be here forever.
  • So much good stuff.
  • May I recommend heading over to the Parks and Recreation twitter account? The writers were live-tweeting the episodes with some interesting observations.
… is a young graduate student that has been way too passionate about television ever since she was little. While she insists she doesn’t have a specific type of show, they all usually have strong but flawed lady characters, some derivation of the stubborn friends-in-love/friends-to-lovers trope, and they all make her yell at her tv a lot. She just wishes she had more hours in the day so she could actually write about this.
You can usually find her on Twitter, Tumblr, and at cassidy at thankyoulizlemon.com

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: