Beloved show dishes laughs, tearful finale

(Updated 1/16/16) The “Parks and Recreation” farewell season ended just the way I wanted it to: wrapped in a perfect bow. Or maybe put together in a well-constructed, color-coded binder.

The last thing I want to do is give away any spoilers because I know the finale aired last week and most of us are drowning in mid-semester studies and don’t have time to give “Parks and Recreation” season seven the respect it deserves.

With that being said, I binge-watched this season at my parent’s house this weekend, emerging from my high school bedroom only for snacks.

When season six ended last year, the glimpse we got of “Parks and Rec” 2017 was scary. Ben and Leslie’s kids are up and running around? Ben is wearing a tuxedo with no explanation? Jon Hamm is the new Larry?

The writers left us with a cliffhanger, and I was afraid of what season seven had in store.

I was mostly afraid that the Knope-Wyatt triplets would steal the show. Thankfully, I was wrong. While the kids are present in season seven, Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie (Amy Poehler) are still the same, beautiful team, accomplishing one seemingly impossible change in government after another.

Season six also left me wondering about every character’s future. Sure, Tom (Aziz Ansari) finally opens his Bistro, and Donna (Retta) gives Joe (Kirk Fox) a second chance, but I needed closure and finality.

I think the writers read my mind. Season seven basically offers an episode to each character to develop his storyline.

These episodes were perfect for a sap like me, as they were full of feel-good, touchy-feely moments. I won’t go into detail, but there is a knowing glance between Jerry (Jim O’Heir) and Donna that pulled on my heartstrings. And don’t worry, this season obviously maintains the level of humor that we all expected. The whole season of plot development in each character’s life was an ideal setup for the finale.

The finale opens with the old “Parks and Rec” crew, minus Ann (Rashida Jones) and Chris (Rob Lowe), spending their last morning in the office. A Pawnee citizen comes to complain about a broken swing in a park near his house, and Leslie takes this as an opportunity for the gang to accomplish one last public service to Pawnee.

As the department walks through repairing the swing, Leslie shares a “moment” with each character, much like Michael Scott saying his goodbyes in “The Office.” No spoilers, but these “moments” are everything any “Parks and Rec” fan could ask for. Each character has a better future written for him than I could have imagined.

One of my favorite things about “Parks and Recreation” is the consistency of healthy romantic relationships. Sure Tammy One (Patricia Clarkson) and Tammy Two (Megan Mullally) make their appearances, but Ann and Chris, Leslie and Ben, and April and Andy are pretty pictures of what teamwork and love looks like. Every season has done a great job highlighting these relationships, and season seven is no different. In fact, the whole season shows a theme of love and family.

I had no questions at the end of this season, and I saw a lot of familiar faces from throughout the series. I wish I had seen more of a certain beautiful, rule-breaking moth, but I’ll take what I can get.

I almost made it through the final episode without any tears, but as Leslie Knope says, “Today should be perfect. And any perfect day involves crying uncontrollably.”

And my Friday night of binging “Parks and Recreation” was perfect.

image via netflixlife.com

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