Some television shows are constantly treading the line between canceled and renewed. For the better part of its run, Parks and Recreation has been such a show. Even when they are renewed, their episode orders can continually fluctuate. Originally slated for 13 episodes (and a likely demise), Parks and Rec was once again faced with the task of writing an episode that could serve as a potential end to their show. Then, the episode order changed, and the puffed up brass at NBC got smacked down yet again (LOL, NBC). Viewed in a vacuum, this week’s episode of Parks and Rec was amusing and delightfully sappy in ways that we have come to expect. However, when you consider this episode as a potential penultimate episode (to next week’s wedding episode), then the episode looks all that more vibrant, sweet, and true to everything this show has been about for five seasons.
It was good to see the Lot 48 fiasco come to a satisfying conclusion if only to get rid of the hate-able Councilman Jamm. Perhaps it’s a testament to the show that he is such an unlikable person, but he lacks the calculated ridiculousness of the rest of Pawnee’s less desirable characters. Still, the ending was a lovely testament to the collective will of the Parks Department. Taken away from organizing her black tie gala, Leslie is forced to relinquish control of the event to Ben and the Parks staff. What results isn’t surprising given Parks and Rec’s track record, but it is incredibly satisfying: Ron takes over Pawnee Today from a hungover Joan Calamezzo and proceeds to take the show to the highest of heights. He produces valuable insight (“Dogs under 50 pounds are cats, and cats are pointless.”), thoughts on table repair, and opening a business. I wish with all of my tiny heart this show was a real thing. I’d watch every week and have all the DVDs.
Andy’s continued pursuit to become a cop ended fairly bittersweet. He won’t be joining the force anytime soon (damn personality exam!), but he does get to leave with the honor of being the only person in history to record a 100% on the written examination. On Parks and Rec, you may fail, but you’ll always walk away with a reason to keep your head up. Still, I can’t help but wonder if the personality exam would have gone different if he had April’s reverse rabbit foot good luck charm (it’s just the rest of the rabbit minus the feet) sitting in his lap.
The reason why this episode can easily be viewed as a potential penultimate episode to a season/series finale comes in the final scene. With everything unfolding exactly as Leslie had hoped, the love that Ben and Leslie share finally spills over. They can no longer wait. They have to get married at the gala. Everything is perfectly set up for next week’s wedding episode. If their wedding comes close to matching their engagement, chances are it may start to get a little dusty in your house by 9 PM next Thursday. I’d pack some tissues just in case.