Parks and Recreation: Season 7 created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur (Deedle-Dee Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Media Studios)
Starring Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Jim O’Heir, Retta, and Adam Scott.
*Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons*
A recent Gallup poll exhibits the stark issues America faces in the workforce. Approximately 70% of the workforce hates their job. Even worse, around 40% of the workforce actively inhibits performance in the workplace due to poor job satisfaction.
We are afflicted with unhappiness. We barely put up with the people around us for 40 hours a week.
Given these trends, the pure joy and wish fulfillment at the core of Parks and Recreation represents an escape, even if the work remains rather tedious.
Time Jump Ambition
Unlike its sibling, The Office, Parks and Recreation has always focused on the strong relationships between its characters. With Season 7, the viewer gets to see Parks and Recreation at its most ambitious, with a time jump to 2017.
Our principle characters have moved on to different roles or jobs and Pawnee has encountered a stroke of luck as a flourishing small town in Indiana.
Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) manages the regional division of the national parks with her ever steady sidekick, April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza). While Leslie’s husband, Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) shoulders much of the responsibility for Pawnee’s thriving economy as the city manager, April’s husband, Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) has fulfilled his calling as Johnny Karate on the local TV access.
Elsewhere, everyone’s favorite Libertarian, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) has shuffled off the mortal coil of government work for entrepreneurship in the private sector. His business, Very Good Building Company, defines his ethos precisely.
Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) has transformed into a successful restaurateur and Donna Meagle (Retta) works in real estate and makes final plans for her wedding.
And let’s not forget Jerry, Larry, Terry, Garry Gergich (Jim O’Heir); he’s just happy to have friends.
The Good in Each Other
If any occupation provides sufficient reason for the dreary Gallup statistic, I would think government work would be top of the list. There’s a reason society adopted the phrase “close enough for government work.”
And yet, Parks and Recreation flourishes on the back of its characters. Of course, the jobs can be somewhat taxing, but the writers of this optimistic series continually rehash the good in people, even if the citizens of Pawnee return such favors with vitriol.
With Season 7 as the worst offender, Parks and Recreation has always had an emphasis on wish fulfillment. It might not be the stereotypical “happily-ever-after” narrative, but in many ways, every single character gets exactly what they need in this final season, even if it wasn’t exactly what they were expecting.
I’m glad to have adopted Pawnee as a surrogate community on Thursday-now-Tuesday nights. I’ve grown with these characters and it was a charm to see them set sail for comedy Elysium.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5