Parks & Recreation, Finale


Raise your hand if you teared up a little over that Parks and Recreation series finale,  aka you are indeed a human being and not a robot!

[Spoilers ahoy!]

Our dear friends from Pawnee sailed off into the sunset with a touching look at what the future holds for all of them. But the biggest question on our minds: Did Leslie Knope become president?!

Also, we must know if Leslie and Ann's children fell in love. And of course, prospects of any kind of reunion/movie.

Here, creator and executive producer Mike Schur tackles our biggest questions:

MYSTERY #1: Did Leslie Knope become President of the United States? Is that why there were Secret Service agents at Garry's funeral?
You get to decide. "We declared a lot of things explicitly about what happens to all the characters," Mike Schur tells me. "And I wanted there to be one point of real ambiguity. I declared it in the writers' room as the 'David Chase end of The Sopranos moment.' Lower stakes probably, but I just wanted there to be one thing where people would look at the information and then suss it out in their own minds what they think happened. And so I told the gentleman [at the funeral] who said, ‘It's time to go'…I said, 'You're not addressing either of them individually.'"

"He doesn't say Madame President. He doesn't say senator. He doesn't say Mr. Secretary. He  just says ‘It's time to go' and it's unclear who he's talking to and he appears to be a Secret Service agent, but he also could be a limo driver. I wanted it to be ambiguous and I wanted there to be a way that fans of the show and people who were invested in those characters could make up in their own minds what they think happened. You don't have to say everything. "

MYSTERY #2: Are there more flash forwards that were cut?
Yes. "There's gonna be a producers' cut," Schur reveals, "that has about 10 minutes of extra stuff tomorrow. I think it's gonna be up there. It includes flash forwards for both Councilman Jam and Shawna Mulwae-Tweep. It really killed me, they're both really funny and the problem was that shrinking it to 43 minutes we really needed to focus on the characters who have been on every episode for seven years. "

MYSTERY #3: Did Ann and Leslie's kids fall in love?
 It could happen! "We felt the ultimate Ann and Leslie ending for their friendship would be if their kids were in love. Those kids are 10 so a lot of things would have to happen. But at the very least we wanted to show the kids hanging out and having a good time. Because it's such an important theme in the show that friendships matter and that groups of friends matter, and I wanted to sense that there's another generation coming up behind this generation of people who will be connected in some way and stay in each other's lives."

Parks & Recreation, Finale


MYSTERY #4: Because we saw how everyone ended up, will there not be more Parks and Rec ever?
 Never say never. "You know it's crazy but it never occurred to me that the finale seemed to be pointing in that direction!" Schur says. "I love the idea of a reunion, because I love this group of people so much, but the reality is that the most likely scenario that this entire group of people will ever be together at the same time in the same place is that they'll all be nominated for Oscars. They all remain friends and we're all going on Seth Meyers tonight and I don't  think we'll ever not be friends because it was a really special time, it's a really special group of people. But the idea of trying to pull of something like that...Believe me, if that is ever even hinted at as a reality I'll be the first in line. The way the world of television has gone, it's at least possible. So I'll never say never."

MYSTERY #5: How and why did Joe Biden come back? Did you consider getting Hillary Clinton?
 Yes, they considered Hillary BUT… "We stepped on this unintentional minefield jumping into 2017, and it was with the senators we shot, too, we're now talking about political futures which is a very complex thing, and essentially impossible to reach out to Hillary Clinton. Because she's either going to run for president or not or be the president or not and we would have to address that in some way. But with Vice President Biden you can rest assured that whatever his political future is, he'll be a person that is a senior member of the Democratic party for a long time. So we were able to just kind of show that he's still around and he's still active and he's actively engaged in the political matters of the day, which is all that mattered for that scene. I was also really thrilled that his wife Dr. Jill Biden joined him because she is kind of a personal hero to my family, there's a lot of teachers in my family and extended family so it was cool to have both of them."

Parks & Recreation, Finale


MYSTERY #6: What will the show be most remembered for?
THE ANSWER: The cast, and the feeling it gave. "I'm quite sure that the show will mostly be remembered for the cast and how good the cast is," Schur contends." I think in 10 or 15 years or maybe 1 year, it's gonna seem absolutely improbable that this cast was actually together in a TV show. If you could cast a movie with this cast, I mean, the bidding war would be insane. People would be falling all over themselves trying to give you more money to make that movie. So in a very basic way I think the legacy of the show will be the cast, and how funny they were week after week after week.  I hope that there's some other legacy to this show, which is just that it made people feel good. And that it was a happy place and that Pawnee was a happy place to visit and that people enjoyed watching the town grow."

MYSTERY #7: What was the greatest message that we should take away from the six incredible seasons of Parks and Recreation?
THE ANSWER: We CAN do better. "The show was very upbeat and optimistic—at  a time when there's not a ton to be optimistic about, especially in the world of politics and government. In 2008 we had a new president who came into office with this great message of hope and optimism and the system and to some extent his decisions, and to a larger extent, a lot of other decisions made by other people just turned everything into the same twisted defeatist nightmare that we've been living in for a really long time now. Hopefully this show was kind of a nice counterbalance to the political realities of the world. In that it was a show about people who wanted to do good things for people and make people's lives better. And you know, that seems like a very Pollyannaish attitude, and we were constantly asking ourselves, ‘Are we crazy to be portraying this?' But I don't think that it is a crazy pipe dream that a 19th century Libertarian [Ron Swanson] and a 21st century progressive [Leslie Knope] can find areas of commonality and can be civil to each other and respectful and even be friends. And beyond that, I don't think it's naïve to think that people like that can actually help each other and be good to each other and give each other good ideas. And show each other that there's another side to every argument that can be given without yelling and screaming and waiving your fist and insulting each other."


Thank you, Mike Schur, and the entire Parks and Recreation crew for six entertaining and satisfying years of one of the best TV comedies of all time. We'll see you at the Oscars. Hopefully sharing waffles.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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