We start in the Parks Department office, with everyone gathered in 2017 to say goodbye before Leslie, Ben, Andy, and April move to D.C. Leslie is recapping the gang’s greatest hits, yet she’s still reviewing Parks projects from 2005, hence the crew’s unbridled boredom. Two things before we go to our first flashforward, Donna’s. One: The guy who comes in about the broken swing said it’s been broken for three months. Also, he was in a suit, and looked hella creepy, like he was the understudy for the main killer guy in “The Heat”. Why didn’t anyone ask him why he waited 3 months? Did anyone else think (until the end, when it was obvious she didn’t) that Leslie hired him to give the gang a final project? Of course, even if she didn’t, someone else could have. Two: The muffins in the P&R office are ENORMOUS. Pawnee 4 eva.
First, Of COURSE Donna wouldn’t get kicked out of En Vogue. She kicked THOSE bitches out. And of course she would have been in the top ten on Italy’s Got Talent. But serving on a Nascar pit crew? I don’t see her getting dirty.
Next, how awesome did Retta make Donna over the years? She went from a cheeky background worker to one of the biggest arbiters of taste on TV and in real life. I’m so glad that she ended up with Joe, who is pretty much the best guy ever except for Ben. Keegan Michael Key should have been on the show more. He’s adorable and I’m such a fan.
Seeing Donna happily married, kicking ass in real estate and making tons of money that she used to treat both her self and her husband’s self, felt so real and so right. Underneath all the shallow interests of material things and pop culture, it’s so true that Donna is the kind of generous and awesome person who would start an educational foundation to combat awful budget cuts in public schools. ‘Teach Yo’ Self’ is so freaking wonderful and I love that we got to see Donna and Joe do something so incredible together. Also, I’m kind of ambivalent about Seattle, but if they actually built a giant haystack around the Space Needle, to try and hide it? COOLEST PROJECT EVER.
- Who do you think runs Middle Korea?
- April is pregnant in this very first flash forward.
- “The school cut the math club – and – math.” Prescient.
Craig singing in Tom’s Bistro two years later is so perfect. I love that he and Typhoon end up together only because Craig reluctantly said, ‘Okay fine ugh.’ Ahhahaha. And Horatio Sanz married them! Ron as Typhoon’s best man was ridiculous but it still made me cry. I’m so glad that after Ron’s barber died he was able to forge this unlikely yet perfect friendship with Typhoon based on their shared hatred of Europeans.
Craig was underused in this past season, not given opportunity to be nearly as hilarious as his first few episodes on the show, when he gave us such gems as “That was so spot on, I need to go lie down for 45 minutes. NO, AN HOUR. A GOOD HOUR”, and of course his rant on behalf on Donna about different kinds of lawn: “Yes, I have a disease, it’s called caring too much??? And it’s INCURABLE!!” At least we are getting more Billy Eichner in real life, where he is exactly the same as Craig but louder.
Did you catch that the champagne Typhoon and Craig were served on that ridiculously sick airplane when they were way way old was Jean-Ralphio label? Looks like he got out of TaJIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIkistan alright!
Speaking of, his faked death and insurance scam plot with his sister Mona Lisa (who’s the worrrrrrrrst) was absolutely PERFECT.
They are such awful people and it’s totally believable if not downright obvious that they would do such dumb things after we leave them.
Poor Jean-Ralphio loved Leslie the whole time, as we knew. I almost feel bad for him but not because he’s a terrible person. Whom I love. His final scene with Leslie may have been his best ever. “Will you do me one final solid…of pretending to be my wife for an insurance scam BUT THEN WE FALL IN LOVE FOR REAL?!” Hahaha I died. His face at that last part was too sweet, and then of course he ruined it by continuing: “Also can I have a pair of your gym socks it’s not for anything weird it’s just a fetish I have.” Cutting immediately to his grave after Leslie says “I hope you have a long and happy life” was super dark (and hilarious), so I’m glad that he was watching his ‘funeral’ from behind a tree with Mona Lisa and they were faking the death for, yes, an insurance scam, planning to use the money to build a casino in TaJIIIIIIIIIIIIkistan which would probably be a huge failure. But we know from Craig’s way way future that Jean-Ralphio ends up having a winery so SHA-BOOSH! for him. I hope he’s fluhusshhh with cahashhh.
April & Andy
I love how even when Andy is at his dumbest (“Shotgun!” “We’re taking the elevator.” “I GET TO PUSH THE BUTTONS! I called it!”), she always has his back (“HE CALLED IT.”). Their relationship is, like every relationship on this show, so lovely and feels so real. I am going to miss them. I really liked seeing them in D.C. still hanging out with Leslie and Ben. When we shoot to Halloween in the near future, did you notice that one of the trick-or-treaters that Andy opens the door to was dressed as Chris Pratt’s character from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’?? How adorable is that! I’m glad we got to see Janet Snakehole, Burt Macklin, and little Champion again, even though there wasn’t enough Champion. Poor little guy is old now! “I have to ask, how many legs did the dog have when you found him?” This is still one of my favorite quotes from the entire series because, even though Ben says it, it says so much about Andy. (I also love that Chris Pratt apparently suggested that Andy’s cause of death would be being locked in a hot car. True.)
The only non-perfect thing about the entire episode was the ‘discussion’ about having children between April and Andy. Even though we already saw that April was pregnant in the first flashforward (Donna’s), their decision to have kids felt rushed. Or really nonexistent. It was very April to have her be totally on board with the stretch marks, weird veins, and puking, but not for the child part. However, her mind seemed made up against having kids; she did not seem just “on the fence” as they said. They should have made her seem more undecided, rather than so against kids, so that her eventual pregnancies don’t seem so wrong for her. It felt really strange to hear her say pretty decidedly that she didn’t want them, and then see her having one.
When we do see April in labor, I forgot that Dr. Saperstein was already an established character so for a second I thought having Henry Winkler as the ob/gyn was a reference to Friends, when the guy who delivers Phoebe’s triplets thinks he’s the Fonz. Everything makes me think of Friends! (The Parks finale was 10x better. Than any finale.)
- SANDRA DEE O’CONNOR. Unbelievable costume! Doing it next year.
- CONES OF DUNSHIRE 2! “Gameplay magazine called it ‘punishingly intricate’.”
Tom’s meeting with his investors was so good. I love that his investors are Ben, Ron, and Donna, and that during business hours he refers to Ben as Accounting Nerd. “I’m a Congressman, man, can you at least call me Ben?” “No can do Accounting Nerd.” And OF COURSE Ben recommended adding calzones to the menu. Perfect touch!
After the complete combustion of Entertainment 720 and the downward trajectory of the initially promising Rent-A-Swag, it felt kind of strange that Tom was all of a sudden very successful. So having him fail on a larger scale than ever, only to really find success by exploiting/writing about failure, was a genius and super appropriate move.
Tom watching his depressing documentary (that he made himself!) was pathetic but typical, and he looks really cute in glasses. I’m glad that he and Lucy seem happy together despite his failings (“who knew the country would run out of beef?” Um doesn’t everyone realize this?) And it was wonderful to have Tom parlay his business failures into a successful writing and speaking career talking about failing. I loved that his 7 types of successful people were all named and modeled after the main cast members. Tear. I’m happy that he finally (I assume) gets to meet the love of his life, Kendrick Lamar.
- The best is later on when the gang reconvenes in Pawnee and Ron says, “Tom. I took the quiz in your book. I am a Ron.” And Ben says, “Last time I took it I was a Tom!” Cue Tom’s super concerned face: “What? No! Take it again! I gotta recalibrate the quiz.”
- “What do we definitely NOT want to be?” Hundreds of audience members: “A GARRY!”
- “I had to sell my pocket square collection! Where are people’s eyes gonna be drawn to?!”
- Jerry: “I’m here with my two best friends, Leslie Knope and Tom Haverford.” Cue Tom busting into hysterical laughter.
Garry Gergich (Jerry, always)
Poor Jerry has been the victim of so much abuse during the entire series, from having his name frequently changed on him and no one ever wanting him around to being the only person Leslie Knope was mean to. All the harm just bounced off of him, but we always felt bad for Jerry even though he never felt bad about any of it. Luckily, the end of the show gave Jerry his Susan B. Anthony, like the end of Ocean’s 13 giving the airport slot wins to the poor tortured hotel reviewer. Jerry, interim mayor of Pawnee, was elected to the office officially, and then continued to be reelected for pretty much the rest of his life.
He lived to be 100, surrounded by his beautiful children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and of course his beautiful wife Gayle (Christie Brinkley), who, in a hilarious move by the show, never aged. He died in his sleep, and his funeral allowed for several amazing things: a) a later-in-life reunion by the gang, b) the 21 stamp salute, c) his tombstone to be spelled wrong, and d) MOST IMPORTANTLY – a chance for us to see Secret Service agents guarding Old Lady Leslie and Old Man Ben!!!!
- Brandi Maxx becomes councilwoman! Ahhhh!
- ONE OF THEM WAS PRESIDENT!!!!!! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG BEST. SHOW. EVER.
In 2022, Ron spontaneously decides to resign as chairman of Very Good Building & Development Co., telling his many brothers (they’re all brothers!) not to get emotional and to give him whatever severance is fair. On the advice of accountant Ben, Ron diversifies his fortune by selling some gold and becoming, naturally, the majority shareholder of Lagavulin. He comes to Leslie at his personal crossroads, when he’s unsure what to do with the rest of his life, and it’s a lovely moment that he comes to her for help. Leslie of course will know what to do, and she just makes some calls and gets him the job of Captain Park Ranger of the Pawnee National Park, the perfect decision. Ron as big boss park ranger of the park they saved together, just yes. I love that Leslie shot down all of Ron’s doubts quickly and when he finally accepted she said “Oh I already accepted for you. I still know how to forge your signature!” As Ron breathes in his new life and canoes out into the lake, they play what we know is Ron’s favorite song ‘Buddy’. That was just mean. So many tears even on the third viewing. Just perfect.
Leslie & Ben
When their segment opens, the ‘nice house’ they are in is the White House, correct? So Biden is president in 2023? I think that’s when it was. Second term? Amazing. Also I loved Dr. Jill’s hot pink dress. I think Mindy Kaling has worn it. The DNC person approaching Leslie about running for governor of Indiana was immediately topped by the appearance of Jen (Kathryn Hahn), the greatest and most realistic political character on modern TV. She is the best. I really wish she met Jean-Ralphio. Can you imagine how amazing they’d be together?
So, what a perfect problem to give our heroes, having to decide which one of them should run for governor when they were both qualified. I like that Ben pulled the car over when they were having an important conversation so he could devote his attention to it. I adore. Leslie naturally made a pros and cons list on their home white board, and the lists were identical for each of them. They meet the whole gang back in Pawnee and plan to run the question by everyone because OH MY ANN’S HERE! YOU GUYS! ANN’S HERE! Leslie’s unbridled joy as she pushes Ben away Elaine-style to get to Ann is my favorite. But how long has it been? Please tell me they haven’t been separated for almost a decade?!
I don’t even remember what brought everyone back to Pawnee for this reunion, but it was one of the best scenes, mostly because Ann and Chris (my absolute favorite) were back, and because we saw little duos break away to talk. Leslie and Chris went into an office so Leslie could give Chris a new list of amazing things to call Ann, since the best he could come up with on his own was comparing her to a ‘nutrient-rich chia seed’ and beautiful Ann is used to the most unique and jaw-dropping of compliments. The new ones include: “Ann, you rainbow-infused space unicorn.” “Ann, you beautiful sassy mannequin come to life.” “Ann, you opalescent tree shark.” In like a 10 second scene, Chris managed to say ‘literally’ and became afraid of a new health threat: “Aren’t you afraid that thing will give you cancer?” “Well now I am.” And I love that we saw Ben and Ann talking for like 2 seconds about Cones of Dunshire and Ann looked SO bored!
I was rooting for Leslie and Ben to decide that Leslie should run for governor, so when she said let’s flip a coin to decide I got nervous. But of course super perfect Ben thought about how much he freaking loved her because who doesn’t and realized how great she is and so he decided for them that she’d run. Cut to about 12 years later, when Leslie, speaking to a graduating class at Indiana University, refers to her two terms as their governor. TEAR. She won! Twice! And the whole gang is in the audience! Screw students’ 4th relatives! But OMG the Dean announced the creation of the Leslie Knope Library! Ahahhahahahahaha! Leslie mutters under her breath, “a fucking library?” How they managed to fit so many inside jokes in this hour is just astounding.
- ANN’S DAUGHTER IS NAMED LESLIE. Did you catch that? That’s the sweetest thing ever.
- “Ben will be running my campaign because he’s a super genius and he’s got a tight compact little body like an Italian sports car.”
So this was the best finale maybe of all time, yes? It was a genius move to just hint at the presidency, and to leave it vague whether it was Leslie or Ben. I love that you can pick who you want, but obviously it was Leslie because come on! Best ever! Leslie killed us with this line: “That’s all I want, all of these people in the same place at the same time.” US TOO.