Tonight was the premiere of the seventh and final season of my absolute favorite television show, Parks and Recreation. Two half-hour episodes filled my heart with more emotions than I can probably put into words. I was amused, angered, happy, saddened. The magic of the series and the cast did not let me down. In the first episode, we pick up with the time jump from last season’s finale. The year is 2017 and Leslie & Ben are on their way to a Gala for Pawnee’s Bicentennial, where Ben is being honored as Pawnee’s Man of the Year. Unfortunately for him, his wife is a little distracted when she finds out the Newports (Pawnee’s wealthiest family) are selling a huge piece of land that would be perfect for a new National Park. Obviously, this is the perfect project for Leslie to latch on to. Unfortunately, her former boss/mentor (the amazing) Ron I’ll-take-all-the-bacon-and-eggs-you-have Swanson is also looking to develop the land for the Grizzl corporation, which seems to have brought new life and lots of money and technology to the simple town of Pawnee in the three-year time jump.
At this point, I have to say to the writers, “How Dare You!” Leslie and Ron fighting like this is not what I signed on for! Also, it was hilarious and I understand why you did it.
Our other characters spent this first episode dealing with the success the past three years has brought them. Donna is engaged. (Jerry/Garry) Larry has become Terry. April is an Executive Director of something at the National Parks Service and Andy has his own children’s television show with his character Johnny Karate. April is also super freaked out by the fact that she and Andy have grown into responsible adults who now do boring responsible adult things, leading to one of my favorite moments of the episode – Andy, standing naked from the waist down, waiting to go streaking in front of the entire gala, but unable to because feuding Leslie and Ron have fallen into the cake. I gotta say, I agree with Leslie that it was a travesty there was no backup cake. Finally, Tom’s career as a restauranteur is so successful that he even has a “Chopper Copter” that sells chopped salads from a former military helicopter (this is now on my bucket list to eat a meal from before I die), so when he hijacks Ben’s introduction speech by talking about himself, it would seem he’s just being classic Tom. Luckily, the character has grown, and he apologizes to Ben by reading the speech he had intended to give. They both begin crying and hugging, in what quickly became my favorite funny moment from the episode.
Episode two continued Leslie and Ron’s feud, but upped the ante by throwing Councilman Jamm (still a Grade D Douche) and Tammy 2 (still a Psychopath) into the mix. Tammy’s still trying to get Ron back and since she’s had no luck, has been using Jamm as a placeholder, forcing him to grow a mustache, wear replicas of Ron’s favorite shirt, and only eat steak and whiskey, which has been hell on his poor digestive system. Leslie and Ron team up to separate this hellacious pair – it starts out as Leslie needing Jamm to agree to vote not to zone the Newports’ land for commercial use, but her big heart overtakes her ambition when she sees how miserable Tammy is making Jamm. This of course leads to hilarity with Leslie using negative reinforcement on Jamm (spritzs of Tammy’s perfume followed by hard slaps to Jamm’s face) and Ron and Leslie playing out various scenarios in which Tammy might try to keep Jamm from ending their relationship. Leslie’s Tammy impression was pretty damn impressive. And of course, it ends with Tammy getting naked in the library where she works.
After attending Joan Callamezzo’s Walk-of-Fame ceremony (because Pawnee, Indiana apparently has a walk-of-fame), April feels discontent with her job. Does she really love what she’s doing or has she just been going along with things for the past ten years. Ben tries to help her find her passion, so naturally they visit a morgue. This is so suited to April that I can’t believe they haven’t done it before on the show (I’m also surprised her good pal Orin wasn’t creeping people out there). But, unfortunately, when April learns she’ll have to go to school for three years, this profession is wiped off the list of possibility. Donna helpfully tells her that the root of her problem is Saturn’s Return.
In other news, Tom and Andy go to Chicago so Tom can reunite with former girlfriend Lucy, who is still as cool as ever. She and Tom are getting along great, and Tom offers her a job as the manager at his restaurant when she drops the bomb that she has a boyfriend. He still gives her the job and Andy says what everyone at home is thinking: They’re going to fall in love. Also, spaghetti that has dropped on the floor is subject to the 5-second rule. Also, apparently in 2017, the Chicago Cubs win the World Series and people on twitter find that super unlikely.
So that’s it – the premiere of Season 7. Damn, if it’s not going to be sad when it’s over.