Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Last night brought an end to one of NBC’s most beloved post-Friends sitcoms, the joyously witty Parks & Recreation. When the announcement was made last year that this seventh season would be the final outing for Pawnee’s most eclectic band of public servants, the sense of impending loss was hard to bear. Parks has been a narrative about the enduring importance and power of hope. In an increasingly cynical world of American politics, Parks dared to be a show about the power of positivity in bureaucracy. It also dared to profess love over derision nearly every chance it got. It did all of these things while simultaneously being one of the funniest comedies on television. Sure, this is a feel-good show, but it also never shied away from making the best joke possible.
— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 25, 2015
Parks and Recreation‘s appeal can largely be credited to one of the best cast and crews on television. The writing staff was as phenomenally talented as the on-air personalities, and by all accounts, both the set and writers’ room were very collaborative work environments. If you watched through to the credits last night, you no doubt noticed a bumper with the words “We love you, Harris” after the last scene (and reiterated in writer Megan Amram’s tweet above.) That was in reference to Harris Wittels, a beloved Parks writer & executive producer who had been with the show since the second season who passed away last week.
In last night’s finale, written by Mike Schur and Amy Poehler, there’s a particularly resonating line that sums up the love the cast and crew felt toward each other: “We do it because we get the chance to work hard at work worth doing, alongside a team of people who we love. So I thank those people who walked with me and I thank you for this honor. Now, go find your team and get to work.” In that context, Leslie Knope was describing public service, but the bigger picture message is that life is a matter of finding your team. Your people. Your brothers from other mothers and your sisters from other misters. “Find your family and enjoy what you do” is the message. As Parks & Recreation goes, though, this is a team of people, from the characters we love and the actors portraying them to the writers who created the wonderful world within Pawnee and the showrunners who guided all of us, including the viewers, on such a happy journey.
The cast, along with creator Mike Schur, appeared on last night’s episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers to celebrate their work. Naturally, it was heartwarming, funny, and just all around special. Aubrey Plaza and Jim O’Heir were particularly overcome with emotion. Just see for yourself how distraught things turned out for them during the cast’s rendition of “5000 Candles In The Wind (Bye Bye Little Sebastian.)” Touching. Earlier in Late Night, the gang took turns toasting each other with some meaningful and searingly funny speeches:
Parks and Finale A photo posted by @sethmeyers on
Am I ready to live in a world without Parks? Well, that’s the thing… Just because there won’t be any new episodes does not detract at all from the stories that have already taken place. The final season will undoubtedly be added to Netflix later this year, and when it is, Knope & co. will always be there to be binge-watched when we need a little reminder about how great life can be. So, am I ready to live in this world with whatever unknown happiness awaits in the future? I’ll steal Leslie’s answer: