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The cast and creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation reunited at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour for their final session in front of reporters to close out NBC’s jam-packed day.
Showrunner Mike Schur, typically very guarded when it comes to the series’ storylines, fielded questions about the state of comedy (“It’s impossible to anticipate which shows would work in which eras,” he said of the genres’ woes) and offered a brief glimpse into what the remaining batch of episodes have in store.
“Everyone is there at the end,” he revealed. “I haven’t edited the episode yet, but the last moments of the show are everybody in the same place at the same time.” Star Amy Poehler — fresh off her Golden Globes win and renewal for Comedy Central’s Broad City, which she produces — noted that the series will say goodbye to many of the ancillary characters in Pawnee. “A lot of them get to say goodbye in different ways — by leaving or dying,” she joked.
During its seven-season run, Parks has been a perennial bubble show, with Schur telling reporters that it hung on “by the skin of our teeth” for a good long while. In fact, most of the show’s season finales have had to double as series finales. But that changed when NBC preemptively announced season seven would be its last.
“We didn’t really think about the end until after we had made the time jump [in the season six finale],” said Schur. “It wasn’t like we had a plan. We had the luxury going into this knowing it was the final season and having the whole thing laid out in front of us. We didn’t have a different plan for how it was going to end. We didn’t decide how it was going to end until after we got our final season.”
The showrunner previously had told The Hollywood Reporter that he envisioned a series finale featuring Hillary Clinton and noted that he felt “very fortunate” that Parks was able to get a proper sendoff. “We got to do what we want and end on our own terms,” he said.
Schur said that the final season would feature a few “real nostalgia” storylines to honor fans — there will be several Easter eggs — with a lot of Pawnee people coming back at the end for one big scene, but ultimately he had a different goal. “The goal is to always have the story stand on its own regardless of if you’ve seen [the show] before,” he said.
As for whether Parks will be able to stick the landing or misfire the way many feel How I Met Your Mother did last season, Schur said that “it’s less of a question of trying to guess what an audience will like, but more trying to honor the plotlines. Let the chips fall where they may.” He also called the Sopranos series finale one of the best in TV history.
Parks and Recreation airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.
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