Parks and Recreation S7 Ep1 “2017”

For those of you who have better social lives than me and therefore haven’t been marathoning Parks and Rec every other week since the season six finale, here’s a quick catch-up:

Leslie was recalled from her city council position, but jumped right back into her parks department work, only to find herself being courted by the National Parks Service. After numerous binders filled with questions about the job, a brief run-in with Michelle Obama in San Francisco, and a stroke of brilliance, she accepted the position – as long as the new midwestern branch of the National Parks Service that she was to head opened in Pawnee. The final episode ended with a quick flash forward to the distant future of 2017, where Leslie is bossing around her entire department, followed by Ben in a tux. Oh, and they have triplets.parks-and-recreation-03_1200x902

There has been plenty of hype leading up to the seventh season of Parks and Rec. This final season is definitely going to move fast – NBC is airing two episodes every Tuesday night for seven weeks – but it seems appropriate. Leslie Knope is certainly the type to try to squeeze fourteen weeks’ worth of content into half that time.

The writers have the difficult task of catching viewers up on what our favorite Pawnee residents have been up to, but the pace and humor that has come to define Parks and Rec was not lost in the exposition. It seems that Leslie lost touch with some of her former coworkers and friends, so the viewers are able to catch up on their lives with her.

  • Leslie is the head of the Midwestern branch of the National Parks Service and has 1,200 employees working for her, including Ed, who is even more incompetent than Jerry/Garry/Larry and is played to perfection by Jon Hamm. Naturally, Leslie is just as driven and manic as ever.
  • Ben (and his adorable butt) is looking dapper in a tux. He’s being honored as “Man of the Year” at a gala for his work on Pawnee’s bicentennial, his biggest project since Ice Town.
  • April is “kicking butt” at her job working for Leslie, and even is showing off some of the future technology of 2017, such as a see-through phone (much like Tony Stark’s new toy in Avengers: Age of Ultron).
  • Andy, along with April, babysits the Knope-Wyatt triplets (and even is usually able to keep track of all three of them!). He works part time at the National Parks Service and has his own TV show, The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show.
  • Jerry/Garry/Larry has a new name or two – on Andy’s show, he’s Barry, and in the office, he’s Terry. He’s still just as clumsy and cheerful as every.
  • Ron Swanson left the Parks Department two years ago and started his own company, Very Good Building and Development Company. The name reflects that it is, in fact, a very good building and development company.
  • Tom seems to be doing quite well at Tom’s Bistro, as well as his several other ventures. It seems one of his crazy business ideas has finally paid off, and he is now one of Indiana Business Monthly’s 35 under 35.
  • Donna is still with Joe, the man she had once referred to as her Tammy, but who is actually the nicest man alive – even Ron Swanson couldn’t hate him. Her real estate company, Regal Meagle Realty is helping her maintain her lavish lifestyle.

Leslie and Ben in the elevatorThe show opens exactly where last season left off: Leslie and Ben on the elevator. As they make their way to the City Council Chambers for an announcement, Ben warns Leslie that he will be there. There are plenty of hes that could evoke such a strong negative reaction in Leslie, but the real answer is shocking and saddening. “The guy whose name you forbid me from saying out loud because it fills you with rage” (also know as “stupid garbage head doo-doo face”) is none other than Ron Swanson.

Yes, in the two years since leaving the government, Ron and Leslie had a falling out. They cryptically mention “Morningstar” in their arguments, suggesting that whatever that event was, it was the catalyst for the rift in their friendship.

Once in the chambers, Trevor Nelson, who some might remember as the lawyer who wouldn’t stand for any of Ben’s accountant humor, announces that the Newport family will be selling a 25 square mile plot of land in Pawnee.

Leslie desperately wants the land in order to open a new National Park in Pawnee as the crowning achievement of her career. Unfortunately, so does Ron. His company has been hired by Grizzle (the Cones of Dunshire fans who brought wifi to Pawnee) to plan and build their new campus.

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