The seventh season of “Parks and Recreation” takes place in the year 2017, and it doesn’t seem to stretch too far from what we can imagine Pawnee to be like in the next two years.
The notable renovations introduced in the near future include the trend of “Beef Milk” (a return to the original product after many years of almond and coconut milk) and Gryzzl, a tech company that seems to be a satirical combination of Facebook and Apple. Gryzzl sends out droids that deliver goods based on one’s browser history. Gryzzl suggests that the future of social media is having exceedingly less privacy and control over what information can be accessed, and that all start-ups are run by hipsters in graffiti-filled garages.
The show has departed from “The Office”-esque structure that Amy Poehler noted as an inspiration for the show in her book, “Yes Please.” While it is still shot in the mock-umentary format, the characters have outgrown the Parks department. Thus, the show is not limited to only being shot in the cubicles and conference rooms.
Knope has moved on to the National Parks and has taken April Ludgate along with her. Ron Swanson now works for the Very Good Building and Development Company owned by Gryzzl. Tom Haverford owns his own trendy, upscale restaurant in Pawnee called Tom’s Bistro. Andy Dwyer works part time for Knope and stars in a children’s show called “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Hour,” where he plays songs on his guitar in a dojo. Jerry, who was then Larry, is now Gary. His main achievement is finally being called his real name.
The most unprecedented event in 2017 is that Swanson and Knope have a falling out. The hilarious senpai, kohai relationship that they shared in the previous six seasons is torn apart by their feud over a stretch of land. Since Swanson works at Gryzzl, he is battling with Knope over whether the land will be used to build a National Park or a campus for Gryzzl. The two finally address their problems by being locked in the parks office overnight and reconciling over a drunken rendition of “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” with the obvious addition of saxophone solos, courtesy of Duke Silver.
Probably in much part due to Amy Poehler’s staunch defense of feminist and progressive values, “Parks and Recreation” is refreshing in its positive portrayal of women in the workplace. Knope is as equally if not more qualified professionally as her husband Ben, and the birth of her triplets didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream to work in the National Parks department. Ludgate followed Knope to the National Parks service after moving up the ranks of the Parks department from an intern, to a full time position and then to the national level. She’s clearly the breadwinner in her household, since Andy only makes $100 a week as Johnny Karate. However, this doesn’t cause any tension between the two. They are just thrilled that by having stable jobs, they can elevate the level of their quirky antics by buying a haunted house and pranking politicians at fancy functions.
The plot lines go beyond tying up loose ends and don’t disappoint the show’s cult following with predictability. Poehler said it best in an online interview on NBC, “I think people who like ‘Parks and Rec’ will be pleased and satisfied by this season. I’d also like to think that people who haven’t watched show would follow and understand the show if it stood alone.”
RECOMMENDED: The final season of “Parks and Recreation” is the perfect goodbye for longtime fans of the sitcom.