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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 Wrap-Up: Producers Talk Time Jump, Jon Hamm and More

Parks and Recreation Season 6 7 Finale Spoilers Time Jon Hamm
NBC

Of all the series we’d never have expected to shake things up with a time jump, NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation‘ went lightyears ahead in “Moving Up” to its sixth season finale last night. And while NBC hasn’t confirmed the seventh season as its last, producer Mike Schur got on the horn to discuss the show’s surprising fast-forward, including one very ‘Mad‘ man cameo, and what it means for the future Pawnee of 2017.

You’re warned of past and present spoilers from last night’s ‘Parks and Recreation’ finale, which if you’re at all familiar with the series, seems like an odd thing to have to say. Whereas the hour-long episode moved through many of the threads we expected, from the Unity Concert (featuring the likes of Wilco, The Decemberists, Ginuwine and more) and Leslie’s potential Chicago promotion, the final minutes jumped through time 3 years to find Ben and Leslie’s triplets already born, while a tuxedoed Ben ushered Leslie through her new third floor office, just after firing an employee worse than Jerry Larry Terry, Ed (Jon Hamm)

Speaking to HitFix and Entertainment Weekly, series creator Mike Schur confirmed that the seventh (and likely final, yes) season will indeed keep to 2017 as promised, though few details of the other ‘Parks’ staff have been established for certain in the writers’ room, and the show will naturally shy away from any future tech or political climates. Says Schur of the inspiration for the jump:

The “BSG” move was my personal inspiration, right down to the way we shot it, which is the “Parks and Rec” version of Gaius Baltar putting his head down on his desk and picking it up one year later. I found that creatively thrilling, as a fan, so that was our template. The advantages are obvious — it’s a jolt of creative energy, and if you don’t jolt your show with a bolt of electricity every so often it can get stale.

The pitfalls are that it’s a risk to shake up a world that fans have been invested in, in a certain way, for a long time. But we felt like it wasn’t so massive so as to violate the contract we’ve made with our viewers, as long we’re still telling stories with the same characters. Except that next season four of them are Cylons.

Schur suggested that the seventh season might go back to fill in a few details of the 3-year time jump here and there, but deliberately kept most of the ‘Parks’ cast out of the flash-forward, so as to leave surprises ahead in their fates. Meanwhile, Hamm agreed to his brief cameo as the fired “Ed” out of friendship to Amy Poehler and Adam Scott, though whether or not the character pops up at all in the seventh season will remain to be seen, given Hamm’s in-demand status.

As for the characters we did see in the flash-forward, Schur hadn’t quite nailed down what would place Ben in a tuxedo, or exactly what “office” he referred to downstairs (noting that relocating Leslie’s midwest Parks job to Pawnee opened the door for a number off offices to move to City Hall), but it would seem likely that Ben’s successful patented “Cones of Dunshire” game had something to do with it. Andy’s arm in a sling owed to actor Chris Pratt‘s amusement with having his character injured, though it also suggested that April and Andy hadn’t necessarily matured very much in the three-year jump.

NBC’s guarantee of a seventh season allowed ‘Parks and Recreation’ to lay down a bit more road for the future than its finales usually contain, but what do you think? Presuming season 7 is our last stay in Pawnee, are you intrigued to see what ‘Parks and Recreation’ does with its missing three years next season?

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