Ever since Parks and Recreation finished its seven season run four years ago, the cast have stoked the fire of hope in fans hearts, and toyed with the possibility of a reboot, revival or reunion. Chris Pratt (who starred as slacker-cum-children’s-television-star Andy Dwyer in the series) has Tweeted about how it was the role that brought him the most “pure joy”, and his comment was met by a flurry of agreement from other actors in the series, including Rob Lowe and Adam Scott. Amy Poehler (who played the lead of Leslie Knope) appeared on Ellen alongside her old co-star Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson), and when asked about a comeback said: “I’ll speak for everybody and say we would all do it. We would all do it someday.”
And last night (March 21) the cast reunited for the 10th anniversary of the show at PaleyFest. Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman and more appeared together at the festival in LA, four years after the sitcom concluded in February 2015. Having all of the cast back together meant that there was one question fans wanted an answer to: “will the show ever return?” And the stars and showrunners refused to rule out a revival. There the show’s co-creator Michael Schur teased the audience revealing that the show could return on one condition, saying “I think everyone on this stage would want to feel there’s a story to be told…the show was about the power of public service and doing good with a team. I don’t think we left anything on the table.”
But here’s the thing, Parks and Recreation should never return. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Parks and Rec. It was clever and funny and at times really bloody moving, which made it one of the best television series of all time. It was a rare breed of show that that got better and better with each season. Yes, it got off to a shaky start; but after the writers strike stopped the first season at six episodes, the production team re-grouped and hit the ground running in the second season, then sprinted through every season after that.
And this is why it deserves to be left alone. The final, 13-episode season of Parks and Recreation was the perfect ending. Too often does a show rush the ending (I’m looking at you How I Met Your Mother), or totally ruins the series by pushing forward even when they should have quit whilst they were ahead (still bitter, Scrubs), but the final season of Parks and Recreation was a fitting goodbye.
All loose ends were tied up, and through a series of uncontrived flash forwards, we got to see how all our beloved characters ended up. We know that Jerry (/Larry/Garry) Gergich serves as mayor of Pawnee until his death (at 100 years old), and that Ron finally finds a job he actually enjoys, and that Andy and April will name their son “Burt Snakehole Ludgate Karate Dracula Macklin Demon Jack-o-Lantern “Jack” Dwyer”. In fact, the only mystery we’re left with is whether Leslie Knope is elected to the White House (something which showrunner Michael Schur deliberately left ambiguous). It can’t have been an easy task wrapping up 125 episodes of the show, especially with Parks and Recreation having such avid fans, but the final double-episode (written by Michael Schur & Amy Poehler), was the perfect finish.
So this is why it can’t return: as any further episodes would ruin the glorious, bittersweet ending we were gifted. Sure, they could do a Will and Grace and retcon some of the final series, but why would you want to torpedo the happy endings of some of the best characters on television?
So, Michael Schur and team, I implore you; please heed the age old saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. You created one of the warmest, funniest and critically lauded series of the millennium, you kept it going for seven seasons, and you managed to give it the phenomenal ending that the fans deserved. So why ruin this? Keep Parks and Recreation away from the dreaded reboot and/or revival button, and let instead we’ll make do with watching the old episodes over and over again.