'Parks and Recreation': A season finale full of surprises

'Parks and Recreation' aired its sixth season finale on April 24, and the episode contained many unexpected plot developments. What happened and what does it mean for the show? 'Parks and Recreation' airs on NBC.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
'Parks and Recreation' stars Amy Poehler.

The season finale of the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation” ended with a surprise as the series jumped three years into the future to catch up with the “Parks” characters.

The episode of the comedy, which was the finale for its sixth season, aired on April 24.

“Parks” stars "Saturday Night Live" and “Anchorman 2” actress Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, who begins the series as a deputy parks director of a parks and recreation department in Indiana. The show co-stars actors Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, and Aubrey Plaza, among others.

Actors Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones had starred on the show until this year and both left the show this past January.  

The season finale of the show initially jumped one month into the future but then skipped ahead three years. Prior to the time jump, Leslie and her husband Ben (Scott) had been expecting triplets. In addition, Leslie had managed to secure the job she wanted, taking charge of a National Park Services regional branch, as well as having the office moved from Chicago to the town of Pawnee, where she lived, so she wouldn’t have to relocate. In addition, Michelle Obama guest-starred on the episode.

“Parks” co-creator, director, writer, and executive producer Michael Schur told Entertainment Weekly that the idea for jumping ahead first a month, and then three years, was all about keeping the audience surprised.

“I’m a broken record about this, but I think that’s the best weapon we have in our arsenal, and that’s doing things unexpected and throwing people off-balance,” he said. “It’s the last potent weapon for a network television show.”

In addition, Schur said that the new time period of the show is where “Parks” will stay, for the most part.

“This is not a yank,” he said. “We are not teasing something that we are not going to then pay off. The majority of the [next] season is going to take place in that time period, and that is allowing for certainly the possibility of episodes that fill in certain gaps that go back in time a little bit. That, who knows, go forward in time… The whole season is not going to be about filling in those gaps — the main action of the season will take place in that slightly futurescape.”

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