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The ‘Parks and Recreation’ finale: Will Leslie Knope win?

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler): offering change Pawnee can believe in? (NBC/TYLER GOLDEN/NBC)

It’s the final stretch for the candidates in Pawnee, Ind.. In just a few short hours, when the season four finale of “Parks and Recreation” airs on NBC, we will know whether Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) or Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd) won the race for City Council.

I was on the set when portions of the finale were filmed. But I don’t know how the election results turn out. (Three ending were shot, and I didn’t see any of them in progress.) And even if I did know, I wouldn’t say because that would be a spoiler. But I don’t know so that just makes this easier.

Based on my recent conversations with Amy Poehler, Adam Scott and Mike Schur, the “Parks and Rec” showrunner, however, I have come up with a list of details to keep in mind as tonight’s episode approaches.


‘Parks and Recreation’: The politics of Knope

Photos: A behind-the-scenes look at the ‘Parks and Rec’ set

1. Leslie Knope will eventually work in a higher level government position.

In our recent interview, Schur said of his ambitious protagonist, “She wants to move up in the world and I don’t see any reason to deny the character that pleasure.” And in a separate interview, Poehler said that the “longer arc of the show” will involve an exploration of what happens when Leslie becomes more successful. “If Leslie starts to get some attention and power, what does she do with it?,” she asked. “Does it corrupt her at all?”

Clearly at some point in the series, she will move up the ladder. The question is how — by being elected or through some other means?

2. Ben and Leslie will deal with another obstacle.

According to what Adam Scott told me about their relationship: “I think there might be something around the corner that could be tough.” Also, in these finale hints that Schur shared with Entertainment Weekly, he says: “A bit of a bomb is dropped for Leslie and Ben’s ... future, so she’s also dealing with that. I’ll say this: It’s not what you think. It’s not a classic TV relationship problem.”

3. Leslie could go to Washington ... maybe.

When I asked if there was a chance Leslie might end up in D.C. at some point Schur said, “Yes, certainly. Absolutely. I think she says in the pilot that she wants to be the first female president of the United States.” Schur didn’t say this in the context of the finale, so it’s unclear whether she might get a job at the federal level sooner or later. But it’s a possibility.

4. Jean-Ralphio will do something awesome.

That has little bearing on what happens with the Knope/Newport election, or the relationship between Leslie and Ben. But we just wanted to mention that Jean-Ralphio will be in this episode because we’ve missed him. And he rules. Here is undeniable YouTube evidence of that fact.

Whatever happens on tonight’s episode of “Parks and Rec,” we will weigh in on it tomorrow. In the meantime, keep Knope alive.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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