The season finale of “Parks and Recreation” should have been an hour long.
I realize that’s asking a lot of NBC when the network is reportedly on the verge of renewing the Pawnee comedy for a curtailed and allegedly final fifth season. But we waited all season to find out whether Leslie Knope won or lost the election for Pawnee City Council. And all the drama in those election results, which first favored one candidate, then led to a recount, then favored another, felt a little bit rushed.
Here’s what happened — yes, spoilers lie ahead — and here’s what I, at least, wanted to see more of.
— The big news, obviously, is that Leslie Knope was elected! Hooray! But only after it seemed like Bobby Newport had won, and then Leslie and Ben demanded a recount, and then it turned out she won. How were the votes off both times by a margin of 21 that first swung in Newport’s favor, and then swung in Leslie’s? It doesn’t make sense but it doesn’t matter. This turn of events gave us the opportunity to see that wonderful, teary-eyed reaction shot of Leslie reacting to her win, which, for me, was the highlight of the night. Well played, Amy Poehler.
—Yesterday’s post was right about someone getting to go to Washington. But it turned out to be Ben, not Leslie. He will apparently put his campaign skills to good use on a congressional race and work alongside Jennifer Barkley. Presumably this means more Kathryn Hahn next season? And (fingers crossed) perhaps some on-location shooting in D.C.?
—Speaking of Hahn, she totally got shortchanged in that recount scene. That was one of the scenes I watched being shot, and her “I just want to go home,” was followed by a lengthy series of funny improvs about all the things she missed in “the big city,” like traffic and vegan options. Hopefully that will wind up online or on the DVD or something.
Update: The director’s cut of the episode is now online. It still doesn’t feature Hahn’s improv, but it stretches out the episode in a way that is a bit more satisfying. Watch it here.
—This episode needed more Jean-Ralphio. I mean, that’s obvious to everyone. It also could have used a bit more Ron Swanson, although I did appreciate his comment about how he still gets his milk delivered by horse.
—If you have a chance to read the list of places April and Andy planned to live after she accidentally deleted all the parks and rec. department files, you should pause the DVR and take a look. Among the options: Moon, USSR, which was crossed out and replaced with Russia, and Winterfell.
— Lastly, I reiterate: This episode should have been an hour. All the ping-ponging back and forth about who won the election and Ben’s job offer had to speed by way too fast. It would have been better if it had a little more time to build.
What did you think of the finale? And how do you feel about Leslie’s win and Ben coming to Washington? Share your thoughts by posting a comment.