Parks and Recreation: “Moving Up” Season 6 Finale Review

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After a season that was almost entirely lackluster, the folks behind Parks and Rec. have a few tricks up their sleeve that not only makes for a phenomenal finale, but also sets up a very intriguing future for the show.

Moving Up was a jam-packed episode full of callbacks and moments that every Parks and Rec. fan would smile at. Take the brief moment of Leslie meeting Michelle Obama. Of all of Leslie’s faces, starstruck is one of my favorite. The first lady says she sees big things for Leslie’s future and based on the rest of the episode, she looks to be right.

Meanwhile, Pawnee is finally ready for the Pawnee-Eagleton Unity Concert, which featured tons of stars and added to the really fun nature of this finale. The show did a great job of making the Unity Concert feel like an absolute success and someplace you wanted to be.

There were a ton of great character moments within it also. It was cute how happy everyone was for Leslie once she announced that she was taking the new job in Chicago. Andy as Johnny Karate is always a hoot, but what a fun reward to have him reunite with his old band on stage to close the concert. The closing number had two very significant guests. The first was a hologram of the one and only Lil’ Sebastian (a la Tupac). The second was none other than Duke Silver revealing himself to the public for the first time. This was one of the finest examples of Ron adjusting to family life we’ve gotten yet, as his wife tells him how much it meant to her kids.

I do have one tiny nitpick about the Unity Concert. Back when Ann and Chris drove off, the camera rose above their car, abandoning the mockumentary format. The concert itself had a lot of similar moments and I did not like them. The worst was when Ron smelled Tammy 2 (in what was an otherwise welcome cameo from Megan Mullally) and the camera slowly zoomed in to his face. But this is a tiny issue, one that hardly ruins the finale but did briefly take me out of it.

After the concert, Tom is prepared to open his restaurant. Despite all the simple-minded subplots leading to this moment, it was actually a huge payoff for Tom to have a successful business.

Then, finally, Leslie walks into an empty room aside from Ron Swanson sitting back enjoying the silence. Every Parks and Rec. fan knows, things are about to get serious. She doesn’t want to leave Pawnee, but he tells her she has to move up in life. Just when things are feeling very much like a series finale, Leslie comes up with an idea to stay in Pawnee: move her job here for a ton of logical reasons.

Yup, it seems like Season 7 is firmly set up…except the flash forward to three years from now is totally bonkers and now I don’t know what to expect for next season. It appears that in three years, Leslie’s job has gotten a bit more exciting, Jon Hamm works for her (although poorly), and she and Ben are going to some event. Is this the show’s endgame? Where will Season 7 start? So many questions!

Network comedies so rarely do things like this. Just when Parks and Rec. was really starting to feel like a sitcom, we get this. Maybe Season 6 will merely be a hiccup and the series will jump back on track in the fall. If this finale was any indication, the creative juices are still there. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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