Last night's Parks and Rec finale featured a lot of surprises, and Hitfix has an interview with Parks and Recreation co-creator/showrunner Mike Schur about what to expect from the show's seventh and possibly final season in the wake of what we saw last night.
If you haven't seen the finale yet and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading this now:
Basically, the finale ended with a short sequence flashing forward three years to 2017 where Leslie is Regional Director of the National Parks Service, she and Ben have triplets, she just had to fire incompetent employee Ted (Jon Hamm) after three years, Ben seems to have some sort of new job, and Leslie still works with all the same people, including Jerry, who goes by Terry now. Schur tells Hitfix that Parks and Rec is staying in 2017 for the new season and that this is a time jump not just a flash-forward, a super rare move for a sitcom.
"It's a jolt of creative energy, and if you don't jolt your show with a bolt of electricity every so often it can get stale," explains Schur, who also mentions that season seven will probably be the show's last. He adds that the time jump decision was inspired by Battlestar Galactica and was partially made to avoid seeing Leslie and Ben as new parents:
Triplets was one step beyond the traditional sitcom plot of "too much to handle," and seemed a little more fun and crazy-making, and when we researched it we found that the odds are about 1 in 8000 (the title of that episode) which didn't seem so nuts as to be implausible. But once we committed to that, we began imagining ways to avoid repeating what we had already seen with Ann — pads and foot pain and sleepless nights and so forth. The jump forward allows us to avoid a lot of things that (I would imagine) fans were fearing about getting Leslie pregnant, in terms of the stories we tell going forward. That was a big reason I liked it.
Don't worry, though. Just because Parks and Recreation takes place in 2017 now doesn't mean it'll turn into a sci-fi show next season. Schur says:
Rule number one for the writers when we committed to the jump was: no hoverboards. No one is allowed to pitch that everyone is on hoverboards. It's going to be very very gently sci-fi… We will have to be vaguer, obviously, though it also seems fun to do some David Foster Wallace-style projecting into the near future … there will be the opportunity, should we be so inclined, to make jokes and references to what we imagine the cultural and political landscape to be in 2017.