‘Parks and Rec’ Cheat Sheet: What You Need to Know for the Final Season

by Ashley Crossan 4:35 PM PST, January 12, 2015
Playing ‘Parks and Rec’ Cheat Sheet: What You Need to Know for the Final Season

On Tuesday, Parks and Recreation returns for its seventh and final season.

There's pretty much no point in carrying on after this -- but instead of mourning the loss of our favorite series, let's grab a calzone and celebrate what we can look forward to in Pawnee's final bow. (LOL, jk! calzones are just pizzas that are harder to eat, please grab waffles instead…and don't skimp on the whipped cream.)

Where Did We Leave Off?


Season six ended with a bang! Long-time rivals Pawnee and Eagleton have merged, Leslie is pregnant with TRIPLETS, and facing a major life-decision on taking a job with the National Parks Service that would relocate her from Pawnee to Chicago. Leslie ultimately accepts the job, but convinces her new boss that she should stay in Pawnee.

The ending felt like a series finale, but then we were hit with a last-minute shocker -- a three-year time jump! Leslie now has bangs and three-year-old triplets. Oh, and Jerry/Gary/Larry is now Terry.

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What's Next?

The time jump was real, and it's here to stay.

"The entire season takes place in the year 2017," co-creator Michael Schur told ET when we stopped by the set. "The characters are all in very different places from where we left them, and that's sort of the theme of the year. It's been three years that they've been doing whatever it is they've been doing, and it's time to sort of check in and see how they are."

"When the season starts, every single character on the show, their circumstances have changed," Adam Scott told ET. "Something has shifted and it's kind of teased out as that first episode goes on. You kind of gather more information and by the end you figure out where everyone is, and it's really funny and sort of an exciting way to start."

But don't worry -- we see April and Andy happily together after the time jump. We don't have to revolt.

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Who's Coming Back?

Parks is a non-stop guest star machine. The last finale episode alone left us with more recurring jokes and guest stars than we ever thought possible (Ginuine, Letters to Cleo, The Decemberists, and Michelle Obama just to name a few).

With the show coming to an end, we can be sure they're pulling out all the stops for one last hurrah.

"There's a lot of people we got back," said Schur. "We made a big list at the beginning of the year of all of our friends we wanted to have one last ride with."

Guests stars confirmed to return include Paul Rudd and Jon Hamm – and some familiar Pawnee faces, Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe.

"Some of the people we wanted to bring back were more important to us than others, and we focused on those people first," said Schur.

When and Where Can We Watch?!

Tuesday, Jan. 13 is the season premiere on NBC at 8pm. Yes, it's a move from the show's usual Thursday night slot. Another major difference? The episodes are back-to-back each week, with only 13 episodes as opposed to the usual 22. Schur told ET that the decision was a mutual agreement with NBC, "We had this idea of this 13 episode season, and we got to do it exactly the way we wanted to, which is great."

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The Bottom Line:

While we can't be happy the show is ending, it's great that it's ending on its own terms.

Amy Poehler put it perfectly when she told ET, "We want Pawnee to go on forever and we hope it goes on forever in the minds of people, but it's a privilege to get to end a television show the way you want to end it. That's not always the case, so we're excited about the fans getting a satisfying conclusion to these people that they've hopefully learned and grown to love."

The final season returns January 13th on NBC -- and Lil' Sebastian will live on in our hearts, forever!

Follow Ashley on Twitter: @AshCrossan