Parks and Recreation put its last show in the books last night, and while we'll try to limit the big spoilers, anyone planning to catch up with Leslie Knope later should stop reading now. Generally speaking, critics were left feeling warm and fuzzy by the finale from Amy Poehler and crew, and the show's legacy in general:
- The Office comparison: It's great Parks went out after seven seasons, "pretty close to the top of its game," writes Margaret Lyons at Vulture. If only The Office (remember that Parks began as a kind of clone of that show) had done the same. Poehler's sitcom avoided the lows to which The Office sometimes sank. "Parks might have had some narrative flabbiness in there over its run, but this last arc has been strong and, maybe more important, incredibly true to the show's best essential natures: smart and silly and gleeful."
- 'Audacious': "Almost aggressively devoid of broad humor, the super-sweet finale may have been the most audacious creative direction a series could’ve taken," writes Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast. "There were no 'events'—a long-built-up-to wedding, for example—or wild, long-teased revelations—like how a guy met his kids’ mother. ... Instead, we got an hour that simply let us know, with excessive positivity, that everyone was going to be OK." As for Poehler and her memorable character: "genius."
- But: Parks "isn’t such a sweet show because it lives in a vacuum where nastiness, selfishness, and stupidity don’t exist, as they more or less didn’t in the finale," writes Willa Paskin at Slate. "It’s such a sweet show because it exists exactly in the midst of such things and its characters try to rise above the muck and their own natures anyway, even when they don’t succeed. The finale had no hint of that muck. Luckily, there are 123 other episodes of this great series to balance it out."
- Never again: Sadly, we won't see a show like Parks again because its model—low-rated but critically acclaimed—is "essentially extinct," writes Emily Yahr at the Washington Post. Networks wouldn't let a show like that survive today, even though it proves the point that "sometimes, the non-hit TV shows are the ones that resonate the most."
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