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What We Want to See in Before 'Parks and Recreation' Ends

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Mar 20, 2014 | 2:48pm EDT

Parks & RecreationNBC

We've got another year of Pawnee on our hands people! NBC has just officially announced a seventh season of Parks and Recreation. NBC Chairman Bob Greenblat gave a preliminary announcement at the TCAs a few weeks ago, but the network announced the renewal officially last night. Thanks to NBC's recent dire straits, in just a few years Parks and Recreation has gone from teetering on the edge of the cancellation abyss, to improbably becoming NBC's guaranteed renewal. And while Parks and Rec obsessives might be excited for the prospect for more episodes, we can't help but worry about our one-time favorite comedy.

Sadly, Parks and Rec feels like a pale vestige of its prime seasons. What once was a triumphant workplace comedy now feels like a show that's just going through the motions. Ever since the show hit its high watermark in Season 3, each subsequent season has brought diminishing returns, and each return to Pawnee is less joyous and gleefully hilarious than the last. Now we find the show deep into its sixth season, but seemingly scared to commit to making any drastic changes. After the inspiring city council race, Leslie is back at the Parks Department, Tom has another failed business venture under his belt, and has dreamed up yet another, while April and Andy are doing... something. Every time a character takes a chance and makes a reach for something greater, the show spring 'em back to the status quo like a rubber band. If the next season of Parks and Recreation is its last, like it should be, then we want to see several things happen before we say goodbye for good.

The show should end with Leslie and Ben leaving Pawnee
Even Leslie Knope herself is realizing that she needs to leave Pawnee for good sooner rather than later. Leslie has abilities and aspirations that reach far beyond the confines of small-town government, and it's made worse by the fact that only a few people even recognize all the good that she's done. Leslie needs to pack things up and move on to bigger and brighter pastures. After seven seasons of dealing with the people of Pawnee and Eagleton, she deserves it.

And Pawnee needs to recognize Leslie's accomplishments
It's a long running joke of how dimwitted and unappreciative the citizens of Pawnee are. Despite the jeers from residents, Leslie has always given them what they didn't know they wanted or needed. Unfortunately, funny has turned to aggravating, especially after the city council storyline. Not that Parks needs to get all shmaltzy and cloying, but the town should be sad to see Leslie move on. She deserves something after all of the crap she's put up with over the years.

Tom finally needs to find a stable business venture
Tom's multiple failed startups are one of the biggest indicators that the show is just spinning its wheels. Entertainment 720 was doomed, and for good reason since it showed an inexperienced Tom creating a business with all flash and no substance. It was a learning experience for him, and one that he needed. Next was Rent-a-Swag, which was actually a great idea, and actually showed Tom using good business sense, but the show saw fit to rip the business right from under him via Henry Winkler. Parks is setting up Tom with these new projects and knocking them down again just so Tom has something new to do each season. It's all starting to feel too repetitive. The writers should actually give Tom the business he deserves and let him keep it for at least a while. 

Andy and April should find a cause
One of the problems with Parks and Recreation's characters is that few characters besides Leslie seem to have any specific goals that stay relevant after more than a handful of episodes. Tom leapfrogs from one new dream project to another, while April similarly feels like she's just going through the motions of progressing though city government. We hope that April finds a personal and fulfilling goal to work towards, and that Andy might do something else. Actually we wouldn't mind if Andy just played Mouserat gigs forever.

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