When we last connected with the people who make up the fictional government of Pawnee, they were saying goodbye to two of their own. Ann and Chris may now be gone, but the show's showing no sign of stopping, so it all begs the question: What next? One of Parks and Rec's benevolent gods, Michael Schur, talked about that very question in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
First, let's talk about what Schur said about Leslie's journey for the latter half of Season 6, dealing with the ongoing question of her political career:
Our goal this year was to say: Whatever problem she faces has to be the biggest problem she’s ever faced. So the idea was to put her in the toughest possible situation, in terms of something that she wants and something that she has always dreamed about. That’s what happens in this arc, and the decision that she needs to make is not introduced in the finale. In fact, far from it. It’s introduced in the [March 6] episode [...] New elements are introduced and new wrinkles emerge and new problems develop and new solutions develop. But in the back of her head, she’s filtering everything that happens though this lens of: ‘What do I want to do with my life?'
God, he just talks Leslie Knope so good. Especially when he goes into the possibility of Leslie leaving the Parks department:
The first episode where she was back in the Parks department, where she and Tom (Aziz Ansari) were sort of mano-a-mano, she has this conversation with Ron (Nick Offerman) where she says, ‘Does this department even need me anymore?’ and he says, ‘No, it doesn’t. You have taught these people really well and they’ve all learned a lot from you. And also we both know you’re not going to be here very long.’ So we planted that in the middle of the year to say: She was a city councilor and she took a lot of big swings and she got recalled because in part she merged two towns together. She’s not going to just go back to the Parks department and hang out — that’s just not in her nature. So that obviously is the major issue for the second half of the year. She’s going to be thinking about what her next move is.
And the part that breaks my heart but makes creative sense so I guess I'll let them do it:
We haven’t talked about it with NBC officially, but for many reasons — mostly just creatively in terms of where we’re building to this year — it would be natural if next year were the last year. I mean, you never know. We thought season 3 was our last year…. No decision has been made on that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if next year were the final season.
I'm not crying, you're crying. There's just a branch in my eye, is all.
You can read the rest over at Entertainment Weekly (there's a ton of interesting stuff we didn't even include here), and just in general ask yourself: Aside from to the White House (which seems unlikely), where do you want to see Leslie Knope go?
Images: NBC, Gifrific