I'm convinced that Parks and Recreation time-jumped to 2017 for Season 7 to spare fans from seeing the disintegration of Leslie and Ron's friendship. The battle of Knope and Swanson is brewing, so who will win Ron and Leslie's fight? The Season 7 premiere wrecked our little Pawnee-loving hearts when we found out that Leslie and Ron stopped being friends after he left government work for the private sector, which, honestly, is much better suited to his temperament. (Let's be real: as much as I adore Ron's libertarian rants, I never much understood how he could actually work for the government.) Although we don't know what exactly "ended" their friendship (air quotes used since Ron and Leslie are totally going to be friends again), the key is in the mysterious Morning Star incident that the characters keep vaguely referring to (before Leslie shuts them down — I need to know what made Ron a "stupid garbagehead doo-doo face"!).
Season 7 started with Leslie and Ron at serious odds fighting over a huge chunk of Newport family land — Leslie wants to make it a national park for free (obvi), while Ron is working with the company Gryzzl (a more high-tech version of Facebook) to purchase the land to develop. The fourth episode of the final season, which will air at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20, is entitled "Leslie & Ron," so I'm hoping that means a resolution to this friend-feud goes down either then or in the preceding episode "William Henry Harrison." NBC's Parks and Rec website has the two Jan. 20 episodes described as, "As their battle for Pawnee's undeveloped land escalates, Ron and Leslie are suddenly forced to work out their differences," so it sounds like my wish will come true.
I think the series is deliberately making a point to show how extreme (yes, more so than usual) Leslie has been about her uncompromising stance on this land. In her camera interviews (hey! remember when we thought Season 7 wouldn't follow the mockumentary format?), Leslie has been pretty selfish on why she thinks the national government deserves this land.
And though I tend to side with her on her park stance (although I could never possibly love parks as much as Leslie Knope), a Gryzzl campus would probably also be really good for the city of Pawnee. But what made me most irritated with Leslie this season was how she let this battle over the land with Ron lead to ruining Ben's big night of being honored at the Pawnee bicentennial event (err, even more than Tom did). How often has Ben taken the back burner for Leslie?! C'mon! She should have been supporting him. Because she's being so intense, I don't think she will get exactly what she wants this time around.
That doesn't mean I think Gryzzl will get the entirety of the land (and I honestly don't think Ron thinks it should either). Not to wimp out on predicting a winner of this battle, but because it's Parks and Recreation, the most likely scenario is that there will be some ridiculous, elaborate compromise that Leslie comes up with. Ron and Leslie already began to significantly soften toward each other when they both selflessly saved Councilman Jeremy Jamm from Tammy 2. And that also proved that although they have different views, they both are still the good, decent people we have come to adore over the last six seasons.
Jessica Wicks-Newport is selling 25 square miles of undeveloped land. With a little help from math (and a lot of help from the Internet), I discovered that 25 square miles converts into 16,000 acres. The current Facebook campus is nowhere near 16,000 acres of land, so could part of the Pawnee land be turned into a national park and part go to Gryzzl? (Ron should probably donate some of his gold bars to this cause.)
Now if that sounds like the park would be too small, I want to note that the smallest national park in the National Park Service is 0.02 acres, so even a part of 16,000 acres would be much bigger than that. Plus, I think it's no coincidence that my favorite lawyer Trevor Nelson outlined two major portions of the land — perhaps, one part will go to Gryzzl, with the other going to the National Park Service.
We'll see if I'm being too optimistic about the reconciliation of Ron and Leslie on Jan. 20. But when has Parks and Recreation ever turned its back on friendship?