Preparing for Parks and Recreation's season finale.
By Shoshana Greenberg (lyricist/bookwriter)
If you have been watching Parks and Recreation this season, then you're most likely invested in Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler)'s campaign for Pawnee city council. The campaign has been a season-long arc, which is rare for sitcoms, and culminates this Thursday in the season finale when we'll find out if hardworking, dedicated, deserving Leslie wins or loses to spoiled, charming, clueless Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd). The writers have filmed three possible endings. After this eventful season, which would be the right choice?
On the one hand, I want Leslie to be successful and happy, and her happiness has been a major theme this season (which I wrote about here back in November). If she wins this election, she will fulfill her childhood dream of being in office and be one step closer to her dream of becoming President.
Yet I would also like to see Leslie lose, not out of any schadenfreude but to see how she would deal with a major disappointment. She's had to face many of her flaws this season (her tendencies to come on too strong and steamroll people, her desire to have everyone like her) and has encountered many campaign challenges, but she's always managed to triumph in some way. What would happen to her in the face of this major loss, one that she's been fighting for--and we've been fighting for with her--this whole season? As a viewer who loves and relates to Leslie, I do want to see her happy but I don't always want to see her win.
My prediction for Thursday's outcome: a callback to Saved by the Bell's episode "The Election," which pitted hardworking, dedicated, deserving Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) against the popular, charming, slacker Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) for student body president. Sound familiar? Zach, who is only running to get a week off from school, wins the election but cedes his victory to Jessie, whom he recognizes as the true student body president.
The ending of "The Election" episode of Saved by the Bell
When Bobby Newport wins on Thursday (again, my prediction), I think he'll be Pawnee's Zach Morris. He'll somehow realize he's not cut out for city council and quit, paving the way for Leslie to assume the role. We'll be able to have it both ways--Leslie's loss and Leslie's win--because, as much as I'm interested in how Leslie would deal with defeat, she would kick ass as an elected official.