How Does the 'Parks and Rec' Reunion Fit in With the Finale Time Hops?

How did 'Parks and Rec' end? The remote reunion premieres on April 30. Before you head back to Pawnee, we have a refresher on the 2015 finale.

Shannon Raphael - Author

Apr. 30 2020, Updated 3:49 p.m. ET

Source: NBC

Though NBC's Parks and Rec went off the air in 2015 after a seven season run, the show is still one of the most streamed series' on Netflix, and the cast faces reunion rumors constantly. Over the years, people couldn't get enough of the story of Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), and the rest of the Pawnee parks department.

Much to the satisfaction of diehard fans, a Parks and Rec remote reunion was announced, and it will premiere on April 30. 

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While the finale tied up seemingly all of the loose ends for each of Pawnee's most beloved civil servants, the reunion will surely bring a lot of joy to viewers.

How did Parks and Rec end? The finale featured many time jumps, a suggestion that one of Pawnee's finest would become the president, a wedding, a birth and a funeral. Ahead of the reunion, we have a refresher on how the show left the air. 

Source: NBC
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How did 'Parks and Rec' end?

There's a trend when many top shows go off the air (including Lost, Seinfeld, and How I Met Your Mother) that the finales won't be satisfying for fans, but this wasn't the case for Parks and Rec. The ambitious final double-length episode showed the Parks and Rec department over the span of several decades, so there was very little left for interpretation.

"One Last Ride" begins on the last day that the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department is in the office for good in 2017. When a Pawnee resident enters the office asking for a swing to get fixed, Leslie decides that the gang will take it on as their final group effort. The episode then oscillates between 2017 and how each character fares in the future.

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As they're leaving the office, Donna (Retta) is shown living her best life in Seattle in 2023 as a real estate agent. She decides to then spend some of her commission checks on creating a program called Teach Yo' Self.

In 2019, Craig (Billy Eichner) became a singer at Tom's Bistro, where Typhoon (Rodney To), Ron's hair stylist, laid eyes on him. The pair was then shown getting married and flying on a jet as an old married couple decades later. 

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When asked if he had any regrets, in typical Craig fashion, he responded, "Thousands!"

April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy (Chris Pratt) moved to Washington D.C., and welcomed a child together in 2022. Though April was hesitant about having kids in the first place, she warmed up to the idea when she found out she was pregnant. Their son was born on Halloween, so naturally, they named him Burt Snakehole Ludgate Karate Dracula Macklin Demon Jack-o-Lantern Dwyer aka Jack. 

Also in 2022, Mona Lisa (Jenny Slate) and Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz) faked Jean-Ralphio's death because they wanted the insurance money. They were caught because they snuck into his funeral to see how people were reacting. 

After Tom (Aziz Ansari) lost all of his money following a failed expansion plan for Tom's Bistro in 2019, he published a book about his failure. The book became a bestseller, and he became a motivational speaker. He also got married to Lucy.

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Garry Gergich aka Jerry (Jim O'Heir) has the most unlikely success story in the finale. After being the interim mayor of Pawnee, he gets elected on his own merit. He gets re-elected over and over again, and he's shown dying at the age of 100 in 2048. His wife, Gayle (Christie Brinkley) is front and center at the funeral. 

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During Garry's funeral, the cast is brought back together. Leslie and Ben (Adam Scott) show up with a secret service detail, which suggests that one of them became president. Our money is on Leslie.

As for Ron Swanson, he becomes the chairman of his construction company, Very Good. He resigns in 2022, and he buys a majority stake in a malt whiskey distillery. 

After feeling like he's in a rut, Leslie suggests that he become the superintendent of Pawnee National Park.

In 2025, Leslie and Ben are both approached to run for the governor of Indiana. Eventually, it is revealed that Leslie both runs and wins the position. In 2035, she gives the commencement address at Indiana University.

Ann and Chris make a cameo, with their children, during Leslie's 2025 run for governor. They have since welcomed a daughter, Leslie, together too. 

The finale ends in 2017, with the Parks and Rec department fixing the swing and taking a last photo together. 

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How does the 'Parks and Rec' reboot fit into the finale timeline?

Because there was so much jumping around in the finale, some fans wondered if the reunion would fit into the Parks and Rec canon, or if it would be more of a standalone episode. It takes place during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, and it centers around how the characters are surviving quarantine. Creator Mike Schur confirmed that the episode would fit in with the events shown in the finale. 

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"Ordinarily you can just make everything up and start from scratch, but we had already said what had happened to everyone in years past, and so we had to go back and retrofit everything and make sure it made sense," Mike said to Entertainment Tonight.

This means that, in 2020, Leslie, April, Ben, and Andy would be in Washington D.C. Ann and Chris would be living in Michigan, while Donna is in Seattle. In 2020, Garry is the mayor of Pawnee. 

As for what cast members will be part of the special, Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe, Retta, Jim O'Heir, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, and Adam Scott will return to Pawnee (remotely, that is). 

The Parks and Rec reunion airs on April 30 at 8 p.m. on NBC. 

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