Parks and Recreation Finale to Reveal Leslie's Political Fate; FNL and Glee Vets to Guest!

Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope will be a city council member – or not – by the end of this season! At the show’s PaleyFest12 panel on Tuesday, executive producer Mike Schur assured the audience that “we’ll find out [the outcome of the election] in the finale.”

To ensure the reveal remains under wraps, “We shot two endings,” said Schur. “Partly to hedge our bets in case we change our minds and partly to throw snoopers off.”

“It was really touching and moving to do both the acceptance and the concession speeches,” adds star Amy Poehler.

Before then though, Paul Rudd will be back in Episode 20 – written and directed by Poehler – for a big city council debate. And he’s not the only one Leslie will face off against. Three other candidates – a porn star, an animal rights lover and a gun advocate played by Friday Night Lights‘ Brad Leland – will be introduced.

Other topics covered during the PaleyFest panel discussion:

• More fun guest casting: Glee‘s Mike O’Malley appears in the second to last episode as the owner of a “crummy van rental place,” revealed Schur. The Newport Campaign offers him money to park his vans somewhere so Leslie can’t get seniors to the polls.

• A good sign for sweethearts Leslie and Ben: Schur doesn’t believe that all the tension dissipates once you get a couple together. “I feel like that’s silly, and you shouldn’t worry about that,” he said. “It’s all about execution.” Added Poehler, “Ben is the love of Leslie’s life for sure. I hope Ben and Leslie are a team from now on.”

• Elsewhere on the romance front, Thursday’s episode will feature more Tom and Ann action. The unlikely couple came about because the writers wanted to do “a comedy relationship.” Also look for more mixing of characters in the upcoming episodes, including some Tom/April and Ron/Chris scenes.

• Somewhere, Ron Swanson is breathing a sigh of relief. “I believe that we’ve seen the last of the Tammys for this year,” confirmed Schur, before adding that Ron’s mother and ex-wives will “be back at some point.”

• Ben Schwartz did find time in his House of Lies schedule to film a scene as Jean-Ralphio, but Schur said it might be left on the cutting room floor.

• The last two episodes of the season will find Rob Lowe’s Chris hitting rock bottom.

• Although the cast and producers credit Chris Pratt with some of the show’s best improvised lines — “Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here and it says you could have network connectivity problems,” for one — Pratt says he has no plans to write an episode. And what about seeing his real life wife Anna Faris on the show? “If they give us another season, I think it’s going to happen,” he replies. So will there be a Season 5? “We’re cautiously optimistic,” says Schur.

• One of the original titles floated for the series: The Education of Leslie Knope

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  1. JJ says:

    You forget to mention “PHILLY SPRINGS”. P&R make it happen as a webisode series, please.

    • Marcus says:

      Are you talking about “Philly Justice,” the fake 2003 CBS procedural the cast members created in their own minds?

  2. Rachel says:

    I miss Jean-Ralphio =(

    • Ari says:

      Agreed. There has not been enough Jean-Ralphio in the second half of the season. JELLO SHOT!!! Would also like to add, I’m glad they aren’t breaking Leslie and Ben up. I would seriously cry tears of joy if those crazy kids tied the knot someday. I would love to see what a Leslie Knope planned wedding would look like.

  3. Ana says:

    Tom and Ann are a horrible paring. Ann is sweet and nice and Tom is creepy and self-centered. Please, make the lambs stop screaming!! I can’t take it!

  4. Natasha says:

    Tom is a fun character, but pairing him with Ann was a terrible move. He’s spent four seasons acting like a 14 year old boy, why would she ever date him? When have they had a conversation where he didn’t make a stupid comment about how hot she is? She’s never found that charming or cute or anything other than “gross.”

    • LoopyChew says:

      Consider she used to date Andy, who also acted like a 14-year-old boy. Sure, he was more a puppy-dog kid and Tom’s more of a horn-dog type, but still.

      I’m still hoping for Ann and Chris to ultimately be together more permanently, but I won’t stop enjoying the occasional bits where Ann gets exasperated by Tom as long as they limit it to offhand bits.

      • Jess says:

        I actually think the Tom/Anne pairing is okay temporarily ONLY BECAUSE I believe the writers are using Tom to make Chris jealous? maybe?… hoping chris will wake up and go after Anne! :D

        • Little Scarf Girl says:

          Yeah, I feel like Tom/Ann is partly for comedy, and partly to make Chris realize what he missed out on. We’ve seen a lot of sad looks and depressed nonsequitors from Chris lately.

        • Ari says:

          I really like tom & Anne. It’s obvious they are just together for comedy and not because they are some kind of soul mates. I think it’s very true to life. Tom can be a nice guy. Ann needs to have more fun and stop being such a stick in the mud. I like it.

  5. dot says:

    Love parks are rec best show ever! I hate to say this cuz I love leslie and ben bt I kinda miss their obstacles an hers hopeing /praying for season 5 and rateings get better and AWARDS!

  6. Mike says:

    Buddy Garritty on Parks & Recs? Yes!

    • Maggie says:

      That description almost fits Brad Leland better than Buddy Garrity… I love Buddy but, man. His portrayal on P&R has me extremely excited!

  7. Gaby says:

    A different site says that the Knope campaign is the one trying to keep the Seniors from the polls, which makes more sense since their leader endorsed Newport

  8. Spencer says:

    I love this show sooooooo much!!!!!!!! I cannot wait to see if Leslie wins. And, this show needs a 5th, 6th, 7th, etc. seasons!!! <3

  9. Little Scarf Girl says:

    LOL at that improvised line for Andy. He’s so dopey it’s hilarious. I also liked his line from a few episodes ago, “No…I don’t think we can accept donations over $50.” I think it’s interesting that they filmed two different versions of how the campaign ends. I could honestly see it going either way, leaning toward her winning. It would open up a lot of new stories, and since she’ll still be working at the parks department, too, I don’t think it would change the overall dynamic too much.

  10. Doug says:

    Parks & Rec back to back with Community was the best hour of comedy on tv. Writing is great on this show and hoping it gets renewed. And if there’s any justice at awards shows Ron Swanson has to win something.

  11. alyssa897 says:

    I had no idea Chris Pratt improvised that line. I think it’s my favorite Andy line so far in the show. I’d love to see Anna Farris guest star! I didn’t know they were married. I think we need more Jean-Ralphio for sure. I really don’t care about Tom/Ann. I’m indifferent to it I guess. I get the feeling he doesn’t feel her though. Maybe because I don’t think Aziz and Rashida have a good connection. No April news??

  12. Amber says:

    I was nervous when I saw a Glee star would be on Parks and Rec as I thought that would ruin the episode for me, but it’s totally cool if it’s Mike O’Malley. He’s a pretty funny guy and I’ve never disliked him on Glee the way I do a lot of the others on that show. Can’t remember who the actor from FNL is, but I’m excited to see anyone from FNL again, so it doesn’t matter. Just bring ’em on!

  13. Mel says:

    I and my family adore this show, so I just had to show my support here in case The Powers That Be are reading this. It’s smart and funny, and the characters are fantastic. I recently bought the Ron Swanson “Pyramid of Greatness” t-shirt for my son. Please NBC, keep this show going! And producers and writers, please, more Jean-Ralphio (“So my question to you is, how you makin’ that paper?” was a favorite line of ours, the way he delivered it to Ben), and thanks for Ben and Leslie – don’t break them up!!