Parks and Recreation Finale: Will Ben and Leslie Heat Things Up? And Where's Tom Going?
Adam Scott, Amy Poehler
Oh yes, Ben and Leslie are getting it on.
In last week's episode, "Road Trip," both confessed their mutual like — and then Ben (Adam Scott) did something about it! But can they keep a lid on it after a kiss like that? Parks and Recreation boss Mike Schur says it won't be easy.
"It wasn't a tidy bow on the end of that episode. Now that they've expressed their feelings for each other, the question becomes, 'What do we do about it?'" he tells TVGuide.com. "'Do we just hide it from people and maybe be a little deceptive, or do we deny ourselves and decide that it can't happen?' It all comes to a head in the finale, which is about how their situation and the choices they make are going to be complicated down the line."
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All of which translates to this: Ben and Leslie (Amy Poehler), being in the exciting "bubble" of a new relationship, aren't about to deny themselves entirely. In Thursday's two-part finale, they're going to see how far they can get without getting caught or fired. The problem is neither of them is very good at keeping their budding-but-long-in-the-making romance on the DL. Look for Leslie's mom, Marlene (Pamela Reed), to throw an unexpected monkey wrench into the situation, and later, for two people in the department to find out.
Theirs is a real issue, Schur says. "They're trapped by this very real, by the way, rule in local governments and municipal governments that you're not allowed to date your superiors," he says. "Everyone's very scandal-conscious and when we're talking about people who are deciding where taxpayer money goes... there can't be any hint of impropriety or anything like that."
Don't expect them to make any firm decisions on what to do next either. The finale leaves their relationship — and a whole lot more — in the air. "My personal philosophy on season finales, which I got directly from Greg Daniels, is to write the juiciest, craziest, most interesting finale you possible can," Schur says. "Make everyone who's watching it say, 'How the hell are they going to get out of this?' and then use the summer to figure out how you're going to get out of it."
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Even more up in the air than Ben and Leslie? The future of Tom (Aziz Ansari), who might be moving and shaking his way out of the parks department.
Blame Chris (Rob Lowe) for that. "Tom has been forced by Chris to curtail his entrepreneurial spirit, which we've seen start to play out already, and Tom starts to feel like he isn't long for the world of government. What's coming up is that Chris has a new assignment for him that is completely drudge work — and then Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz) turns up with a proposal to start a new company." Its first event, which will be tied to the upcoming death of a prominent figure in Pawnee, will be such a success, it might just send him packing.
"It's been a long time coming," Schur says. "Tom has big dreams. He's an inventor and wants to make TV shows and movies and hang out with famous people... we wanted to make it a real aspect of his personality instead of just a place we go for jokes. The reality for a lot of people who have government jobs is that push-and-pull thing where you have a steady job, because the government isn't going anywhere, but it doesn't fulfill you if you're a creative person -- certainly not if you're like Tom, with his big, boundless, capitalistic dreams. So we're going to follow through. He has to make a decision."
The two-part Season 3 finale of Parks and Recreation airs at 10/9c on NBC.