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Emmy-nominated comedy series ‘Parks and Recreation’ ended its fourth season on Thursday May 10, with an episode which revealed the long-awaited result in main character Leslie Knope’s election bid for city council.
The episode, titled “Win, Lose, or Draw”, was written and directed by series co-creator Michael Schur. The episode featured Leslie, played by Amy Poehler, waiting to hear if she had beat rival Bobby Newport, played by Paul Rudd, in an election storyline which had been running all season. The initial result showed that Bobby had won by a margin of 21 votes, however, after Leslie’s campaign manager – and love interest – Ben Wyatt, played by Adam Scott, demanded a recount, it was revealed that it was in fact Leslie who had won by 21 votes.
The result of the election had been top-secret since production wrapped on ‘Parks & Recreation’ several months ago. At a Paley Center event in March, Schur revealed that multiple endings had been filmed for the episode so that he could wait until the last moment to decide which ending to air. Poehler admitted to being a fan of both endings, telling the audience:
“It was really touching and moving to do both the acceptance and the concession speeches. Concession and acceptance speeches are about the same until the end. They thank everybody and talk a lot and say congratulations to the other guy … Having to talk to the cast, which were all my friends, and say thank you for this election year. I couldn’t do it without you, cue the waterworks factory.”
Leslie’s win in the season finale means several changes for the series in its fifth season. Until this season, the series had revolved primarily around Leslie’s duties as the Deputy Director of the Pawnee City Department of Parks and Recreation, whereas now the series is expected to feature more storylines involving Leslie’s burgeoning political career.
Also undergoing some changes is Ben Wyatt, who accepted a job offer in the finale to run a congressional campaign in Washington for six months, effectively forcing Leslie and himself to attempt a long-distance relationship for at least some of next season, assuming that it does not skip entirely over those six months.
For the season, ‘Parks & Recreation’ averaged between 3-4 million viewers per week, but strong critical acclaim and consistent Emmy nominations have ensured its survival on the struggling NBC network. Earlier this month, both the series and Poehler won at The Comedy Awards for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actress in TV, respectively, while the series was recently named as the recipient of the prestigious Peabody Award.