The year 2017 according to Parks and Recreation’s seventh and final season

Parks and Recreation Season 7

After seven seasons and 125 episodes, our friends from Pawnee said their final goodbye on Feb. 24. Undoubtedly, they’ve left a void in television (and my heart) that I don’t envision being filled, ever (I just don’t see any new sitcom or comedy like Parks and Rec getting the green light at any of the big networks, let alone making it to seven seasons).

For its seventh and final season, the NBC show jumped to 2017 (spoilers ahead): Leslie and Ben had their triplets and have a damn good nanny, it would appear; Leslie works for the National Parks Department and Ben is city manager in Pawnee; Ron no longer works in government after founding the Very Good Construction Company; Donna runs Regal Meagle Realty and is getting married; Tom Haverford is a self-described mogul and successful restauranteur; April is looking for her calling while hubby Andy has found his entertaining children on the popular Johnny Karate public-television show; Terry (formerly known as Jerry and Larry, but actually named Garry) is a licensed notary public but still does menial work for Leslie.

But the world outside Pawnee has also changed and gone on, and Parks makes some funny and bold predictions for 2017 in sports, pop culture and technology:

Is Jermaine Jackson going to die? There’s a Jermaine Jackson Memorial Ballroom at the Pawnee Super Suites (the Jacksons are Indiana natives).

Jermaine Jackson Memorial Ballroom

Phones will be clear and expandable into tablets, which will be expandable into skateboards.

The Bourne franchise will be rebooted with Kevin James as the titular hero (Andy heard it’s supposed to be pretty funny, while Leslie thought the role was miscast).

Shia LaBeouf will design wedding dresses (Donna’s splurging to walk down the aisle in one). LaBeouf will also be designing jewelry!

The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series and Chicagoans will be in a great mood.

There’s going to be a Hitch 2, starring Jaden Smith and subtitled Son of a Hitch.

Celebrity feud: Morgan Freeman and Shailene Woodley, and it’s baaaaad apparently.

The Game of Thrones season finale will see Khaleesi marry Jack Sparrow (it makes sense if you read the books, Ben says).

Joe Biden will publish a book of poetry, Biden the Rails: 1,001 Poems Inspired by My Travels Through Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

Biden the Rails

Nicki Minaj throws shade at Jesse Eisenberg at the BAFTAs. (Nicki Minaj gets invited to the BAFTAs, so I guess she also transitions into serious acting – I don’t doubt her ability!).

Business will be booming again for Chick Fil-A after Elton John buys it.

There will be a Pulitzer Prize for “Best Top 10 Listicle” (Anabel Porter of Bloosh won it twice so this is probably happening this year!).

Trendy things, according to Bloosh‘s Anabel Porter: oyster forks, asymmetrical overalls, angora toothbrushes, locally sourced Italian flip-flops, and beef milk (which Ron astutely points out is “fucking milk,” but Donna clarifies that a gallon of beef milk is $60 and there’s a waiting list for the stuff!).

LeBron James goes back to Miami!

Elbow art salons will be very popular. Bedazzling elbows, basically.

Bruce Willis and Christina Aguilera Live together in Beverly Hills.

Kennedy, Ginsburg, Roberts, Breyer, Sotomayor and Thomas will still be on the Supreme Court in 2017.

SCOTUS

Things that will still be things in 2017: Subway sandwich restaurants, Etsy, Coachella.

The Twin Peaks reboot is gonna be boring, according to April Ludgate.

U.S. politicians still around in 2017: Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, John McCain, Madeline Albright. Cory Booker and Gary Hatch are also in a Polynesian folk band.

Unfortunately, MRAs will also still be around, but their protest signs will be amazing.

MRA Parks and Rec

 

The one-hour series finale also went beyond 2017. Here’s where Parks and Recreation sees

In 2023, they’re going to build a Space Haystack in Seattle next to the Space Needle; Seattle real-estate market is booming; Middle Korea will be a tourist hot spot; they’ve stopped teaching math in schools; door-knocker earrings will be a thing.

Travel by submarine!

The United States will run out of beef.

Have I missed anything? Let me know on Twitter, @Chris_Hanna.

Golden Globes 2015: If I could vote

Golden Globes

Rather than try to predict who the elusive Hollywood Foreign Press Association will honour at the 72nd Golden Globes ceremony, I decided it would be less embarrassing more fun to pretend to be a member of the HFPA and fill out my own ballot.

Here’s how I would vote, if I could …

Golden Globes

Golden Globes II

The one prediction I will allow myself is this: Hostesses Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will kill it. They’ve done it twice already, so this is not a bold prediction. But not only is this their swan song, Poehler and Fey both have projects to plug. Poehler’s Parks and Recreation (neither she nor the series are nominated in the TV comedy categories tonight) starts its farewell season on Tuesday; Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt premières on Netflix on March 6; Fey and Poehler star in the comedy Sisters, due in theatres in Dec. 2015.

The Golden Globes are on NBC/CTV starting at 8 p.m. You can print your ballot via PopSugar and follow along on Twitter, where I will be live-tweeting and taking part in the Montreal Gazette‘s live blog. Get ready for whatever the hell this means:

Best of 2014: Television

There literally aren’t enough hours in the day for any human to work, sleep, eat, bathe and watch all of the great television we are #blessed to have available pretty much 24/7, but damn it, I have to try. When I made this list last year, I opted for the Nussbaumiam honour roll, listing 17 series that captivated me in 2013. This year, I’m going Top 10. Here it is:

10. Veep (HBO)

Armando Ianucci and his team’s sharp scripts are the perfect fit for an ensemble cast – led by the incomparable Julia Louis-Dreyfus – whose takedowns are legendary.

My favourite 2014 episode of Veep: “Clovis”

9. BOB’S BURGERS (FOX)

Bob’s Burgers final two episodes of 2014 alone – the Christmas instalment “Father of the Bob” introduced us to the elder Belcher patriarch, and “Tina Tailor Soldier Spy” was the perfect vehicle for the eldest Belcher daughter – made it the best animated series on television for me. The show has the ability to put its characters through familiar stories while still making them seem fresh and funny.

My favourite 2014 episode of Bob’s Burgers: “Father of the Bob”

8. Vicious (PBS)

On paper, Vicious could sound like a quaint, sweet little series: it’s about an aging gay couple who live in a fabulous apartment and have friends over. In fact, Freddie and Stuart hurl insults at each other any chance they get. Created and written by Gary Janetti, who has a most funny, ferocious Twitter feed (he has also worked on Will and Grace and Family Guy). Vicious stars Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi.

My favourite 2014 episode of Vicious: “Episode 1.2” in which Freddie suspects Stuart of cheating, but he’s in fact got himself a job in a clothing store. The Christmas Special was top-notch, too.

7. Key & Peele (Comedy Central)

Key & Peele ditched its Chapelle-like live-to-tape format for a darker fourth season that saw Key and Peele pushing the envelope and creating new characters, on top of tackling racial and social issues the way they have always done – in a funny, snarky, important and often scathing way.

My favourite 2014 sketch from Key & Peele: “Georgina and Esther and Satan” and “Aerobics Meltdown”

6. The Leftovers (HBO)

Some found it unsatisfying, I found HBO’s The Leftovers completely engrossing. Two per cent of the world’s population disappears one day, and as long as you’re not expecting answers, or to find them in some other dimension, The Leftovers will not disappoint. Hooray for the great cast, especially Carrie Coon, who was also in David Fincher’s Gone Girl. Great year for her.

My favourite 2014 episode of The Leftovers: “Two Boats and a Helicopter,” a great showcase for Rev. Jamison (Christopher Eccleston)

5. THE COMEBACK (HBO)

I knew I had to watch The Comeback before compiling this list. I’d been slowly making my way through Season One of the resuscitated HBO series starring Lisa Kudrow and was loving every cringe-worthy second. Almost 10 years later, Kudrow is back as Valerie Cherish, a faded sitcom and reality star. The Comeback is as biting and sharp as ever. See it! I watched all of Season Two in two sittings. And that finale … 

My favourite 2014 episode of The Comeback: “Valerie Gets What She Really Wants”

4. Parks and Recreation (NBC)

With just the second half of the show’s sixth season airing in 2014, Parks and Recreation is gearing up for its February finale. I’ll need more time to prepare, but I trust the best comedic ensemble on TV to stick the landing.

My favourite 2014 episode of Parks and Recreation: “Farmers Market” and “Ann and Chris,” ’cause awww …

3. Hannibal (NBC)

If Hannibal was on any of the cable networks, it might be even grittier and creepier than it already is on NBC. Whether it’d be more popular is up for debate (I think it wouldn’t be), but I do believe it would be more acclaimed and possibly even get some awards love. Mads Mikkelsen is pitch-perfect as the titular cannibalistic therapist, as are Hugh Dancy and Caroline Dhavernas. Rivals The Silence of the Lambs for most chillingly terrifying Hannibal adaptation.

My favourite 2014 episode of Hannibal: “Mizumono”

2. Jane the Virgin (CW)

The best new show of the season is also the happiest, sweetest, most fun I’ve had the pleasure of following in years. A remake of a telenovela (hold on) about a devout Latina (hang on!) who gets accidentally artificially inseminated (please, wait!) and decides to go through with the pregnancy is the most charming show on television. I grin every Monday, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., because of CW’s perfect Jane the Virgin.

My favourite 2014 episode of Jane the Virgin: All of them, but let’s go with “Chapter One” – love at first watch.

1. The Good Wife (CBS)

What can I say about The Good Wife I haven’t already embarrassingly and gushingly tweeted? I was in the middle of catching up on the series on Netflix when that Season 5 episode happened in the spring. I was worried that the show had gotten desperate and killed off a major character in an attempt to shake things up creatively (I was, at the time, watching the tabloidy Season 4 of the series, and was worried The Good Wife was headed in the wrong direction). How wrong I was. Not only was the character’s death very important and well handled, it became the catalyst for important emotional development in Alicia Florrick, the great-as-ever Julianna Margulies.

My favourite 2014 episode of The Good Wife: “Dramatics, Your Honor”

Honourable mentions (in alphabetical order): Black-ish, for Tracee Ellis Ross; Fargo, because the fact that it was ever considered in the same league as that HBO series (you know the one) still boggles my mind; How to Get Away with Murder, for craziness and Viola Davis killing it week in and week out; Inside Amy Schumerfor this, but mostly this poignant, scathing indictment of the militaryMad Men, because it’s still gorgeous when it’s not going anywhere, and can Elisabeth Moss please win an Emmy already?; The Mindy Project, because Mindys Kaling and Lahiri are aces; Scandal, because it’s still appointment viewing even though it’s lost its way this season; You’re the Worst, because terrible people need love, too.

Blind spotsThe Knick, which is polarizing, but about which I have been told it’s sickeningly wicked; the second season of The Americans, which has been on my PVR since FX aired a marathon of it in May; the new season of Homeland, on which I’d given up because of its infuriating previous season but which Twitter tells me has got its groove back and then some; The Walking Dead, for the same reason as HomelandTransparent, because Canada.

SNL recap: Woody Harrelson and Kendrick Lamar

Woody Harrelson SNL 2014

I have a theory about Saturday Night Live cold opens. They’re terrible on purpose, to set the bar low for the rest of the episode. It seems to be the strategy for this 40th season of the iconic sketch-comedy show. Last night’s episode, hosted by Woody Harrelson with musical guest Kendrick Lamar, started with a lame sketch of Jay Pharoah’s Obama drinking with Taran Killam’s Mitch McConnell. This kind of political sketch seems odd for for me to see SNL do, since it hasn’t bothered to be topical very often this season, and when it does, it doesn’t do it very well.

The rest of the Harrelson episode was stellar by comparison, and Harrelson did have a few memorable moments. He wasn’t overshadowed by his monologue crashers (his Hunger Games co-stars Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh Jennifer Lawrence) like Bill Hader was earlier this season by Kristen Wiig, but that’s mostly because Harrelson’s crashers didn’t have much to do or say. Among the Harrelson-centric highlights: the monologue song about the year 1989; playing one of the dads in the new CBS sitcom The Dudleys; lamenting New York City’s crack situation, i.e. that it is harder to come by these days and its quality is dwindling. One thing that should be noted about this season of SNL is how great the musical guests are and have been on stage. Between Hozier and Prince, and last night’s electrifying Kendrick Lamar set, it’s great to see different genres grace the SNL stage and the artists making it their own.

Here are my three favourite moments from last night’s show:

Kendrick Lamar performs “i” 

Hypnotic and energetic, Kendrick Lamar got on that stage and owned it. If you weren’t exicted about his new album before, he certainly makes the case that it’ll be one of the best of the year. Most/all links to his performance are not streamable in Canada, so you will just have to take my word for it.

Leslie Jones on crazy bitches during Weekend Update 

It’s where most viewers first witnessed her greatness, so I don’t mind that Leslie Jones’s only moment last night was a rant about men calling women they’ve slept with crazy during Weekend Update. I do hope she will get to do more things soon. I am excited to see the characters she has cooking in her head. Watch Weekend Update on Global’s website. 

Last Call

It’s hard to get annoyed with the repetitiveness of the sketch when Kate McKinnon commits to it so fully. Harrelson and McKinnon are the last two patrons in a bar and they are convincing each other as much as themselves that leaving with this person is probably not going to be the worst thing they have ever done. Watch Last Call on Global’s website.

SNL recap: Chris Rock and Prince

SNL Chris Rock

The Saturday Night Live alum keep coming back to 30 Rock this season, with mixed results – Sarah Silverman delivered one of the best monologues ever, Bill Hader was mostly upstaged, and an uneven Jim Carrey episode was energy-filled.

It was Chris Rock’s turn to host last night. Rock was a SNL cast-member from 1990 to 1993 and had no problem leveraging his stint on the sketch-comedy show into a huge career in stand-up and film. Top Five, a film he writes, directs and stars in, will open in December (It has already received tremendous reviews, like this one from The Hollywood Reporter when Top Five screened at TIFF.)

Save the monologue, this episode of Saturday Night Live was a terrible showcase for Rock’s talents, with almost every sketch veering into predictable territory and Rock performing his signature outrage half-heartedly, not to mention some very real and noticeable technical difficulties (What was that cue card mess-up in the Uber sketch, and people flubbing lines, and missing their mark or shoddy blocking?) throughout the show.

Here are the three bits from last night’s Saturday Night Live most worth your time:

Chris Rock’s almost eight-minute monologue: Totally in his element and delving into very controversial territory in poking fun at the Boston Marathon bombing and 9/11. The audience was audibly and understandably uncomfortable, but I liked his bit on rebuilding the Freedom Tower in the same spot at the Twin Towers. “I got robbed on 48th and 8th 20 years ago. I haven’t been back to 48th and 8th.” Watch the monologue on Mashable.

Prince’s eight-minute medley: A performer unlike any other, Prince blessed us all with an eight-minute medley last night. Watch Prince’s performance on The Concourse.

Swiftamine: Adults who get vertigo when they realize they like … Taylor Swift. So simple, so brilliant, and one of the few sketches from last night that made me lol. Watch it on blip.tv.

SNL recap: Jim Carrey and Iggy Azalea

SNL Jim Carrey

For the first time in a long time, I did not watch all of Saturday Night Live live.

It’s not because I didn’t think last night’s episode, hosted by SNL alum Jim Carrey, a staple of my childhood, wasn’t spectacular. And I wish I could say it’s because as a 20-something, I had plans outside my house with people my age; or that I was protesting the show’s decision to book the intolerable Iggy Azalea as musical guest.

The boring truth is that I have been getting up around the same time for the last month because of a (great) new job, and I didn’t want to mess up my sleep pattern too much. I knew I wouldn’t be staying up late enough to watch the whole episode, so I didn’t do a live blog for this episode like I’ve been doing almost every episode since last season. I tweeted some for the first hour or so of the show, but very distinctly remember shutting off Update during Bobby Moynihan’s latest appearance as Drunk Uncle.

I watched yesterday’s episode hosted by a fully committed and game Carrey this morning, skipping through commercials (I’m finally remembering that I am able to do this with the gizmo that is PVR) and Iggy Azalea , and continue to be impressed with this season of Saturday Night Live. The Carrey episode has been the best so far, mostly because of his infectious energy. It’s no surprise, then, that the weakest sketch of the night was the cold open, which mocked the Ebola Czar. It was the only sketch that was Carrey-less. I want to commend SNL for continuing to attempt to remain topical, but by Saturday, the jokes they do in these political cold opens have often been done to death by late-night hosts – heck, even Twitter. (Though maybe this is done on purpose, to make the dismal monologues they’ve been churning out this season – with the exception of the perfect Sarah Silverman monologue – look great by comparison.)

It was an odd night and a Halloween-themed episode; rather than grade each sketch, here are the three that are most worth your time:

Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln commercials

They are so ridiculous, and so ripe for spoofing, and this was so unexpected an impersonation for Carrey, but it all came together and worked. Odd to the 10th power. See the sketch on YahooTV.

Carrey Family reunion

Basically what every conversation my cousins and I would have in the ’90s. The Carreys reunite (much like the Walkens have reunited on an SNL past) for a loving get-together full of classic one-liners from some of Carrey’s biggest film roles. See the sketch on YahooTV.

Office costume contest

Odd to the 50th power, but the physicality and commitment make this my favourite sketch of the night. In an office costume contest, Carrey and Kate McKinnon both show up as the dancer from Sia’s “Chandelier” music video. The tie-breaker is a dance-ff, and it’s a doozy. See the sketch on YahooTV.

What was your favourite sketch of the night?

Saturday Night Live continues to welcome its alum back next week, Nov. 1, with Chris Rock hosting. Prince will be the musical guest.

SNL recap: Bill Hader and Hozier

Bill Hader SNL 2014

Bill Hader was on Saturday Night Live for eight years before he left at the end of the 2012-13 season, earning two Emmy nominations and creating countless memorable characters – and nailing impersonations of James Carville, Vincent Price and Al Pacino – during his run.

He’s back tonight, and we can expect that he’ll reprise his most famous characters (at the very least Stefon, who’ll descend upon the Weekend Update desk, heartbroken that his boo Seth Meyers is no longer there). Hozier will provide the music tonight, whose alt-rock hit “Take Me To Church” I once Shazamed during an episode of HBO’s The Leftovers.

There’s been no announcement of who’ll host the next episode of SNL, so that’ll be one thing to look out for tonight! As always, you can come back after the show for a full recap of what worked and what didn’t, and check out past SNL recaps.

Cold open: Bobby Moynihan is Kim Jong Un, addressing his subjects about his rumoured illnesses. The sketch lives and dies with Moynihan’s theatrics, and he’s so good at the physical comedy stuff that it almost distracts from the fact that the cold open had no jokes: Fact is indeed stranger than fiction. C

Monologue: Pleasantries, niceties, Bill’s nervous, yadi-yada, Kristen Wiig!!! It’s Bill’s dream to sing on SNL but his singing voice is low, like Harvey Fierstein low, and Wiig is his supposed hype man. Damn, is Wiig gonna steal this from Hader already? And there’s Fierstein! Hader’s likeable and this is a nice homecoming for him. He’ll have his chance to shine tonight. Right? B-

Herb Welch: The first of many, I am sure, returning characters for Hader. Welch is the jaded, cynical New York TV reporter who’s terrible at interviews and with people, and can barely report. Kinda great. A

The Group Hooper: A trailer for a teen movie that combines every teen-movie trope. It’s the joke version of all those terrible Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer films. B+

Ohhhh, Jim Carrey will host the Oct. 25 episode.

Hollywood Game Night: I kinda love that the contestants are put together based on who the SNL cast can impersonate: Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Kathie Lee Gifford, Nick Offerman, Christoph Waltz and Sofia Vergara. Host Jane Lynch was played by the brilliant Kate McKinnon. The problem with these impersonation-heavy sketches is they rely on ticks, outbursts and over-the-topness for laughs, instead of, you know, jokes, plot and kooky situations. Wiig stealing it again, though, as Gifford. C

Help Fund: You know those commercials that tell people that “for 39 cents a day,” they can help a poor African village survive? Now imagine African villagers looked on and asked for more money. Like, why do you start so low, one asks. Instead of the price of a cup of coffee, why don’t you ask for 99 cents, the price of a can of Arizona Iced Tea, asks another. B-

Love Is A Dream/Jan Hooks tribute: So sweet, so nice, so classy. A

Hozier, “Take Me To Church”: It’s pronounced Ho-zier, like Hozier Daddy. I don’t know any other song by him, but this one’s pretty great. I first heard it on an episode of The Leftovers, which seriously did not get enough love this past summer. A

Weekend Update: The Update desk is really coming into its own. Three episodes in, the chemistry between Colin Jost and Michael Che hasn’t improved, per se, but it’s more because it doesn’t really exist. But each host is delivering; Che continues to get some killer lines, Jost gets more likeable every week. Pete Davidson had a great shot at delivering another winning sorta-monologue like he did in the season première, but he flubbed a few lines and seemed just a tad too pleased with himself when some of his jokes landed. The rest of Update was … was there any doubt? … Stefon, of course! Stefon doesn’t really do it for me as a character, but I do love Bill Hader as Stefon, especially since he’s said in interviews that the things he reads on air, he’s reading for the first time. It’s only Hader’s second homerun, though, and we’re at the halfway mark of the episode. B+

Puppets: Holy weirdness, Batman. A puppetry class taught by a happy-go-lucky instructor has a student who maybe needs therapy. Hader plays a Vietnam vet who’s obviously seen some things and is using his puppet (who looks and sounds just like him) to get by. B

Inside SoCal: If these Kyle Mooney videos are gonna be the new Digital Shorts, they’ll probably need to be more like this. I find these widely inconsistent week to week, but I loved this week’s. (But, hey, how about instead of having Cecily Strong, whom I love, play two Latinas this week, maybe …….. get a Latina on the show, Lorne). B+ 

Cat in the Hat: I’m gonna blame the elaborate costume and makeup for why this sketch is the last one of the night. Two bored kids summon the Cat in the Hat, who shows up and realizes their mom Linda is his ex. A

Etc.: Where was Vanessa Bayer tonight?; For real, Cecily Strong playing two Latinas this week highlights another diversity problem on the show; With Jim Carrey hosting the next new episode, it’ll be 3/4 hosts who were cast-members at one point – this makes it hard for new cast-members and characters to get chances to shine.