Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of great Parks And Recreation content on the Internet this week—and we’re not just talking about all the stuff we published. It’s all well worth reading, especially because you probably can’t focus on anything else today anyway.
Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall really went for it with a whole slate of interviews and opinion pieces, including two talks with Parks co-creator Mike Schur and individual interviews with Jim “Jerry Gergich” O’Heir and Ben “Jean-Ralphio” Schwartz. His interview with Amy Poehler is especially elucidating, as she talks about how the show went from being an “Office spin-off” to essentially ruining her for all jobs in the future. Here’s a blurb from that:
Sepinwall: I spoke with Jim O’Heir the other day, and he got choked up talking about the bond you guys all had. It sounds like it was a great place to be.
Amy Poehler: It really was. It was something that nobody took for granted, and nobody thought this was going to last forever. The fact that we never knew we were coming back all the time made us feel very present in the moment. Schur and I kind of stuck to a “no assholes” policy, and it helped a lot, and that was the tone when you got on set: “Ah, these people all like each other, and everybody does their job, and nobody complains, and everybody has fun.” I was really proud that everybody would come to our set and have such a good time and feel good about it. So it was real. And those things, some of us more than others, knew that those things don’t always last forever, so we were really just enjoying the moment while you could.
Vulture nabbed Retta for a chat about how she met each cast member. It’s incredibly sweet, as made evident in the blurb below:
Chris [Pratt] is also the loveliest, loveliest person you’ll ever meet. And I’m kind of torn between Chris and Nick [Offerman], as to whom I love more. There was an episode called “The Possum.” There’s a scene with him with the possum on his neck—I still laugh just thinking about it. But we had a scene after that, in the bullpen. The possum is in his cage. Before we were shooting, I see that Chris is talking to the possum. And he’s talking shit to the possum. It was hilarious. I just enjoyed how he approached the possum as a person.
Those really interested in the show’s minutiae and writer’s room should check out Uproxx’s oral history of the show. While the story doesn’t feature any cast members besides O’Heir, co-creators Greg Daniels and Mike Schur weigh in alongside a bunch of writers for the show, including Alan Yang, Katie Dippold, and Greg Levine. Here’s a clip from that piece with Daniels and writers Aisha Muharrar and Norm Hiscock talking about when the show really started to gel:
DANIELS: The fun part of working on a show is for the first couple years, it hits its stride almost every week. They increase by leaps and bounds, and the zoo episode, the first episode of Season 2, was a huge leap forward. I loved the episode that Fred Armisen was in with the Venezuelan sister city. That was one of my favorites. Another huge leap came with Adam Scott and Rob Lowe joining the show at the end of Season 2. That was probably the most transformative thing. A lot of fun stuff. A lot of great episodes that I loved.
MUHARRAR: The big game-changer was when we added Adam Scott and Rob Lowe. Those two were both so funny and they became great romantic partners for Leslie and Ann. I always love writing for Ben. I’m a nervous nerd in many areas of my life, and it was fun to get this new character who could mention Star Trek and obsess over fan theories. It opened up a new world that we weren’t able to explore with the other characters. Same with Rob. Chris Traeger was this incredibly unique character who was even more positive than Leslie. I wish we had done more stories with the two of them, but often when we tried we noticed it was just two super-happy, positive people and there was really no conflict between them.
HISCOCK: The second or third season, we knew the characters then and everybody on set was kind of in a groove, too. All of the actors kind of embraced it and knew who their characters were. And then I think that was the time – this is great, this is the show.