"Parks and Recreation" Post


Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, and Adam Scott are just too busy to help Harris Wittels promote his new Humblebrag book.

There are many things one can learn after spending time with the cast of NBC's "Parks & Recreation", and we head to the set to be enlightened -- Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Jim O'Heir, Retta, Ben Schwartz, Chris Pratt, and Lucy Lawless reveal to us the laundry list of amazing guest stars over the years, what viewers can expect from Season 5, and what YH's motto SHOULD be. As a bonus, Aziz dishes on his stint with "Deadliest Catch", his moonlighting on "Modern Family", and stick around for an insightful review of 'Looper'! Hosted by Lesley Robins (@lesleymia).

'Parks and Recreation': Exec producer Michael Schur offers 11 hints about season 5 with a twist

Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. on NBC’s Parks and Recreation… Leslie Knope faces her toughest challenge yet as a member of the City Council! Okay, yes, she just started the job, but Leslie (Amy Poehler) does have a big decision to make about a Bloomberg-esque soda tax that’s designed to discourage Pawnee’s residents (first in friendship! fourth in obesity!) from purchasing absurdly oversized sugary drinks. “Her actions have a lot more ramifications and there’s a lot more people involved and a lot more power involved, ” says Parks executive producer Michael Schur. “It’s an early crucible for her to get through and try to figure out whether she has the guts and the fortitude to make it work in the new job. It’s been a long time since Leslie’s been completely at sea and has no idea professionally speaking what to do in a given situation.” To ensure that you’re not completely at sea when it comes to upcoming developments on the show, Schur has kindly provided you with 11 teases for season 5. There’s just one catch: the names of the characters he’s talking about have been omitted. Let the guessing game begin! Oh, and don’t be a Jerry and accidentally read the answer key at the bottom of the page first.

1. “—– has a personal breakthrough thanks to a cowboy hat, and some tough love from —–.”
2. “Champion the three-legged dog may be the only thing that can cheer up —– when he has an emotional breakdown.”
3. “Will —– actually win an award for something? And more importantly, will he care?”
4. “Halloween pranks aren’t always harmless, as —– and —– will learn the hard way.”
5. “—– finds himself contemplating a big career move on the deck of a yacht.”
6. “Why in the world would —– possibly try to destroy a project idea from —–?”
7. “Episode 8 might just be the last we hear from —–.”
8. “—– grabs —–’s wrist so hard, he’ll think twice about food tray etiquette in the future.”
9. “Can —– read all of “50 Shades of Gray” in one afternoon?”
10. “Of all the people to have thrown a well-attended party, who’d have guessed it’d be —–?
11. “Was —– texting when he got into a minor car accident? How dare you, sir! He was tweeting.”

[answers](ANSWERS: 1. Ann/Leslie 2. Chris. 3. Ron 4. Leslie/Ann 5. Ben 6. Leslie/April 7. Burt Macklin 8. Ron/Jean-Ralphio 9. Donna 10. Jerry. 11. Tom)

The Cheers Effect: Amy Poehler

When Amy Poehler needs a break from working on Parks and Recreation, she unwinds by heading back to her trailer and cueing up Cheers. "It's the only show I have on my DVR, and I watch it all the time," says Poehler. "Not only because it's comforting, but also because I relate to that feeling of loving the people you work with. [Parks showrunner] Michael Schur and I will watch together, and just geek out for an hour about, like, the Thanksgiving episode." As part of GQ's celebration of the classic sitcom's 30th anniversary, we rang up the Boston native to talk Sam and Diane, the enormousness of Norm, and TV's finest surrogate family.

GQ: Cheers took a while to catch on with viewers. When did you start watching?
Amy Poehler: I remember being on board from the absolute beginning. I grew up in Boston, and we always felt like it was a hometown show. I had some small personal connections to the show: Every once in a while, they'd stick a true Bostonian in there, to remind everybody about the accent, because nobody was really doing it [on the show]. One of the guys from my local pizza place was an extra, and I remember meeting him and being like, "Oh my God, this guy is the best."

My other small personal connection was that, after Cheers was over, when I was doing Second City in Chicago, George Wendt came to [see the show]. Afterwards, we walked about two blocks to a bar, and I've never, ever seen anybody swarmed by more people. Norm was everybody's character. America felt like they owned him.

GQ: So were you heavily up in the Sam and Diane relationship?
Amy Poehler: Oh, yeah. When they kissed, it was so exciting. I loved how the show let us be tortured for a while by their relationship—how [the producers] pulled them apart and got them back together. And I loved the chemistry between Ted and Shelley. There was shared respect onscreen. [But] the cool thing about the show was that you loved every character. They were so finely drawn, I could always imagine what they were doing on the weekends. And that, to me, is a really well-written character.

GQ: Do you have an all-time favorite episode?
Amy Poehler: The last one. I could watch it every day. When Danson turns the bar's lights out, it's that incredibly rare moment in TV where it feels real and earned and sweet. And that episode's still packed with jokes, you know? That theme song that tells you "You want to go where everybody knows your name"—it delivers in the show, because you actually feel like there's a real family there. And I remember watching that [finale], and being so crushed that I wasn't going to see that family again.

GQ: Where do you stand on the Diane years versus the Rebecca years?

Amy Poehler:You know, those first seasons with Sam and Diane will always be imprinted on my mind. But it's an indication about how strong the writing was that both [eras] worked. Look at how strong the structure of the show was. When they had to replace Coach, it was like, "Oh my God—how is it going to happen?" And then Woody Harrelson comes in, and it's so unbelievably good, you realize that the bar is what's important in the show. The bar is the character, and the fact that Cheers not only survived [change], but became interesting in a totally different way, is so cool.

GQ: There's a feeling among certain Cheers vets that young comedy writers are more interested in post-modern sitcoms like Seinfeld than a traditional show like Cheers. Is that something you've observed?
Amy Poehler:I think that's true, sadly. Perhaps, ten years from now, [that'll change]. Every high-school student goes upstairs and says, "Have you heard this band Led Zeppelin?" So I hope and assume that every good comedy writer, no matter the age, has a moment where they discover how great Cheers is. And I would encourage any young person getting into comedy to sit down and watch the best television show that's ever been on, and see the structure of it. Because their jokes were evergreen. They didn't do a lot of topical stuff, so nothing feels dated. There's no jokes about DeLoreans and the Jimmy Carter administration. I [revisited] the pilot a few years ago, and it's still hilariously funny and completely fresh and better-written than 90 percent of the stuff that I've ever read.


For four seasons, veteran character actor Jim O’Heir has embodied the unflappably sweet, ceaselessly picked-on Jerry Gergich on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” It takes skill to play the punching bag, and Jerry’s thick skin and willingness to snap back with each subsequent low blow has made him one of the show’s most sympathetic — and understatedly hilarious — characters. The 50-year-old O’Heir spoke to The Daily about what’s in store for season five, including a top-secret storyline that has him fearing for his safety. (Don’t be scared, Jim. We won’t let anyone hurt you anymore.)

What can we expect from the new season of “Parks & Recreation”?

We’re shooting this week with Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad”), and he’s going to play Ben’s (Adam Scott) father, and Glenne Headly is playing Ben’s mother. Jean-Ralphio is back, and he and Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) have another idea for a business venture. And there is a pretty big Jerry storyline that I would be killed for repeating, but it could be a game changer as far as being at the Parks department. It’s a big one.

It’s an election year. Do you think the show’s brand of political satire has an impact on the culture at large?

You’ll notice about “Parks,” you don’t know where any of our politics are. [Creator] Mike Schur has said “we’re not in that game.” As actors and people, of course we talk politics. Rob Lowe, is a very staunch Republican, and it’s all across the board politically at work, but never in the show, and that is on purpose.

Your character takes a lot of abuse, and his responses are priceless. How do you craft a Jerry reaction?

Acting — you learn this from day one — is reacting. There’s nothing worse than when I see someone react before hearing a full line. Where I come from is a place of trying to hear it for the first time, followed by a normal reaction. Say Jerry has made some proclamation that is probably correct, probably brilliant. But he’s immediately slammed for it. So in my mind, a person like that would think, “How could that be bad!?” It’s a reaction of confusion and perhaps anger.

There was a great “Parks and Rec” gag reel released recently. Who among your cast mates is the quickest to “break”?

My favorite person to see break, only because he doesn’t do it often, which makes it funnier, is Nick Offerman [who plays crusty department director Ron Swanson]. What makes Nick break, 90 percent of the time, is Chris Pratt [who plays the clueless Andy Dwyer]. When Nick breaks, we all go crazy; he’s so stoic. Amy [Poehler] is pretty good, but she can break. Rashida [Jones] breaks; she’s easy. Nick is the tough one.

Watch the three minute Jerry highlight reel at source no. 2


Pop Culture Memory Lane - Jim O'Heir Meets Mary Tyler Moore vulture
"Old Rivalry" Starring Jim O'Heir at the Venice Film Festival
Ben Schwartz has been guest hosting AOTS this week g4
Retta talks TV and Twitter The Insider

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