Parks and Recreation executive producer Mike Schur tells TVGuide.com exclusively that the show is on the hunt for an actress to play Ron Swanson's mother, "who is exactly what you'd imagine the woman who gave birth to Ron Swanson to be like."
According to the casting breakdown, that means "a no-nonsense, patriotic, salt-of-the-earth farm woman; not easily impressed, and not a fan of big cities. She has an inner strength that commands respect." Or, simply put, "she's no shrinking violet," Schur says. Mama Swanson will be introduced early on in Season 4, as will Ron's first wife, Tammy 1, who will be played by Patricia Clarkson.
Parks and Recreation Season 4 scoop: Ron's facial hair, Tammy 1, Leslie's big decision and more!
Elsewhere in Pawnee, Ben Schwartz tells us that Jean-Ralphio will be back. Schwartz's continued involvement in Parks and Recreation had been uncertain because the actor is now a series regular on the upcoming Showtime comedy House of Lies. But Schwartz says Showtime has been amazing in letting him double up for at least one episode.
"I'm officially coming back," he says. "I work literally every day on [House of Lies] and I had the day off and [Showtime president] David Nevins and [series creator] Matthew Carnahan were like, 'You got it.'"
"I don't know how many episodes it will be on Parks, but it seems like there's an arc," Schwartz adds.
Schur says that much is true. "I can certainly say we would like to have him for multiple episodes ... Our use of his is going to kind of be determined by the other show, but we're planning for Jean-Ralphio to be in more than one episode."
Aziz Ansari teases that when the show premieres his character, Tom, and Jean-Ralphio will still be atop their joint venture, 720 Entertainment, but that the company "is not being run very smartly."
Whose fault is that? Schur elaborates: "I would say there is plenty of blame to go around. They're not the two most disciplined business people." Jean-Ralphio will re-emerge in Episode 2, after Tom returns to City Hall to ask Ben (Adam Scott) for financial advice. Ben — along with viewers — will then get his first real glimpse at 720 headquarters, and "it will shock him," Schur said.
For one thing, Tom's old swagger has been ratcheted up by "1,000 percent," Ansari says.
"Before, he had a GQ kind of look," Schur says. "When we return, there's a new look that's hard to describe. I'd say it's like a super wealthy international jet-setter, but casual."
"In one episode, he wears a pair of leopard slippers — they're horrifying," Schur continues. "There are also a lot of very expensive designer short-sleeved shirts that he wears unbuttoned to the navel ... Aziz is having a lot of fun helping to choose his wardrobe."
The fourth season of Parks and Recreation premieres Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.