Leslie and Ron Sitting in a Tree: Highlights From the 'Parks and Recreation' PaleyFest Panel
The very best PaleyFest panels feel like you’re sitting around with your best TV friends, shooting the sh*t, talking about your favorite shows. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, Patton Oswalt shows up to moderate.
Here’s what your TVBFFs had to say about Parks and Recreation.
The best improvisations
The cast listed off a few of their favorite improvised bits from the show, including Andy’s detailed retelling of the plot of Roadhouse. Series co-creator and executive producer Michael Schur also described scene Aubrey Plaza ad libbed during the April and Ben Take D.C. storyline.
Aubrey did this take, where she was like in his face and was like, ‘If you ever do this again, I’ll rip your head off. And the kid is staring up at her. But she’s leaning in, she gets really really close, she’s, like, screaming at him and there’s a beat and she just goes, ‘Kiss me. Kiss me.’ And the terror in this kid’s eyes. Because he’s, like, acting. He’s like ‘Am I supposed to do this?’ She’s like, ‘Kiss me. Kiss me.’ And he’s terrified and he makes a small move and she goes, ‘Stay away from me,’ and then she goes, ‘Kiss me.’
One final improvised scene: During Chris Pratt’s initial audition, he ad libbed so much they never actually got to the scene itself. As Schur tells it,
Pratt pretended to be playing Grand Theft Auto. And they never got to the scene because he just kept telling Ann… how he was going to kill someone. He was just like, ‘Watch this. I’m going to drop a car on this hooker’s head!’ And then she would try to talk and Pratt would be like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, watch this: I’m going to drop a helicopter on this guy’s head….’
And what’s NOT improvised
Oswalt asked Poehler how much ad libbing was done during the super emotional proposal scene, and the answer turned out to be none. She said it was “a very special time,” and that while they were shooting that day, she and Adam Scott “didn’t really talk much about it and… stayed separate in the house.”
Leslie and Ron making out. Just try to get that out of your head.
Michael Schur described the scenes between Leslie and Ron as some of his favorites to write.
We just wanted to say, like, ‘All right, one guy can have one set of extremely fervent beliefs that run completely counter to the beliefs of his coworker and they can still just get along and respect each other and admire each other and find things in common… And they can sit down and have a glass of whiskey together at the the end of a long night… Those scenes very early on became the kind of meat, the real filet of the show. And we went back on it. We thought it was going to be kind of a background thing and it very quickly just became the center of the show.
Poehler then dropped a mindhole-blowing, completely unshakeable mental image by telling us “Every year Nick and I do a scene just for the gag reel where Leslie and Ron make out.” Schur added, “And we never put it on the gag reel because it’s super disturbing. It’s like watching your parents go at it super hard.” Gross. And wonderful. And so gross.
Who was everyone’s favorite guest star?
Aubrey Plaza chose Patricia Clarkson (which is totally who April would pick, too.) Nick Offerman, obvs, chose his wife, with the adorable line “I’ll take Megan Mullally… in about 45 minutes.” Adam Scott chose Brad Hall as Wreston St. James. Retta chose Ben Schwartz, and Schwartz chose his onscreen worst-person-in-the-world sister, Jenny Slate. Jim O’Heir (Jerry/Gary/Larry) chose Mo Collins (Joan Calamezzo). Amy Poehler came in with the correct answer, which is Louie CK.
The season finale
All we know is that, as Poehler puts it, “The stuff that happens in that last episode is bonkers.” And there’s a Michelle Obama cameo.