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Rashida Jones Says The 'Parks And Recreation' Cast Always Thought They'd Be Canceled

By Andrew Sanford | TV | July 10, 2024 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | July 10, 2024 |


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NBC used to have a hilarious stranglehold on prime-time comedies. Their history speaks for itself, with shows like Night Court, The Cosby Show, and ALF. The good times would continue, as the network would broadcast Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends. NBC’s curation of comedy hit a fever pitch in 2009. On Thursday nights in 2009, you could watch Community, Parks And Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock all in one night.

Right now, that lineup seems like a surefire home run. All four shows have become massive hits on streaming networks. They have been memed as much as a show can be memed. The Office is being rebooted. Community is getting a movie. 30 Rock is Twitter’s “Main Character” quite often, as people debate (but mostly support) its place in comedy history. Parks And Recreation has a rewatch podcast that was in demand enough that Jim O’Heir was brought in to host when Rob Lowe had to drop out (as opposed to ending the show).

All four shows have been massive successes. All four shows were at risk of cancellation more than once. According to Rashida Jones, Parks And Recreation was always a plane ride away from getting canceled. The actor addressed the show’s perilous existence on Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend. “Every single season, we were like, this is it. They’re not gonna want us back,” she told the giant, redheaded podcast host. “At one point we were canceled and then the president of NBC got off the plane and changed his mind. It was like, ‘Eh, don’t cancel it yet, I guess.’ It was not really a thing at all.”

Jones took a moment to reflect on how the show has grown in popularity, noting that it “is kind of iconic now” and that “it’s like one of those great comedies of that time, which is awesome.” Regardless, the cast walked around on eggshells during the show’s run. “The whole time, we were just holding on for dear life, hoping we got to do more,” Jones explained. Still, the danger of failure may have been a special sauce, as she continues, “Which is probably part of why it was so good—because there was no stardom. It wasn’t infiltrated by any outside feelings about us. People kind of liked us if they knew who we were.”

The cast of Parks And Recreation didn’t get to bask in the show’s glory when it was airing. Luckily, they’ve gotten a chance to soak it in since then. Rashida told Conan, “I think it was five years ago, we went to the Dolby, and we did a 10th-anniversary thing where we all came out the whole cast.” It was a special moment for all involved, as Jones continued, saying, “The reception was so—I felt like the Beatles, it was so nuts. People were screaming so loud [and] we were all crying because we had never been in a room where anybody cared.”

Nothing is certain. Parks And Recreation could have gotten canceled early. It very well could have disappeared from pop culture. We may not have witnessed Aubrey Plaza’s impressive career as an actor. Nick Offerman’s mustache wouldn’t have made its way to the Smithsonian (it has to be there, right?). Christ Pratt may have never become the voice of Mario and Garfield.

Okay, it’s not all good stuff, but it was right not to cancel the show.