Ask any fan of “Parks and Recreation” to name their top five favourite scenes and surely, one of the following will rank among them.
Season 5, Episode 505 “Halloween Surprise“: Where Ben proposes to Leslie.
Season 5, Episode 514 “Leslie and Ben“: Where the couple say their marriage vows.
Critics regard these two scenes as some of the sweetest, most romantic moments in television history. They perfectly encapsulate Leslie’s quirks, Ben’s sincerity, and the powerful magic of spontaneity in a relationship.
(You can watch the scenes below.)
In Amy Poehler’s new book “Yes Please,” the leading lady reveals the heartbreaking event that led to the writing of those two scenes.
Season 5 kicks off with Leslie visiting Washington, D.C., where Ben set up a surprise-meeting with her ultimate crush, Vice President Joe Biden.
The cast and crew, including the show’s creator and head writer Michael Schur, filmed the scene with Biden in his ceremonial office on the grounds of the White House. Poehler says he charmed them all, and didn’t even flinch when her character leaned in for a kiss.
As they were walking out of the building, the high from their brush with the VP came crashing to a halt. The cast and crew learned that their show, which had been talked about as a front-runner for winning the Emmy for Best Comedy, didn’t even get nominated.
Schur, who cut his teeth in the writing room of 30 Rockefeller Center and went on to write and produce the American reboot of “The Office,” didn’t let the snub get him down. Instead, he turned to his peers and announced, “I am going to go write the scene where Ben proposes to Leslie.”
He went back to his hotel room and wrote the script for these …
Watch Ben pop the question.
And see Ben and Leslie tie the knot.
In a recent interview with Yahoo! TV, Schur says he wrote both scenes under the impression that the show would be cancelled. That is why they offer so much closure.
Schur admitted to having written five or six series finales over the course of seven seasons — one for each time “Parks and Recreation” wasn’t guaranteed a renewal. “We did it midway through Season 5, and then again at the end of Season 5,” Schur says. Then, “we got our back-nine order, so we just kept going.”
Still, the feeling of impending doom spawned TV-marital-bliss.
“Do you see what kind of maniac I am working with here?” Poehler teases in her memoir. “I have been shoulder to shoulder with a wonderful writer and excellent boss who loves big emotion as much as I do. Nightmare!”
The real “Parks and Recreation” series finale is Tuesday, February 24. You bet we can expect more happy endings from the old sap, Schur.
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