As “Parks and Recreation” fans mourn the end of an era, it seems the cast may be struggling most of allin coming to terms with the final episodes.
The show’s Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, and Jim O’Heir (yes, even Jerry) are as close in real life as the fictional government employees they play.
Last year, both Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman published memoirs — “Yes Please” and “Paddle Your Own Canoe,” respectively — in which the stars recounted their favourite and most emotional memories from behind the scenes of the show.
Here are nine of our favourite stories from the set of “Parks and Recreation”:
1. Before landing their roles as Ron Swanson and Ben Wyatt, respectively, Nick Offerman and Adam Scott both audioned for the part of Ann’s love interest, named Josh.
When Nick Offerman arrived for his audition, reading lines opposite Rashida Jones, he knew he was screwed. “I thought, ‘Oh great. Me and Adam Scott up for the guy who gets to kiss Rashida,'” Offerman jokes. “‘He’s devilishly handsome and charming and funny. … Even I — even my mum — would cast him over me.'”
2. The crew always left time for “fun runs,” or improvised last takes that rarely made it on air.
After the last take, the actors tried out all the brilliant lines they had been thinking about for the whole scene. “Ninety-nine per cent of the time these scenes were longer and less funny than what was written,” Amy Poehler says. “But it made the actors feel funny. It kept the crew laughing and on their toes.”
3. Amy Poehler’s kids gave Aziz Ansari the nickname “turkey sandwich.”
“I think it’s because he was eating a turkey sandwich once?” Amy Poehler says. “Either way they think he is hilarious.”
The cast also calls Rob Lowe “RoLo.”
4. Vice President Joe Biden was a comedy pro.
Season 5 kicked off with Leslie Knope meeting her ultimate crush, Vice President Joe Biden. The cast and crew filmed the scene in Biden’s ceremonial office on the White House grounds.
“He was charming and funny and a true pro — he didn’t even flinch when Leslie slightly leaned in for a kiss,” Amy Poehler says. “That’s some old-school improv commitment right there.”
5. Each and every cast member made the other laugh endlessly
One of the greatest rewards of the show, Offerman writes, is “watching Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza stare each other down like two beautiful gladiators in a battle of mighty comedy wills.”
Amy Poehler says one of the hardest times she laughed on set was when Jim O’Heir’s character Jerry suffered a “fart attack” in Season 5, Episode 5 “Halloween Surprise.” “Jim played it so real,” she says.
6. Chris Pratt was not that different from his goofball character, Andy Dwyer.
In Season 5, Episode 10 “Two Parties,” the boys of the show went to a freaky aroma bar called Essence, where every cocktail came in some crazy form, like a mist or a lotion. Andy Dwyer ordered a “beer,” which the waiter presented as a sphere of cotton candy.
“Pratt proceeded to sculpt a vagina (very masterfully; he’s a talented visual artist with an apparently intimate knowledge of the female genitalia) in his cotton candy,” Offerman says. “He then proceeded to subtly display his cotton candy vagina to us … as we all tried to maintain a straight face because we were on camera performing our scenes.”
7. A lot of bacon was consumed on set.
“This acting job has put more bacon in my belly than an entire butcher shop,” Offerman says. “It has caused more Lagavulin whiskey to course through my veins than any well-stocked public house.”
8. The cast took care of each other on- and off-set.
In her book, Amy Poehler describes how fluid their friendships were. She and Rashida Jones would sit on a fake apartment set, figuring out a problem, and then proceed to divulge about their real lives in their trailers.
When Poehler was going through her divorce to actor Will Arnett and was sad about coming back to LA, Aubrey Plaza surprised her by showing up at the airport dressed as an alien. True friendship.
9. Adam Scott expertly flirted with a very hormonal women.
When Adam Scott eventually landed the role of Leslie Knope’s love interest, Ben Wyatt, he arrived on set just as Amy Poehler was pregnant with her second child.
“If you have any doubt as to what a great actor Adam Scott is, go back and watch him join a show and immediately figure out how to flirt with a tired pregnant lady,” Poehler says “It’s not easy.”
She adds, he also “always has fresh breath for kissing scenes and a very dry sense of humour.”
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