There is something quite romantic and sweet about falling in love with a small town like Pawnee, Indiana. This simple, yet devoted love brought all different kinds of folk to PaleyFest 2012 Tuesday night to hear the talented creators, writers, producers and limited cast spew jokes and good times about Parks and Recreation
Panelists include: Producer and Director Dean Holland; EP and Writer Dan Gore; Actor Jim O'Heir, who plays Jerry Gergich; Actress Retta, who plays Donna Meagle; Creator Mike Schur, Actor Chris Pratt who plays Andy Dwyer and bringing cardboard cut outs of Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, and Aubrey Plaza; and finally the great actress Amy Poehler, who plays Leslie Knoppe, bringing cutouts of Adam Scott and Rashida Jones.
The Knoppe Election for City Council
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"It's a real waterworks session for ole Poehler," says Amy Poehler over the season finale's electoral outcome.
Of course, if Leslie is elected, it has been hinted that she can stay at the Parks Department since the city council gig is only part-time.
Two endings of Leslie's speech were shot: one where she wins, the other where she loses. Only two dozen principal people know the real ending.
Except for Chris Pratt: "I don't need to know. Would Andy know?" Laughter erupts.
Expect to see Paul Rudd as Leslie's opponent Bobby Newport in the final episodes of the campaign and election!
Let's Talk About Love
"The Education of Leslie Knoppe" is an originally conceived title in which Leslie learns something every week; she was originally supposed to have multiple boyfriends throughout the course of the series.
"We brought in Adam Scott and thought we can't break them up," says Michael Schur, the Creator/EP on Leslie and Ben's relationship. Adds Poehler: "I think Ben is the love of Leslie's life." Of course, Amy Poehler cradles the cutout of Adam Scott like a baby and gives him a big smooch.
Speaking of relationships: Tom and Ann. Unlike the other 'soul-matey' relationships, this one is purely built out of a comedy.
A Dark Year? Hardly
Is this the year of spirals and the downtrodden? Ann, Chris and Ben are down on their luck. Really, it was used to emphasize that Leslie is there for every single person and all of them come to help her.
But Ben's initial rock bottom stage was completely centered on the writers' calzone infatuation: "the low cal calzone zone."
Chris will embrace his breakdown in the last four episodes of the season.
As for the rest of our lovable characters and crew:
Well Andy is "not getting smarter, he's maybe getting dumber, but he's learning and that's nice" says funnyman Chris Pratt. Fun fact: he does most of his own stunts and wanted to be a stuntman.
As for Jerry well, let's clear up the age. Jerry is 16, but has been alive for 64 years. Actor Jim O'Heir just turned 50. But the joke about a certain anatomical gift? Art imitating life.
The Ron Swanson cutout missing because Nick Offerman couldn't make it in time: the women who make Ron Swanson's life miserable should make another appearance next year.
Retta is the best crier on cue. She's also kind of amazing and hilarious during the panel.
Amy Poehler wrote and directed episode 20! She sought the advice of comedian Louis C.K ... but doesn't remember what he said.
Homages to the West Wing inspired by Bradley Whitford's appearance.
City council debate will feature three other candidates: Brandy Max, Enrico Dalarosso (an animal rights advocate), and Fester Trim (single issue gun advocate).
There's also the recount of a very intricate joke. The Philly Justice pilot made in 2003 with Poehler, Adam Scott, Paul Rudd and Rashida Jones is a long gag. Paul Rudd was replaced with Dylan McDermott. Adam Scott created a fake email account for McDermott, sending it to the other castmates and then responding with his own email address. Yeah. Also, while Paul Rudd was on set for Parks, the cast members would tease Rudd about being replaced and working on a play. According to Poehler, it was a promising show, on after Joan of Arcadia. Yeah. One detailed joke.
There is a Pawnee Bible of treats. The age of DVR makes all the devoted fans work harder.
The mood is set by the #1 person on the call sheet. Wonder who that is.
Oh, and a Season 5?! Producers are cautiously optimistic. That's a wrap y'all. New episodes premiere again on April 19.
Emily E. Steck
(Image courtesy of NBC)