One of the statements that “Parks and Rec” creator, Michael Shur, made about the show during this week’s PaleyFest panel was, “We hate stasis. That’s a big thing on our show.” Ironic about a show that comes from the same creators of “The Office,” a show that’s been on for eight season, and has even gone through management upheaval at the Dunder Mifflin Office, but whose characters remain in an almost paralytic state of stasis, save for the dumbing down of Jim and Pam. “Parks and Rec,” however, has avoided regression, except for Jerry, of course. That poor guy can never catch a break.
Among the revelations at the panel, as reported by EW, is that two endings were filmed for this year’s season (and possibly series) finale.
“We shot two endings, partly to hedge our bets in case we changed our minds and partly to throw snoopy-snoopers off.” Added Pohler: “I won’t tell you because I know. It was really touching and moving to do both the acceptance and concession speeches as Leslie. Acceptance and concession speeches are the same until the end.” How many people know the ending? “The people on this stage and about a dozen more,” Schur said. Pratt corrected him, though: “I was there, but I don’t know. I don’t need to know! Would Andy know?”
What else did we learn?
Jean-Ralphio will probably make another appearance this season; Paul Rudd will return in April for the debate (where we learn there are also three other candidates in the race); The Tammys won’t be back this season; Mike O’Malley and Bradley Whitford will have guest spots, and the latter will have a “West Wing” style walk-and-talk scene; and Rob Lowe’s character will suffer a major downward spiral at the end of the season. Michael Schur also noted that Ben and Leslie are together for the long haul. “We can’t break them up now, for God’s sake,” he said.
Also no word yet on whether “Parks and Rec” will be picked up for next year. However, it is NBC, and low-ratings or not, a fifth season would get them into good syndication money, so I expect that it will come back — at the very least, as a mid-season replacement — unless NBC has an extraordinarily great pilot season. Chris Pratt also noted that, if they get a fifth season, he will coax his wife, Anna Faris, into appearing on the show.
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