PARKS AND RECREATION Season 2 Finale Recap and Q&A

PARKS AND RECREATION

Last night, I got the opportunity to attend a panel for PARKS AND RECREATION where press and fans were treated to a screening of the season 2 finale “Freddie Spaghetti” (airs tonight, Thursday May 20th at 8:30 PM on NBC) and an hour long Q&A session with the cast and creators moderated by SNL’s Seth Meyers.

Season 2 Finale Recap (no major spoilers revealed)

In “Freddie Spaghetti” the budget crisis has hit the Parks and Rec department jeopardizing a childrens concert. Nick stands up for Leslie when it matters and Mark makes a major life decision. Also, Andy has a streak of mixed luck in life and love. Oh, and here’s one thing Rob Lowe wants you all to know, at some point in “Freddie Spaghetti” you’ll see Rob’s character in the background doing chin-ups. Although you can’t make out his face, that was really him doing all those chin-ups. He did like a 1,000 of them for the scene he’ll have you know.

I think fans will be pleased with “Freddie Spaghetti”. It’s packed with laughs and it also leaves a couple questions unanswered that season 3 will have to address. Be sure to check out the season finale of Parks and Recreations tonight May 20th at 8:30 PM!

Q&A Session Recap (be advised that some quotes are paraphrased).

Seth Meyers was the moderator for a panel discussion with the show’s creators and writers (Greg Daniels and Michael Schur) as well as the following cast members:

Amy Poehler (Leslie Knope)
Rashida Jones (Ann Perkins)
Paul Schneider (Mark Brendanawicz)
Aziz Ansari (Tom Haveford)
Nick Offerman (Rob Swanson)
Chris Pratt (Andy Dwyer)
Aubrey Plaza (April Ludgate)
Jim O’Heir (Jerry Gergich)
Retta Sirleaf (Donna)
Adam Scott (Ben)
Rob Lowe (Chris Traeger)

The cast was great and answered not only questions from Seth but a good amount from fans as well. BTW, props to Parks and Recs for holding a contest prior to the event to allow their fans to be at the panel. Unlike some other panels I’ve attended, the fans tonight asked some wonderfully insightful questions which made for some fun Q&A. What I thought was hilarious was how some of the cast came across as exactly like their characters. Aburey was surly and detached yet managed to be likeable, Chris was cute, loveable, and came off as slightly dumb, and Nick talked about bacon.

Seth Meyers: How did the show come together?

Michael Schur: We knew we wanted to build a show using Amy. When we first discussed the show we thought the main character would be a man, but when we decided it would be a female Amy was our first choice.

Seth Meyers: Chris, what’s it like playing Andy this season? I feel like last season he was very pessimistic and this season he’s very much a ‘yes-man’.

Chris Pratt:…honestly I’m just like really struggling to memorize my lines [crowd laughs]. I’m actually wearing my costume right now, we were just shooting and I didn’t have time to change, so I’m just like trying to take things one day at a time.

Seth Meyers: What’s your favorite, douche-iest quote from Tom?

Aziz Ansari: Wow, there are so many. I spend a lot of time off camera trying to visualize Tom’s likes and dislikes. For example, I imagine that he buys all his clothes from Brooks Brothers Boys. I make references to that on camera constantly, and it finally made it on camera. Also, I think he’s a huge fan of Jamie Foxx. I always try to throw a Jamie Foxx reference in, but it always gets cut. I was happy to see the finale when they left the Jamie Foxx bit in. Oh, and I also think Tom drinks muscle milk.

Seth Meyers: Nick, whats your favorite part about playing Rob Swanson?

Nick Offerman: The bacon

Michael Schur: As creators, we write Rob as our polar opposite. We think of all the things we would never do and then we make Rob do them. Like going to a strip club and only looking at the food. I can’t grow a mustache, but Rob has one.

Seth Meyers: Rachinda, you and Amy are friends in real life as well. What’s the difference between being friends in real life and friends on TV?

Rashida Jones: Sometimes we’ll have long conversations on camera about life, love, boys, etc. Intimate conversations that never make it on camera. Although, Amy is a better listener than Leslie

Seth Meyers: Aubrey, are you having fun so far?

Aubrey Plaza: No.

Seth Meyers: Adam, what was it like to join the show late?

Adam Scott: It’s great. I’ve earned none of this. Everybody here has been so sweet and supportive (except Aubrey) [everyone laughs]

Seth Meyers: Retta, what do you know about Donna that we don’t?

Retta Sirleaf: She’s a double D and she lives beyond her means. She has credit card debt. She’s also a dirty freak.

Seth Meyers: Amy, who on the cast always breaks up their lines?

Amy Poehler: Aziz laughs at his own jokes. Aziz ruins his own takes the most by laughing at his own jokes. [everyone laughs]

Aziz Ansari: [laughing] The toughest times for me is when Nick breaks. When the puppy chewed his mustache…man that was way hard.

Seth Meyers: What did they put in your mustache to make the dog go for it?

Nick Offerman: Beef and turkey baby food [collective groan from crowd].

Fan Question: NBC used to be known more for romantic comedy shows that featured a lot of white people hooking up. Nowadays NBC seems to have more diverse casts and workplace dramas, what caused the shift?

Seth Meyers: Wait, we are asking intelligent questions now? I wish I would have known and I would have asked the same question.

Greg Daniels: 90% of what we do in the writing room is the same as what was done 20 years ago with Cheers. All that is different is the pace, the editing, and the mockumentary style.

Fan Question: What’s is like acting in an mockumentary versus a regular sitcom?

Jim O’Heir: Normally you have to hit your mark. I just shot an episode of Castle, and it was like, I always had to be on my mark. This is much easier.

Aubrey Plaza: Also, I just shot a movie and I looked at the camera the whole time.

Fan Question: Why did you guys decide to do mockumentary style?

Michael Schur: It’s a great way to do comedy. It allows you to improv, like Jim was saying, the actors don’t have to be so concerned about hitting their mark, it’s a lot more fun. On a regular show you spend so much time on lighting and cameras. Doing the same scene for 3 hours, taking a one hour break, and then shooting the same thing from a different angle. Mockumentary is more fast paced and much more close to what we were used to on SNL.

Here are some additional fun facts that came from the panel: Creator Michael Schur and Rachida Jones were friends in college. Michael Schur plays Mose in The Office. Rob Lowe will be in at least the first 6 episode of Season 3.

That’s all I’ve got folks. Thanks to all the kind folks at Parks and Recs for hosting the event and don’t forget to watch the season finale tonight, Thursday, May 20th at 8:30 PM on NBC!