Parks and Recreation Season 5 Interview: EP Mike Schur, Adam Scott and Amy Poehler Talk Leslie and Ben’s Wedding

Parks and Recreation - Season 5

Leslie and Ben finally tie the knot in Thursday’s first of the back-to-back Parks and Recreation episodes airing Thursday night, and TV Equals was happy to learn more about the wedding from showrunner Mike Schur and actors Adam Scott and Amy Poehler. Read below to see what you can look forward to.

Wedding details

The big question of the day is what the wedding will actually be like. Schur provided us with tons of info.

“There are a lot of details about the wedding…It’s kind of a big episode,” he said. “I’ll say that everybody has a job to fill…part of the fun of the episode is that the wedding was originally planned for May. At the black tie gala that happened in last week’s episode, they decided to do it that night, so they basically had two hours to throw it together. So, everybody has a role to play[.]”

“Tom Haverford [Aziz Ansari] becomes the officiant and ordained online in…an hour,” he said. “Donna [Rhetta] plays a role in that…for the first time, we’re going to feature her beautiful and professionally-trained singing voice on the show…We let her pick which aria she wanted to perform, so that was fun. What’s really nice about it is…in order to pull this off, in sort of Parks and Rec fashion, everyone has to chip in. There’s a part for everybody to play.”

A “satisfying” on-screen couple

Poehler said that one of the best things about being on a show like Parks and Recreation is that it didn’t fall into the conceit of the “Will they or won’t they?” game with Leslie and Ben.

“…[W]hat I love about Parks is that…if you care about this couple, you got to see over the past couple of years so much change happen with them and it’s really satisfying,” she said. “…I love that Parks continues to let characters change and actually have things happen to them…That part is satisfying.”

Maintaining comedic edge

One fear any television viewer has when two lead characters get married is if the magic of the show will be lost. Schur said that he doesn’t believe this will happen with Leslie and Ben.

“Part of the joy of the two characters is that they have very three-dimensional lives. They’re both very committed not only to each other but to their careers and their friends and just living a full life,”he said. “I think if there’s a trap you could fall into, you have to just tell the story repeatedly about their relationship and that can get kind of boring, but we don’t have that problem.”

“In fact, in the second episode [airing Thursday]…the cold open of that episode is Leslie and Ben coming back from their honeymoon and just talking about how much they they had on their honeymoon,” he added. “But the episode is just a regular episode of Parks and Rec and Leslie and Ben aren’t in the same story; Ben is starting a new job and it’s his first day of work…and Leslie has an event that she’s planning for, which is sort of like a correspondents’ dinner-type of event where the media and politicians roast each other. So, I think you’ll see right away that there’s a blueprint going forward…yeah, they’re married now, but they also other aspects of their lives that are very important to them.”

According to Schur, the magic will still be alive and well. “I hope and I very much feel like that will keep it from seeming like ‘the magic is gone’ because their lives have never been about each other,” he said. “That’s a huge part of their lives and they love each other. They have a wonderful relationship and, hopefully, a great marriage going forward, but there’s a lot of other stuff going on and I think you’ll see that in the 9:00 episode.”

Foreshadowing of Leslie and Ben’s relationship

Scott talked a bit about what he saw as the beginning of Ben and Leslie’s relationship.

“I recently went back and watched ‘The Master Plan,’ which is the first episode Rob Lowe and I were on and kind of looking…at our first couple of scenes together, it really speaks to the quality of writing on the show that there’s a lot of foreshadowing of their relationship,” he said. “[T]hese are two three-dimensional characters that really fit together and they see things in each other that no one else really sees and…hit these buttons with each other right off the bat. I think there’s more to it from the very start…instead of a simple ‘Will they or won’t they?’ device like that. So, I think that them being married now sort-of fits in naturally with that.”

The original plan

Schur said that while there was always the plan for Ben to be a love interest for Leslie, the idea of him being her husband came much later after seeing Scott and Poehler together.

“Well, certainly the plan was a love interest and a long-term love interest. Our initial idea for Leslie was that she was going to have a series of relationships with…different kinds of men over the course of the show and that she would…learn something different from each of them…It was certainly the plan to have [Adam] be the love interest, but what happened very quickly…[During ‘The Master Plan’] he’s just kind of got her number, he kind-of gets her, he knows what her goals are.”

Schur said the finale of that season, which had a shot of Leslie smiling at Ben (with Ben showing his excitement about it) is when he realized Ben was the one for Leslie.

“As soon as I saw that, I realized that not only are they going to get together, but that they’re never going to break up,” he said. “It became very clear in that moment that this was it…It’s that sort-of indescribable thing that you can’t really put your finger on, but when you see two actors inhabiting roles and interacting with each other, it just…makes sense.”

Not an old married couple

Poehler said that even though she and Scott are an on-screen married couple, their working relationship doesn’t resemble an old married couple.

“What’s so cool about getting to work with Adam…is that I’m always just surprised and I’m always challenged and it’s always really interesting,” she said. “It feels very alive, very young…We’ve been working together for a long time, but nothing about it feels old.”

Parks and Recreation back-to-back episodes “Leslie and Ben” and “Correspondents’ Lunch” air Thursday night starting at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.