SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been 10 years since “Parks and Recreation” first aired on NBC, gifting us with the quirky and caring Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the cynical Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and the rest of the endearing “Parks and Rec” crew.
This week, the entire cast came together at a PaleyFest panel to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show.
Let’s get started, shall we? #ParksAndRec #PaleyFest pic.twitter.com/buy7mOnDCV— Parks and Recreation (@parksandrec) March 22, 2019
Who was there: Patton Oswalt, a “Parks and Rec” fan who also appeared on the show at one point, hosted the event at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.
Oswalt was joined on stage by show creator Mike Schur and actors Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Retta and Jim O’Heir Thursday night, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Highlights: The cast reminisced about the show’s seven-season run, shared some behind-the-scenes moments and talked about the future of “Parks and Rec,” according to ET. They also taught us a few things we didn’t know about the show.
Here are some of the highlights.
Some of the characters on the show are apparently pretty true-to-life.
According to Schur, the Venn diagram between character and actor “isn’t a complete circle, but they’re pretty close” for many on the cast.
Schur spoke about meeting with Rob Lowe for the first time to discuss the possibility of him joining “Parks and Rec” as well as discuss his involvement with the purchase of the entertainment company Miramax, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“Rob says, ‘I’ll tell you the story, I was literally on a yacht…’ Before that sentence, Chris Traeger didn’t exist,” Schur said. “Then he said, ‘I was literally on a yacht’ and my mind went blank and then after that, that was who Chris Traeger was.”
Lowe responded, “I always wondered how much of Chris was me and how much of Chris was Mike.”
When Lowe eventually left the show, he was gifted with the writer’s notes from that first meeting with Schur.
“It literally… there I go… it says, ‘He says literally all the time’,” Lowe said.
Nick Offerman also resembles his character Ron Swanson, who was initially based on a female libertarian who worked for the government in Burbank, California, according to ET.
In a very Swanson-esque manner, Offerman at one point sent his castmates canoe paddles carved from wooden doors the actor took from the set and stamped with the Pawnee seal, according to ET.
Rashida Jones and Amy Poehler teared up while talking about their on-screen friendship, which was originally planned to be the central focus of the show and mirrors their real-life friendship as well, according to ET.
After Jones described her character as “OK,” Poehler was quick to say in Leslie Knope style: “If I ever hear you talk that way about Ann again... Ann’s perfect."
Do you have a favorite nickname for Ann? #ParksAndRec #PaleyFest pic.twitter.com/rxWGMiIQRD— Parks and Recreation (@parksandrec) March 22, 2019
Poehler later said of her character, “Leslie was really good for my physical and mental health. It really did extend my life, I think.”
Adam Scott joked that he still doesn’t get Li’l Sebastian, but that he’s adopted his character’s love for “Game of Thrones.”
“After mentioning it a couple of times on the show, I started watching it,” Scott said, “and I could not be more into ‘Game of Thrones.’”
Chris Pratt said, “My relationship with the FBI in real life is legit,” nodding to his character Andy Dwyer’s alter-ego Burt Macklin. “Especially now I think they’re just really happy to have someone in the zeitgeist that’s like, ‘I love the FBI.’”
Apparently, the FBI has sent Pratt care packages, according to EW.
Retta O’Heir wore a dress with her character’s iconic line “Treat Yo’Self” emblazoned on it.
It’s all in the details! 💕😍 #ParksAndRec #PaleyFest pic.twitter.com/zPlZfuvSLN— Parks and Recreation (@parksandrec) March 22, 2019
O’Heir arrived at the panel wearing a pink dress with Donna Meagle’s inspiring slogan, “Treat yo’self,” but apparently, she’s not necessarily in love with the phrase.
"Try walking into Target and seeing 'Treat Yo' Self' everywhere!" she said with a laugh. "It's obnoxious."
Aziz Ansari thinks his character totally would have been behind the Fyre Fest disaster in 2017.
“It’s literally Entertainment 720,” Ansari said of the Fyre Festival, referencing the short-lived business his character Tom cooks up with Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz) in the show. “Tom and Jean-Ralphio were definitely buddies with (Fyre mastermind) Billy McFarland.”
Schur added, “They could have gotten Ja Rule.”
Ansari added that the “Parks and Rec” universe could also have been behind other scandals in the news. “The other day I was reading about the college admissions scandal and I was like, 'that is some Eagleton sh– right there.'”
The cast is not stoked about how the show appears to have predicted elements of the 2016 election.
In one episode of the show, Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd), an unqualified, wealthy candidate for city council who gets as far as he does by nepotism, nearly beats Leslie Knope in the election. Some of the cast compared the moment to the 2016 election.
“If only we had Bobby Newport at the helm,” Poehler said, adding that she often thinks of her character as “the Spider-Man of public service.”
“We’re looking up to the sky, saying, ‘Where are you?’” Poehler said. “We need her now.”
Offerman noted that the only positive prediction from the “Parks and Rec” universe seems to be the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.
In behind-the-scenes video for the show, Chris Pratt predicted he’d star in “Jurassic Park 4.”
Pratt shared a story of how early on in the filming of “Parks and Rec,” he was asked to make a behind-the-scenes video. In the video, he pretends to have gotten a text from Steven Spielberg, ending the video by saying he’ll get back to Spielberg about “Jurassic Park 4,” which at that point, wasn’t even on the periphery.
“It’s not crazy,” Poehler said of the moment. “It’s the secret, you can manifest anything.”
Amy Poehler and Adam Scott wanted Ben and Leslie to be together as much as fans did.
On the day of Ben Wyatt’s marriage proposal to Leslie Knope, Poehler and Scott apparently had real butterflies of their own, according to ET.
"We were nervous," Poehler joked. "We stayed away from each other on set."
Scott said he remembered talking with Poehler before the season Ben and Leslie married about how much the two of them wanted Ben and Leslie to get married.
Jim O’Heir gave a shoutout to his character Jerry, who was frequently the butt of everyone’s jokes on the show.
"Sometimes I think 'WWJD' — what would Jerry do? ... If the world was full of Jerrys, it would be a better place," Jim O’Heir said.
A “Parks and Rec” reboot or movie will probably never happen.
On a sadder note for some “Parks and Rec” fans, the cast says we probably shouldn’t get our hopes up for a “Parks and Rec” reboot.
“I think that in the world we live in now, nothing is ever gone; everything comes back and is cycled through again,” Schur said. “Part of what I felt personally is that the show had an argument to make. … I don’t feel like we left anything on the table. I feel like the show sort of made its argument.”
“Parks and Recreation” ran for seven seasons and ended in 2015.