15 things we learned from the 'Parks and Recreation' PaleyFest panel
Patton singled out the scene where Ben proposes to Leslie, pointing out that the Onion's A/V Club picked it as the scene of the year, and he asked them about the shooting of the scene. In particular, he was curious if they improvised as much in that moment as they do in many of the big comedy beats, and Poehler said they basically shot what was on the page. She called the day of the shoot "very special," and then Adam Scott described the mood on-set.
"We knew it was coming, but in the days and weeks before it, we didn't talk much about it. Then on the actual day, we stayed in different parts of the house until it was time. We both had some very real nervous energy. Schur talked very quietly when he came on the set, which is not our way."
Amy added, "There are so many moments on this show that are seared into my mind that I will think about when I am hopefully an old woman by the sea. And so many of them come out of the highs and lows of doing something like this. I remember that we were walking up these steps to do a scene with Joe Biden, and we had just found out we didn't get nominated for an Emmy. That's when Schur said, 'I'm going to go home and write the proposal scene,' and that got our energy right back up again."
5) Ron and Leslie were designed to be your mom and dad.
While Amy described Ron and Leslie as having a "Mary and Lou Grant" relationship, Mike Schur had a different tension in mind when he created the characters. "There's an old adage that when people want a dad they vote Republican, and when they want a mom they vote Democrat. Republicans are all about money and Democrats are, like, poor people should have food and stuff like that. From the beginning, the main conception was there would be a mom and a dad in the office, but a stern and loving dad and a loving mom and that they were not romantic options for each other. We took that off the table right away."
Amy started laughing and added, "I will say that every year for the gag reel, we do a scene where Ron and Leslie make out."
She laughed even harder as Mike followed up, "And I never put it on the gag reel because it's too disturbing. It's like watching your parents go at it really hard."
Schur sees the differences between Leslie and Ron as very important. "I think the cynicism in government now is worse than it's ever been, and we wanted to show how these people can have totally different opinions and still get along. They couldn't be more opposite, but they like each other fundamentally and care for each other. We thought it was going to be a background thing, but it very quickly became the center of the show. When she's spiraling, he puts his hand on her back and calms her down. When he's being a grump, she's the one who reminds him that these are his friends and he has to treat them better."
6) No one saw April and Andy's relationship coming.
Well, almost no one. According to Aubrey, "I saw it. In a dream. In a fiery nightmare."
Pratt said he was surprised by it, but that he never tries to suggest storylines or character ideas. "I don't talk to them about anything. That doesn't mean I don't inform them. I do it by singing and dancing and telling jokes, and they study me wearing lab coats and write things down and go back to the lab. We look back now and it seems so intentional, and the story has worked so well, but it's only looking back. Looking forward, it was these guys, being willing to write and re-write and polish and keep moving forward. When we did the hunting episode, I was so bummed because I was stuck in the office, and I'm the only real hunter in the cast. But April and I were both stuck in the office, and we had this magical day doing bits, and Greg Daniels directed the episode. He saw what was happening between them."