Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wedding Bells Are Ringing on Parks and Recreation

 Photo by Danny Feld/NBC 

TV fans were stunned a couple of weeks ago when the eternally optimistic career girl Leslie Knope accepted Ben Wyatt’s proposal on Parks and Recreation. While the series’ creators had always planned on Leslie bouncing from one not-so-great boyfriend, the introduction of her soul mate could not be denied. In a recent conference call interview stars Amy Poehler and Adam Scott joined Executive Producer Michael Schur to talk about the impending nuptials.

Amy admitted that she was brought to tears of joy for Leslie when she read the engagement script. She recalled what touched her most about the pivotal moment, “I loved that the scene is about everything to come. It's an empty room, which can be depressing in some respects for some people, but in this context it was all about [possibility], that nothing had filled that room. That room was empty and open and ready to be filled with the future.”

The Emmy-nominated actress continued, “It was really cool that Dean Holland, our Director, and Mike Schur picked that. It happened in front of the fireplace of the empty room, which is just really nice because it was warm. I just loved that Leslie looked around to see what was around here and there was just this big empty room, which was like basically the idea. It's basically what happens when you're thinking about committing to someone. The future seems really wide and open and clean and so that ended up being what it was and I thought it was perfect.”

Still the magic moment almost didn’t play out the way viewers saw it. Mike recounted, “The original idea was that he was going to sing ‘It's Not Unusual’ by Tom Jones next to a white tiger.” But despite the fact that Adam was lobbying for that option, the production team decided to make the moment “classier and quieter,” throwing in a quip that they couldn’t get the rights to the song or the tiger.

Scott countered, “Mike, I told you I had a firm connection to both of those things I totally could have made it happen.” To which the E.P. replied, “If showing me pictures on the Internet of Siegfried and Roy's Vegas show does not mean you have a firm connection to anything.”

There was one aspect of the proposal that seemed a no brainer to all that know the show well. Parks and Rec devotes who were watching closely most likely recognized the box that Ben used to carry Leslie’s ring. Mike confirmed, “It's the box that Ben put the Knope 2012 pin in and that Leslie then returned to him with the Washington Monument figurine in in the Season 4 finale. It's a very important box.” Amy laughingly added, “At the end of the show then we're all going to jump into the box and then fly away.” Adam chimed in, “The box is a time machine.”

Until then, there’s most likely to be a wedding to plan. Although Mike wasn’t willing to confirm that a ceremony is going to take place. He noted, “Not saying that there is going to be a wedding or anything, but the whole idea of her character is that she will walk to the end of the earth for her friends. So she is not a person who is going to make it all about her.”

Amy agreed, “No matter what, Leslie will involve and include everyone in her plans all the time. This engagement will be said of everybody's engagement.” Scott jokingly added that this is “America's engagement.”

As a result, viewers shouldn’t expect any cartoonish representation of a wife-to-be. As Mike revealed, “Bridezilla implies that it's a person who is incredibly self-centered and who wants to make everything all about her. One of the main characteristics of Leslie as a character is that she is very other-directed and she cares very deeply about her friends and the people who are around her. And that she would want her wedding to be as much a celebration of the people that she's friends with and the town, that she's in as she would making it about herself.”

Besides Amy and Adam’s alter egos have a few other issues to work through. As Poehler commented, “Leslie and Ben handle distance and jobs and what comes next. The balance of what's going on in their professional life and their personal life. That's a lot of the stuff that's coming up in the short-term.

One way or the other, the concept of the big even will be bandied about the Parks Department for a while. Schur revealed, “I don't think that them getting married or getting engaged changes that much about the way that the show is. It's just official now and we get to do stories about them planning a wedding and intertwining their lives officially in what that means for them and how it affects other people. But I don't think there's any massive sea change in the way that the show functions.”

Tune in to Parks and Recreation on Thursday nights at 9:30 p.m. EST/8:30 p.m. Central on NBC.

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