Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage.
NBC’s quirky comedy Parks And Recreation, which just wrapped production on its fourth season over the weekend, shot two versions of the season finale. It is not a case of the producers prepping both a season and a series finale as NBC is yet to make a renewal decision on the comedy starring Amy Poehler but a creative decision tied to this season’s story arc. A major focus of the ongoing season of Parks and Recreation has been the city council campaign of Leslie Knope (Poehler), a deliberate parallel to the presidential election year. At tonight’s PaleyFest panel featuring cast members and producers of the show, co-creator/executive producer Michael Schur revealed that the production team shot two versions of the season finale: In one, Leslie wins the election. In the other, she loses.
It was partly “in case we changed our minds,” and partly to throw outsiders “off the scent.” Schur said, adding that there were some 200 baffled extras on the set who were told to whoop it up to celebrate Leslie’s win, then change the mood when “we did the same scene but she lost.” Schur confirmed that the season will not end it a cliffhanger, but he would not reveal which scene will air. “No one outside the production really knows,” he said. Poehler added that both the acceptance speech and the concession speech were touching for her and “brought on the waterworks” because “both ended the same way, thanking everyone for their hard work.”