If the filled-to-the-gills Dolby Theatre in Hollywood was a test audience tonight, then the signs were pretty obvious that Parks and Recreation fans want Leslie Knope back in office once again.
A few weeks ago at the Captain Marvel world premiere at the venue, there were cheers obviously from the office: it’s an industry event. But tonight the roar of Parks and Rec fans was deafening, moving the NBC comedy series star Amy Poehler to hold back her tears. “I’m totally overwhelmed,” said the actress.
So darn it, when is Parks and Rec coming back?
Before the event, Poehler said, “When Michael Schur is tech available” given his current dance card on TV.
“I mean, We need our captain, for sure,” said Poehler
“I have no idea where I’d want it (the series) to go, we would do what we usually do: blow out the formula, do nothing that works — put us in space,” said Poehler, “This is why I’m not the one with the ideas”
Poehler told us back at TCA last summer that she was “tech available” for a reunion and that she texts with the cast frequently. She was serious because tonight, the entire cast showed up despite massively increased levels of fame (Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World star Chris Pratt, and Sundance star and producer Aubrey Plaza) or previously reported scandal (Aziz Ansari), as well as Jim O’Heir, Retta, Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, and Adam Scott.
Patton Oswalt, who was moderating his second Parks and Rec session at the PaleyFest, suggested a movie to Schur in light of how HBO was rebooting Deadwood.
“We’d only do it if there was something compelling,” said Schur wiping his brow, mentioning that if “anyone onstage said ‘No’, we wouldn’t do (a reunion).”
“I would never say never,” said Schur about a possible TV reunion in the future.
For Schur, Parks and Rec was about positivity, public service, not being cynical, believing in one’s power. Knope continues to influence people. Poehler mentioned how during the LA Teacher’s Strike, she passed a teacher who was carrying a Knope poster at a rally.
“I don’t feel like we left anything on the table, the show made its argument,” said Schur.
Speculating where April Ludgate’s storyline would pic up, Aubrey Plaza quipped to Deadline, “I mean, she’d probably have ten children, a houseful of children. Because I know Andy and April aren’t going to stop. And they don’t use protection. They don’t know where to get it. They’ll probably have a lot of children. I feel like she’s the breadwinner, she’s wearing $3,000 suits while Andy makes pancakes.”
Parks and Rec lasted seven seasons on NBC, and 136 episodes, ending its run on Feb. 24, 2015. In the series send-off, there were hologram tablets and pop-up wrist communicators from 2023, spaceflights and a funeral scene from 2048 that suggested Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope or Adam Scott’s Ben Wyatt had a political future at the very top.
“We thought we were getting canceled all the time,” said Schur tonight. When Greg Daniels and Schur created the show, it was to do a public sector version of The Office.
“If this lasts for a while, it could be a whole world,” said Schur who said building Parks and Rec reminded of what The Simpsons pulled off. “I never imagined we’d go for seven years.”