Dump that skim milk and grab the waffles because Parks and Recreation finally has a recap podcast. “Parks and Recollection” is the definitive podcast about the comedy series that changed the course of television history. Hosts Rob Lowe and writer/director of the show Alan Yang are going in with all sorts of scalpels, lancets, and maybe some forceps to see how this show turned into such a phenomenon.
Yang kickstarts the pilot episode with some background information on the creation and casting of the show. The show’s two creators, Michael Schur and Greg Daniels, had previously been writing for The Office when NBC requested a spin-off. After endless drafts and rewrites, those plans were abandoned after Amy Poehler agreed to play the lead. Poehler’s comedic talents ended up helping create a perky, mid-level bureaucrat who was easy to root for and even easier to cringe at. Besides her obvious talent boosting the show’s popularity, Poehler was one of the first female leads in a comedy series ever, breaking through the boys club of comedy television.
Despite the show forming around Poehler, Yang tells us that Rashida Jones (Ann Perkins) and Aziz Ansari (Tom Haverford) were the first two actors cast, and ultimately ended up playing two of the characters that changed most drastically. With Lowe joining the cast in the second season, he comments his shock that Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins were not yet friends in the pilot and Ansari is so calm it’s almost like he’s medicated.
The two continue through the pilot, describing the life cycle of Jerry and Donna, who were originally only cast as extras to fill the office space, and answering why Ron Swanson is in a suit. Yang goes on about what a character-driven show Parks and Recreation was, with the actors being the ones to flesh out their characters’ personalities with bits of their own.
From Stitcher and Team Coco, “Parks and Recollection” is turning out to be an interesting look into the creation of an award-winning show, along with script writing, an evolving comedic rhythm, and the winds of change that come with a seven season show. Lowe and Yang promise a wide array of guests from the cast and crew, and we can only hope that Nick Offerman shows up with a large plate of various smoked meats.
Check out the pilot episode of “Parks and Recollection” and rewatch the iconic show with two of the people who know it best.