Despite NBC’s late night situation last winter, ‘Parks & Recreation‘ helped keep the network’s Thursday nights filled with laughter. In addition to Amy Poehler, the sitcom helped launch co-star Aziz Ansari into comedy orbit. The big news: To get around Poehler’s pregnancy, the show has already taped a half dozen episodes for next season, but NBC announced it is not bringing the ‘Parks’ back until midseason in order to make room on the schedule for the new series, ‘Outsourced.’ Boo!
TIME’s James Poniwozik felt the same way, writing, “It makes little sense to make room in part by sidelining a comedy that improved meteorically in its second season. Whatever you think of 30 Rock, for instance, its audience (also a relatively small one) pretty much is what it is at this point, and it didn’t have much momentum to try to build on; it could easily have been moved to midseason instead, if anything had to be.”
With the season finale of ‘Parks’ airing this Thursday, Fancast.com got executive producer Mike Schur to answer a few questions about this season and deliver a few words about next.
What were the high points of the season? We had some amazing guest stars – Will Arnett, Megan Mullally, Fred Armisen, Justin Theroux, Andy Samberg, and Louis CK, to name just a few – which were all high points. My personal high point is just getting to work with our cast every day. There simply isn’t a funnier group of people on any TV show anywhere, and if you try to disagree with me I will fight you, physically. And I will get that superhuman strength people get when their loved ones are trapped under cars, and I will win the fight.
Do you have a favorite episode, line, or scene from this season? If so – what? The “Ron and Tammy” episode was a comedic favorite, and also went a long way towards advancing Ron and Leslie’s friendship, which has become a crucial element in the show. I also really loved “Sweetums,” where Leslie took on the evil candy corporation, and “Woman of the Year,” both of which were great ensemble showcases. My favorite single line, I think, was when Ron described sex with Tammy as “like taking peyote and sneezing, slowly, for six hours.”
Take us inside your approach to the finale, and what you wanted to accomplish. Well, obviously, we needed to wrap up and explain the mythology of the island, and we wanted to settle once and for all whether Kate ends up with Jack or Sawyer. We know that some people are going to be disappointed that we don’t explain everything — like the polar bears, or the significance of the numbers, or why Hurley didn’t lose weight — but we did our best.
[Real Answer] In the second-to-last episode, we introduced two new characters, played by Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, who are state auditors, coming to Pawnee to slash the budget. In the finale, Leslie tries to prove that the Parks and Rec department provides a valuable service and should be saved – she’s basically fighting for her (work) life. The general idea, of course, is just to make a great half-hour of TV, with juicy professional and personal cliffhangers. And I think we’ve done it – there are lots of great twists and turns.
Did anything disappoint you about this season? Anything you wish you could have done, but didn’t have the time, forethought or resources? Honestly, there isn’t. NBC has been incredibly supportive, creatively and financially, and I’m very proud of the entire season – I think the writers and cast have gone above and beyond.
What should fans look forward to next season? And if you haven’t gotten that far yet…what would your dream season be? We are already shooting season 3, because of Amy Poehler’s pregnancy, so we’ve got much of it mapped out. The department is forced to make-do with a greatly reduced budget, and Leslie comes up with a fairly risky way to try to stretch the money. And we follow a lot of romances, new and old. Also, some of those great guest stars may be back for a second go-around in Pawnee…
Watch the season finale of ‘Parks & Recreation’ Thursday, May 20, on NBC.