Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Adam Scott) are taking the plunge on “Parks and Recreation“! It is a very quick decision, but since they have rented space for another event, Ben coaxes Leslie, saying, “Doesn’t it feel right?” and the two decide: Why not take their vows?
“Leslie can be supercilious and over plan and over do things, but she is a modern woman and she doesn’t have weird fantasies about weddings or marriage necessarily,” Poehler said in a call to promote the nuptials episode of “Parks and Recreation.” “It is a combination of her liking to be in control and, what is cool about that moment for both Ben and Leslie is they throw things up in the air… We get to see them [jump off a cliff] and it is less about the details of the wedding.”
That said, two hours isn’t a lot of time to put together such a special event, so even though the details aren’t the most important thing, there are tasks that need to get accomplished, which means just about the whole town gets involved — each person with his or her own job.
Tom Haverford [Aziz Ansari] is chosen to be the officiant and he rushes off to get ordained online in the allotted time; for the first time, Donna [Retta] will get to sing on the show and Retta was allowed to pick out the aria she performs for the bride and groom.
“The quest for wedding rings is one of the things that has to be taken care of,” says executive producer Mike Schur. “At one point, we did think about the [pin] box, which is a very special prop for us, but we came up with a different delivery mechanism for the rings. I would only say that everyone should be sure to watch all the way through the episode and the tag that occurs at the end because that tells the story of the ring. That is a key moment.”
With everyone rushing around to different locations to get the job done, there is a sense of urgency about the episode, but no one questions whether or not it is right for Leslie and Ben to get married.
When the series was created, the idea for Leslie was that she would have a series of relationships with different men over the course of the show and she would learn something different about herself from each of them. She learned a little something from Mark Brendanawicz [Paul Schneider], she learned something from Dave Sanderson [Louis C.K.] and she learned something different from Justin Anderson [Justin Theroux].
But Schur says there was a scene in the “Freddy Spaghetti” episode, where Ben looks at Leslie with a smile on his face as she walks away from him that let him know Ben was the one.
“As soon as I saw that, I realized not only were they going to get together, but they were never going to break up,” he says.
“It became very clear in that moment that this was it. It was that indescribable thing you can’t put your finger on but when you see two actors inhabiting roles and interacting with each other, it makes sense.”
One thing that Schur wants to reassure fans is that the marriage is not going to make the show jump the shark. This week, “Parks and Recreation” is running two, half-hour episodes back-to-back, starting at 8:30 with the wedding episode. But then at 9/8c, there is a second episode with the newlyweds just back from their honeymoon and they go right back to their regular lives.
“Ben is starting a new job,” Schur says. “It is his first day at work and he is thrown into this new challenge. Leslie has an event she is planning, so you will see right away there is a blueprint going forward: Yeah, they are married now but they also have other aspects of their life that is important to them. I feel that will keep it from feeling like ‘the magic is gone,’ because their lives have never been about each other. That is a huge part of their lives. They love each other, they have a great relationship, and, hopefully, a great marriage going forward, but there is a lot of other stuff going on.”
So break out the hankies for the wedding of Leslie and Ben, because Poehler cautions viewers who tune in: “Get ready to bawl your eyes out.”
“Parks and Recreation” throws a wedding on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.