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Parks and Recreation at PaleyFest

March 10, 2012

So no one’s really talking about Parks and Recreation at Paleyfest anymore since it was five days ago, but I’m just getting around to talking about it now. I have something called a life, people, god.

On Thursday night NBC aired the last episode of Parks and Rec before the show goes on hiatus for a little while (I cried a little – OK a lot – but tearlessly). Here’s one reason to look forward to its return: on top of portraying one of the funniest, genuinely real female characters on television today, Amy Poehler has written and directed an episode!

Image credit: NBC

Amy, Chris Pratt, Retta and Jim O’Heir were the only actors that could make it to Paleyfest on Tuesday night. The other actors were there in spirit – and as lively cardboard cutouts. But it was still a very warm and funny conversation.

I’ve always appreciated the patience of the writing in Parks and Rec. Series creators Mike Schur and Greg Daniels talked about when they chose to bring Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) together. Although it was always inevitable that they would get together, the writers paced it brilliantly and let the characters’ relationship naturally develop before throwing them in bed together. True love.

In another example of well thought out timing, Mike talked about how they decided to have Leslie run for office this season. They had plans for her to run as late as season 5, but they felt that it fit better to do it now. So far it’s turned out to be a great decision.

One of the storylines that’s holding my attention the most is sad, pathetic Chris Traeger. Rob Lowe‘s character is literally the most positive, gung-ho character on a TV show, ever. But since he’s been dumped by Millicent and wtinessed the unlikely pairing of his ex, Ann, with Tom, he’s been going through a bit of a tailspin. Seeing Chris sad is probably the most depressing thing to watch – maybe not the most depressing, starving children probably beats it, but it’s still a very close second.

Turns out some of my favorite lines from the show were improvised like this gem from Andy when Leslie has the flu: “I typed your symptoms into the Internet and it says you have network connectivity problems.” Classic Andy.

I look forward to your return, P&R (April 19). Also, I’d like to see some more of Philly Justice, starring Amy, Adam, Rashida Jones, Kathryn Hahn and Dylan McDermott (Paul Rudd was replaced). It looks like it was an amazing show.

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