Treat Yo Self With These Surprising Facts About Parks And Recreation

entertainment | Rick Lax & Friends | 6/25/18

Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, the executive producers of The Office, set out to produce a spin-off from the world of Dunder Mifflin. At first, they strongly considered naming the show Public Service before switching to Parks and Recreation because they didn’t want to actually make fun of public service, but rather the characters involved.

The show was almost scrapped for good after the first season received negative reviews. Nevertheless, it emerged as one of the funniest sitcoms on NBC. The creators did their research when it came to creating the character of Ron Swanson, and it turns out J.J.’s diner does exist, but isn’t located where you might think it would be.

Pawnee Parks Is Based On New Zealand

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Christchurch, New Zealand, sounds like a fictional town. However, it’s the source of the map for Pawnee Parks. Take a close look at the Pawnee Parks Map.

It’s clear that it’s the same as the Christchurch map. The only difference is that it doesn’t have all the street names.

Ron Swanson’s Bobby Knight Poster Was Taken Down For Legal Reasons

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Photo Credit: Gary Mook/AllSport/Getty Images

Ron Swanson had a large poster of the former legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight. During the shows pilot episode, Swanson spoke fondly out the outspoken coach.

Due to “legal reasons” the poster was removed and replaced with a dark-haired woman eating breakfast food.

Octavia Spencer Was Almost Cast As Donna Meagle

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It’s hard to picture someone other than Retta playing Donna Meagle. Octavia Spencer was the only other actress considered for the role. Spencer even auditioned for the show before the executives went with Retta.

Despite the loss, the actress would go on to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help. Amy Poehler finally got her wish when a famous actor played the Mayor of Pawnee. Find out which Ghostbuster made the cameo shortly.

The Show Accurately Predicted The Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Win

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In a Season seven episode, Tom and Andy travel to Chicago to find Tom’s ex-girlfriend Lucy, in the spring of 2017. Lucy makes a comment about how people in Chicago are friendlier since the Cubs won the World Series.

Co-creator, Michael Schur, wrote the line into the episode as he believed the Cubs’ strong minor league system would make them contenders.

The Theme Song Was Selected Via Contest

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Photo Credit: @nbcparksandrec/Instagram

Broadcast Music Incorporated was the leader behind the awesome tune when the company sent out a mass email to composers.

The email indicated that the composers had five days to submit an entry. Of all the submissions entered, Gaby Moreno and Vincent Jones were the winners and walked away with $7,500.

Bill Murray Is The Mayor Of Pawnee

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Photo Credit: Mike Pont/Getty Images

For years, fans of the show were dying for a glimpse of Mayor Gunderson. In 2015, the former Saturday Night Live cast member guest-starred as Pawnee’s Mayor.

Early in the third season, another household name was tossed around for a bit — former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The birth of Ron Swanson came out of nowhere. Details behind his origins are coming up.

J.J.’s Diner Is In Atlanta And It’s Called The Landmark Jr. Diner

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Photo Credit: @ash.davis107/Instagram

Leslie Knope’s obsession with the waffles at J.J.’s Diner is easy to identify with. The outside of the fictional J.J.’s is located on Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta.

Just like Tom’s Restaurant on Seinfeld, Parks’ landmark didn’t have its exteriors shot on a studio lot. Unfortunately, those waffles don’t exist.

Chris Pratt And Aubrey Plaza Pretended They Were Stoned

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Photo Credit: @nbcparksandrec/Instagram

During an appearance on Doug Benson’s web series, Getting Doug With High, Aubrey Plaza revealed an acting tip.

While stoned, Plaza admitted, on occasion, that she and her TV husband Chris Pratt would get ready for a scene by imagining that their characters were high.

Ron Swanson Was Loosely Based On A Government Official

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Photo Credit: @nbcparksandrec/Instagram

Greg Daniels and Michael Schur brought up the potential humor in Leslie Knope’s boss being aint-government to a libertarian government official in Burbank, California.

The official said they could relate because they didn’t “really believe in the mission” of their job. Oh, the irony. Still on the way, guess how Aubrey Plaza earned her role after her meeting with Michael Schur.

There’s An Official Book About Pawnee

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Photo Credit: @parksandrecnbc/Twitter

Pawnee: The Greatest Town In America is a 256-page book. Published in 2011, the credited author is Leslie Knope herself.

It goes over the history of the fictional town and includes blurbs from some of the characters on the show. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

Jon Biden Was The Highlight Of Many Political Appearances

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Photo Credit: @nbcparksandrec/Instagram

Joe Biden’s appearance during the fifth season was rather interesting. The crew had to film multiple versions of his cameo.

Interesting enough, the scene was shot before the 2012 Presidential elections. They needed two shots if Biden and Obama won and one if they lost.

April Ludgate Was Written For Aubrey Plaza

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Photo Credit: @nbcparksandrec/Instagram

Casting director Allison Jones told Schur that she had just met the weirdest girl. A meeting between Plaza and Schurr made the co-creator really uncomfortable for an hour.

Schur hired Plaza, but Aziz Ansari and Rashida Jones were cast before they knew their roles or the writers. How exactly did Chris Pratt land a role on Parks and Rec? More on that later.

Leslie And Ron’s Kiss Was Too Gross For The Gag Reel

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Photo Credit: Jeff Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

Some people might not remember this, but Leslie and Ron actually kissed. The makeout scene is somewhat of a blur because it never made it to the gag reel.

Schur admitted that it was “super disgusting” to watch as it was left on the editing floor every year.

Offerman Is Very Skilled At The Saxophone

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Photo Credit: @nbcparksandrec/Instagram

No, it’s not just Duke Silver with the incredible saxophone skills. Offerman is actually quite talented on the sax.

The writers weren’t fully aware of the actor’s musical gift. They found out after they’d written about his character’s alter ego.

Chris Pratt Was Cast Thanks To His Role On The O.C.

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Photo Credit: NBCUniversal Television Distributor/MovieStillsDB.com

Pratt’s big break came when he played an activist named Che Cook on The O.C. Schur’s wife, J.J. Philbin, the daughter of Regis and Joy, recommended Pratt for the role of Andy Dwyer.

Her husband eventually hired the future movie star, and he ended up ad-libbing Schurr’s favorite improvised line of the entire series. “Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here and it says you could have network connectivity problems.” Just ahead, a late addition to the show become a permanent role for one actor.

NBC Got Away With Spoiling April & Andy’s Wedding

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Photo Credit: NBCUniversal Television Distributor/MovieStillsDB.com

The network ran an ad imploring viewers to check out April and Andy’s wedding registry online. The commercial was supposed to air after the episode, two months later.

The official explanation was that NBC screwed up and an oblivious employee mixed up the two couples.

Three Different Endings Were Shot For The Season Four Council Elections

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Photo Credit: NBCUniversal Television Distributor/MovieStillsDB.com

The fourth season focused on Leslie’s campaign for City Council. Three different endings were shot with Leslie losing, winning, or drawing with Bobby Newport.

The variety of scenes allowed the producers more time to make a big creative decision and avoid spoilers.

Rob Lowe Was Only Supposed To Appear For A Few Episodes

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Photo Credit: @nbcparksandrec/Instagram

Lowe’s role of Chris Traeger worked well enough for him to stick around for three and a half seasons.

Traeger was the Indiana state auditor sent down to Pawnee to help with their financial situation. Thanks to his role working out, Trager eventually became the town’s acting city manager.

Offerman Made The Entire Cast Pawnee Baseball Bats When The Show Wrapped Up

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Photo Credit: @Nick_Offerman/Twitter

Nick actually owns a woodshop where several scenes were filmed. He had to hire a manager to keep it maintained after he was cast in Parks and Recreation.

However, before the show wrapped up for good, Offerman made sure his castmates had something to remember.

Aziz Ansari Was Blackmailed By Amy Poehler

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Photo Credit: @nbcparksandrec/Instagram

While they were filming the first season, Aziz Ansari got stuck under a shelf in his trailer. For a cry for help, he emailed Amy Poehler from his phone.

Poehler helped him, but, not until after she had taken an incriminating photo of him being stuck.