Pasadena, Calif. — The series finale of NBC’s Parks and Recreation will stay true to the show, said Mike Schur.
“It’s less of a question of trying to guess what an audience is going to like and more a question of trying to honor the characters, the show and the plot lines,” said Schur Friday during the TCA winter press tour.
Part of that authenticity will be Easter eggs hidden throughout the season.
“There are certain things that are going to happen this season that are going to be a lot more enjoyable to people who have been close watchers of the series,” said Schur. “But what’s important is to kind of keep those things in the margins a little bit and make them more Easter eggy and little hidden treats.”
Schur was joined on stage by stars Jim O’Heir, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, Amy Poehler, Adam Scott and Retta.
“One of the greatest things about this to me is that what a crazy lottery ticket this cast was. From moment one,” said Schur, explaining that a goal of the show was to create a good funny half-hour of TV.
Pratt, whose fame has skyrocketed since the show, says the cast and crew played a big part in him staying with the series.
“I’ve been doing this business for 15 years, and I realize the things that really matter about what you’re doing, for me at least, is just the relationships you have while you’re doing it,” said Pratt.
“I don’t care how much money someone would offer me or what I would be offered I wouldn’t abandon ship,” he added.
Other highlights from the panel included:
—Schur said that he and Poehler decided a seventh season was a good place to end Parks and Rec during the middle of the sixth season. Knowing at the outset season seven would be their last made it easier. “We had the luxury of going into this season knowing it was the final season and having the whole thing laid out in front of us,” said Schur.
He also revealed that while he hasn’t edited the finale yet that “the last moments of the show are everybody in the same place at the same time.”
Fun related fact: Early on in the series, the plan for the ending was to have Pratt’s character become the mayor.
—Jim O’Heir, who plays Jerry, said that he originally auditioned for Ron Swanson, which went to Nick Offerman.
—Schur was asked about the changing landscape of TV. “The thing that makes me personally happy is that I feel like because of the way that things have gone shows like this show will have a very long tail,” he said. “They’re out there on people’s computers forever, theoretically.”
—Pratt’s character evolved quite a bit during the series and he was asked what was his favorite part. “I loved living in the pit,” he said, adding that he got to get dirty and do his own stunts into it.
—Schur fielded a question about whether he had seen the show influence local government. He said that he hoped viewers took away two things from the show.
1) “The idea of community is important and I think it’s harder and harder to remember that as days go on.”
2) Constructive dialogue is very important in places with opposing viewpoints.
—NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt chimed in at the end of the panel, saying that he hopes the actors from Parks and Rec will come back to NBC. “We would love to work with all of you and put your shows on our network in the future and hopefully we will find ways to do that.”