There’s only one condition under which a Parks and Recreation reboot or revival could ever happen: creators Mike Schur and Greg Daniels as well as every single one of the main castmembers who were present at the tenth anniversary reunion PaleyFest panel on Thursday night — Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Jim O’Heir and Rob Lowe — all agreed that there was a good enough idea to make it happen.
“Everyone on this stage — and like six other people — would have to feel like there was a story that needed to be told,” Schur said on the panel.
While he hasn’t ruled anything out, he felt like the show succeeded in its mission.
“The show had an argument to make,” Schur said. “The argument was about teamwork and friendship and positivity, being optimistic and not getting cynical and believing that people can do good and believing in the power of public service and believing that if you work hard and you put your head down and believe in the people around you who are part of your team, that good things are possible. That you’ll achieve the things you want to achieve, and I don’t feel like we left anything on the table. I feel like the show sort of made its argument. And we also — maybe this was like a preventative measure or something — we did jump ahead to the year, like, 2074.”
Before the panel, Poehler told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet that she was 100 percent in if Schur had an idea he thought would work.
“I am so not cool, so from minute one I’ve been like I’m down. Tell me where to go, I’ll clear my schedule,” she said. “I mean, Mike Schur currently produces and writes on, I think, 14 shows, so it’ll really be whenever he is ‘tech avail,’ as we like to say in the biz. But yeah, I’m ready.”
Offerman also said he’d be available under the same conditions.
“Oh, sure. I’ll do anything Parks and Rec as long as the brass is behind it,” he told THR. “I mean, the gifts that that show is brought to me I’m still collecting every day, and I don’t imagine I’ll ever feel that I’ve fully repaid them.”
Plaza, who had previously told THR it felt “too soon” for a reboot, but she’d “do anything with those people,” said on the carpet, “It’s hard to recreate magic, [so] not yet. But I want to be around [the cast] all the time. They’re the best. I never have had more fun in my life. They’re my family.”
Parks and Recreation ran for seven seasons from 2009 to 2015, ending with a finale that flashed forward to show the characters’ fates at different points in the future. Andy and April became parents, Donna and her husband set up a non-profit, Tom became a best-selling author, Ron became a superintendent for the National Park Service, and Leslie and Ben were shown in a future scene accompanied by secret service agents (but their exact ending was purposefully left ambiguous).
The sold-out crowd at the PaleyFest reunion cheered enthusiastically for every castmember — as well as actor Jay Jackson, who appeared in character as Perd Hapley to introduce the panel, and Patton Oswalt, who played a Pawnee resident throughout the show’s run and moderated the discussion.
From the cast entrances — which saw a running gag involving the actors knocking over Oswalt’s moderator chair (first by Plaza, batting it over like a cat, then by Pratt, who barreled into it like a puppy as he ran onto the stage, then by Offerman, who gently tapped it, then by Scott, who gently placed it on its side), then no chair for O’Heir (dammit, Jerry!) — the evening was full of running gags and a true appreciation by the cast for the devotion of their fans.
Poehler was brought to tears during her first answer, saying “I’m totally overwhelmed” as the crowd cheered.
The discussion spanned plenty of topics, including the show’s eerily prescient predictions (like Paul Rudd’s Bobby Newport character’s political aspirations and the Fyre Festival disaster, which was reminiscent of something Ansari’s Tom Haverford and Ben Schwartz’s Jean-Ralphio would’ve done at their Entertainment 720 company).
There’s also plenty of topical material to mine.
“I was reading about the college admission scandal and I was like, ‘That’s some Eagleton shit,” cracked Ansari.
Schur said the best episode the show ever did was the season three episode “The Fight,” which included iconic moments like Ron Swanson dancing while drunk on Snakejuice, and Andy and April dressed up as FBI agents Burt Macklin and Janet Snakehole. Poehler wrote and directed the episode, which Offerman said made the whole thing funnier since the cast would just do things to make Poehler laugh.
The chance to do that again isn’t completely out of the question, but it would require every single person to say yes.
“There was nothing I loved more than working on this show. It felt like the most important thing that I would ever do,” Schur said. “I would never ever, ever say never. I mean, the chance to do it again, should it arise, would be incredible, but I think we’d only do it if we all felt like there was some compelling reason to do it.”