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October 9, 2015

PaleyFest 2011: The 'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talk Romance, Charlie Sheen and the Return of Tammy

by Laura Prudom, posted Mar 10th 2011 12:00PM
Amy PoehlerRumors of Rob Lowe's career suicide have been greatly exaggerated, according to 'Parks and Recreation' executive producer Michael Schur.

Joined by every P&R star except Lowe (who was visiting colleges with his kids and thus couldn't make it to the panel, conspiracy theorists!), Schur used the forum of PaleyFest 2011 to dispel the histrionic online rumor that one of his series regulars would be abandoning ship to replace Charlie Sheen in 'Two and a Half Men'.

"He's a full-time cast member of the show, he has a very long multi-year contract. This is just a case of someone tossing a name up in the air, and then the Internet lit a match and set itself on fire," Schur reassured the full house of 'Parks and Rec' fans gathered to celebrate the NBC comedy, now entering its third season. TV Squad was on hand at the panel and the press line, so join us after the jump for interviews with the cast and details of what's to come for our favorite nutty government employees. Spoilers ahead.

We had the opportunity to speak to a number of the talented 'Parks and Rec' cast-members on the PaleyFest press line, including Chris Pratt (Andy), Aziz Ansari (Tom), Michael Schur (executive producer), Rashida Jones (Anne), Nick Offerman (Ron) and Amy Poehler (Leslie).

For hints on what the future holds for some of our favorite couples like Ben and Leslie, Andy and April and even ... (gasp!) Ron and Tammy, as well as Tom's new career aspirations and the possibility of a MouseRat tour, check out the video below!

Tammy Strikes Back
But how can P&R possibly hope to top the unabashed, corn-row-sporting, kimono-wearing hilarity of 'Ron and Tammy: Part Two'? "Full penetration," Nick Offerman drawled, when posed the question during the Paley panel. "There's only so much foreplay a fella can take." We can't blame him for being enthusiastic at the prospect of more Tammy, though, considering that the psychotic librarian is played by his real-life wife, Megan Mullally. "My wife is a comedy legend. When I'd go watch 'Will and Grace' being made, I'd have childish daydreams of, 'When I get old, I wanna work with my wife ... What a lucky bastard am I."

Leslie's Got Game?
It's no secret that Leslie has had "many suitors," (Poehler's words) but it doesn't usually take her quite so long to act on her impulses and make a move on the objects of her affection, as with her so-close-and-yet-so-far flirtation with Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider) and her romance with the amiable officer Dave Sanderson (Louis C.K.). But the chemistry that's been simmering between our deputy director and grumpy auditor Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) has gone largely unnoticed by Leslie up until now, since Schur pointed out that she's been "tunnel-visioned" about the upcoming Harvest Festival. Once that's out of the way, however, expect that simmer to heat up to a boil.

"They're very evenly matched," Poehler said of her character's burgeoning relationship with Ben. "Leslie's like a single mother and Pawnee is her kid. And if Ben starts to like my kid ... I'll have sex with him," she laughed.

Scott agreed that things were finally going to start progressing between the pair, but cautioned that their romance might be more of a "slow burn" than some fans would prefer. "The great thing about this show is that the writers aren't afraid to take their time," he told us on the press line. "So if something does happen, it might take a while -- but getting there is really hilarious."
Adam Scott
Fans of the couple (and Lowe's super-enthusiastic Chris) shouldn't worry about a break-up affecting Scott and Lowe's status on the show, either. "Chris and Ben, they're both here for good," Schur promised. "Chris -- Rob's character -- isn't in the seventh episode, the Harvest Festival, he was shooting a movie in Toronto, but he comes back in the eighth episode for the rest of the season and Ben is just in all the episodes. They both, in different ways, come to the decision that Pawnee is the place they want to be, and they end up staying."

Both Poehler and Schur attested that after the Harvest Festival, "Leslie's profile begins to increase," and she finally starts to gain a little respect (and a little celebrity status) in Pawnee -- we're glad to see her getting her due, but "with great power comes great responsibility," and we have a feeling that our heroine will be struggling with that responsibility for the rest of the season.

Loose Women?
While we're certain that getting dumped isn't something that the beautiful Rashida Jones has to worry about too often, her character, Anne, was kicked to the curb by Rob Lowe's perky Chris Traeger at the end of the last episode, and the experience was a rude awakening, to say the least.

"[After the break-up] she's like, 'let's do this,'" Jones admitted wryly. "She doesn't go crazy, it's kind of the opposite -- she just loosens up and stops trying to take everything so seriously."

"Anne turns into a real slut," Poehler cheerfully interjected. "A real slut. The next couple of episodes, I'm serious -- let's all live vicariously through Anne."

We hear that Anne will be taking the concept of a rebound to a whole new level, starting with a very unlikely match when the show returns on March 17.

Andy and Anne April
We don't know what it is about Andy and his fixation with girls whose names start with A, but after a long, dogged and, frankly, kind of impressive pursuit, April (Aubrey Plaza) has finally agreed to start dating everyone's favorite shoe-shiner, and they're every bit as adorable as you'd imagine.

"These are two pretty young people, and they're both kind of morons," Schur mused. "They're on a roller-coaster -- they like each other a lot, but they're both just hanging on to the outside." Look out for a very memorable (and quotable) moment between the pair in the upcoming Harvest Festival episode.

Paul SchneiderReturn of the Mark?
As Schur told us on the press line, despite their best efforts, the show was unable to bring back city planner Mark Brendanawicz this season, but he did promise that Paul Schneider would return next season, movie schedule willing.

Poehler mentioned that she'd also love to see Louis C.K. return, just to put Officer Sanderson and Ben in a room together for a meeting of the awkward minds. It was noted that we've yet to see a number of the characters' family members, which led to the announcement that April's equally awkward sister would reappear a couple of times before the end of the season, and (perhaps relatedly) we'll also be introduced to Andy's five brothers, all of whom are taller than he is.

That segued nicely into talk of the cast's dream guest stars; Ansari aimed high and shared his desire for Usher to be revealed as Tom's brother -- preferably making his grand entrance by being lowered dramatically in from the ceiling. When talk turned to the oft-mentioned but elusive Mayor Gunderson, Poehler admitted that she would love for Bill Murray to play the part. There was also talk of Jimmy Buffett being brought in to portray Leslie's father -- Schur revealed that there's still a note in the writer's room that simply reads 'Jimmy Buffett', since they're still aspiring towards him.

Parker Posey is also scheduled to make a guest appearance in an unspecified episode.

Tiger Blood
Perhaps the most bizarre portion of the evening came when Aubrey Plaza took the opportunity Aubrey Plazato send a message to Charlie Sheen via the Paley panel: "Charlie, I'm available for any f*cked up sh*t you want to get into," she announced with typical deadpan delivery. "I know you have a lot of people following you on Twitter and I'm one of them, so sift through those tweets and find me before I kill myself." And if all else fails, she's still crossing her fingers that he'll be cast as the Mayor of Pawnee -- take that, Bill Murray!

On the Bubble
After admirably making up for lost time in the hilarious second and third seasons after a tepid reaction to their freshman year, the 'Parks and Rec' team feel like they're just getting warmed up. Although the show isn't quite a ratings winner on the level of 'Modern Family,' Poehler is confident in their chances for renewal, and thanked the fans for their loyalty and enthusiasm, before predicting, "I think this is the beginning of us being around for a long time."

We certainly know better than to bet against Leslie Knope.

What are you most looking forward to seeing when 'Parks and Recreation' returns from its brief hiatus on March 17? Do you think April and Andy or Leslie and Ben can go the distance? Share your thoughts and predictions below!

More PaleyFest coverage:
PaleyFest 2011: 'The Walking Dead' Cast Talk Love Triangles, Action Figures and Season 2
PaleyFest 2011: The 'True Blood' Cast Talk Demon Babies, Witches and Season 4

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA.

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