If you watched last night’s “Parks and Recreation,” then you already know that something pretty major happened. Really major. Major enough that I now have to do this.
Please note the ALL CAPS as well as the bold-faced letters.
If you DVR’d and don’t want the surprise of “Halloween Surprise” spoiled for you, then proceed no further. But if you already know what happened in Pawnee this week, then please read on as Amy Poehler, Adam Scott and “Parks and Rec” executive producer Mike Schur discuss the big development.
Of course that big development is that Ben Wyatt finally got down on one knee and proposed to Leslie Knope in the family room of a house in which the two will eventually live.
It was an extremely emotional moment, played through tear-filled eyes by both Scott and Poehler and, most likely, watched by many fans through tear-filled eyes as well.
“When I read that scene, I cried because I was so happy that I had my job at ‘Parks’ and that I got to do that scene with Adam and that Mike Schur wrote it, because I knew it would be great,” Poehler said today during a conference call with reporters. “And it’s very rare as an actor when you know it’s going to be great. You can just kind of see it.”
“We of course are well aware that these are fictional characters that we’re playing on television,” Scott said. “But we also want them to be happy and want them to be all right. We all care about them. I can say, speaking for myself, that I care about them quite deeply. Knowing the scene was coming, I was maybe a little nervous about it but mostly really happy.”
Schur said the plans for a Leslie and Ben engagement were laid before production on the fifth season began. Schur wrote the proposal scene in July, while the “Parks and Rec” cast and crew were in Washington shooting footage for the D.C.-centric season premiere.
“We wanted Ben to do a good job in Washington, and what that meant was that he was going to get an opportunity to keep going at that job, with Jen Barkley. ... So then it became an issue of, so what causes a guy whose career is moving in this really cool direction to come back to tiny Pawnee, Indiana?” Schur said. “There’s only one thing that would do that and that’s Leslie.”
“I loved that the scene is about everything to come,” Poehler said of the “Will you marry me?” moment. “It’s an empty room, which can be depressing in some respects for some people. In this context, it’s all about possibility.”
“The original, original idea was that he was going to sing ‘It’s Not Unusual’ by Tom Jones next to a white tiger,” Schur quipped about the proposal.
“Which I was lobbying for,” Scott added.
Schur: “Yeah ... then we kind of scaled it back. We decided, let’s make it a little classier and kind of quieter.”
Other notable matters addressed during the conference call:
— Bringing Jerry’s “fart attack” to fruition was apparently really serious business. “We probably spent 10 to 12 person hours working on the farts,” Schur said. “The sound of them, the volume, the style. ... You only get to do a fart attack once and you want to make sure you get it exactly right.”
—The box that held Leslie’s engagement ring is indeed the same box in which Ben placed the Knope 2012 button and in which Leslie placed the Washington Monument figurine she gave to Ben in last season’s finale.
— Poehler suggested that other people in the “Parks and Rec” department will have issues with the engagement. “Everyone is reacting to it in different ways and being included in different ways,” she said. (Translation: Tom is going to be super-mad if they don’t let him DJ the wedding. No one said that during this conversation, but that seems inevitable.)
— It’s unclear whether there will be a wedding this season or not. When asked about that, Schur said, “I don’t want to give anything away at all. I will say that what we want to do, I think the essential element of comedy and just good story-telling in general, is surprise, whether it’s comedy or drama. I would like to believe the path we’re choosing to take would be surprising but also satisfying to people.”
—As previously announced, next week’s episode will introduce America to Ben Wyatt’s parents, played by Glenne Headley and Jonathan Banks (aka Mike from “Breaking Bad”). Also: Jean-Ralphio is back! Let’s hope he gets to put his wedding-speech skills to good use again.