Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza rarely watches her own show — "It's hard for me to step back and watch it objectively," she tells Yahoo TV — but she definitely understands why fans will be sorry to leave Pawnee's city limits when the series, which kicked off its final season last week, airs its last episode on Feb. 24. "I'm really excited for people to watch this last season, because we did so many crazy things in it. I am sad, though, because the fact that it's [airing] means that it's going to end."
But even as that end approaches, the actress isn't moping around like her alter ego, April; Plaza has a few movies in the works and has teamed up with Newcastle Brown Ale for a Super Bowl spot on game day. And while she's careful not to divulge what the future holds for the Parks and Rec crew, she is quick to reassure fans that Andy and April will still be going strong throughout the year 2017 and beyond. "I can tell you right now that Andy and April are always Andy and April. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised at how perfectly it's going to end."
The Parks and Rec cast spent their last day on set Tweeting their farewells. How were you feeling that final day?
The last day of shooting was really sad; it was just a bizarre feeling to have done something for seven years and then to have one day where you leave and don't come back. There's nothing that can help process that. It's just ripping the Band-Aid off — you pack up your trailer and drive away and don't come back. I feel so grateful to have had this experience, so it's sad to think that I'm not going to have to show up every day and be forced to work with those people.
Did you take any souvenirs from the set on your last day?
It's funny, I never even thought about doing that until people started asking me, and I was like, "I guess I should take something!" I took some Janet Snakehole props, and I stole a picture of one of the city council members off the wall in the government hall. And then just weird trinkets and stuff off April's desk.
This season takes place in the year 2017 — was it fun to live in the future or do you prefer the past?
It's fun [for the show] because it kind of allows the writers to just do anything with the characters and the world of Pawnee. But I prefer the past always, just because any movie without the Internet or cell phones is always better. Communication was just so much more interesting in those times, I think. I prefer less technology. But I'm doomed because I only move forward from here and not backwards.
Looking back on the show's past, April has arguably gone through the most significant evolution of any of the characters. At what point did you start to feel you really understood her?
It was a gradual process, because in the very beginning, I think none of us really knew our characters very well. That's what's cool about TV — you learn about your character as you're doing it. I think the Andy and April relationship was a really big moment for me. That helped me figure out what April's deal was, because if she's someone who will marry and love someone like him, that says a lot about who she is and why she does what she does. That was really a defining moment.
Do you have a favorite episode from your seven-year run?
I love the episodes where we're all involved in some kind of group activity — those make me so happy. The one that stands out is the one at the ice skating rink ["The Comeback Kid" from Season 4] where we're all trying to get Leslie up on that podium in the middle of the rink, and we've all done a horrible job helping her. The only one who did their job was Jerry, but that ends up backfiring. That episode makes me laugh a lot.
With Parks and Rec wrapped, any chance of a Grumpy Cat sequel?
We're going to do a sequel — not officially, but in my brain we will. I will make that happen. I'm hoping for a theatrical release. I had to do months of feline research [for that part]; I lived with Grumpy Cat, I studied her every move.
Tell us what you're doing with Newcastle Brown Ale for the Super Bowl.
I'm helping Newcastle basically beg other brands to join us to make a crowdfunded ad for the big game. If that's confusing to you, it should be! Basically, their idea is to make one ad with a bunch of other ads so that all the brands that can't afford to make a big game ad can afford to do that. I thought it was a really funny campaign idea, just ads on ads on ads in an endless loop.
Your former co-star Adam Scott does commercials for Smirnoff Vodka. Are you the most popular cast members to invite to parties, since you have access to free booze?
He does? I didn't know that! Wow, well now that I know that, he's my enemy. I think Newcastle's Brown Ale is probably cooler than vodka. But that's just me.
Parks and Recreation airs back-to-back on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.