Parks and Recreation Boss Mike Schur on Ben and Leslie's Unconventional Wedding
Adam Scott and Amy Poehler | Photo Credits: Tyler Golden/NBC
And although we're as excited as when The Office's Jim and Pam said "I do" — twice — we're a little worried about how the Parks and Recreation power couple will get their wedding together in a mere two hours after deciding to get hitched at the black tie gala to raise money for their park project. Will everything come together in time? TVGuide.com caught up with executive producer Mike Schur to find out about Thursday's eventful back-to-back episodes (airing 8:30/7:30c and 9/8c on NBC). Plus: Will Leslie finally get to build her park?
Why the decision to go with an impromptu wedding?
Mike Schur: I fully believe that at this point in history after, I don't know, 65 years of sitcoms, that the only real weapon that you have as a writer/producer of a TV show is surprise. We always had this plan. Andy (Chris Pratt) and April (Aubrey Plaza) got married with no warning at all. They'd been dating for three weeks, and we didn't want to do the same thing, so what we did is we had Ben propose and then we did a lot of the stories that you normally associate with an engagement. They had bachelor parties and they chose the caterer and then we sneak-attacked everybody. It was really just to try to do something surprising that would catch people off-guard so we starting having them talk about how their wedding date was May 16 and my hope was that savvy TV viewers would go, "Oh that must be the season finale!" and then that was all set up to try to just sneak-attack people in February.
What snags will they hit on the way to actually getting down the aisle?
Schur: There's a lot of them. They have about two hours until they're supposed to get married from in the opening moments of the episode. It's a nice Parks and Rec moment because Leslie and Ben say, "We're going to get married!" and everyone unquestioningly just goes, "All right, what do we do, how can we help?" Everyone rushes around and they have a lot of stuff to do. They have to get a marriage license signed. Marriage licenses in Indiana — we looked it up — I think are only good for like 60 days so they'd have to do that, and they have to get rings, and Leslie's dress isn't finished and they need someone to be the officiant. What usually takes people six months or a year to plan, they have about two hours to do it, so there are a number of snags including some very unexpected and surprising ones that occur which I won't give away.
What was behind having some of these bigger moments play out, like having Ron (Nick Offerman) walk her down the aisle?
Schur: We just sat down and said, "OK, if they were going to get married and here are their eight closest friends, who would do what?" The roles very naturally emerged. Ron walking Leslie down the aisle is something that we have been talking about for a long time. There's a Leslie/Ron scene in the episode where the two of them are talking and walking her down the aisle is the subject that's up for discussion. I think it's my favorite Leslie/Ron scene maybe that we've ever done, and it is yet another example of the fact that Amy Poehler has never won an Emmy and Nick Offerman has never even been nominated for an Emmy is one of the more absurd aspects of the entertainment culture in America in 2013. By the way, I don't want to say what it is, but Ron also performs two other extremely important tasks in the episode which are surprises.