The end is near for Pawnee! The cast of Parks and Recreation shared several fun tidbits during their 2015 Winter TCA Press Tour panel in Pasadena, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 16, even revealing how the beloved NBC comedy was originally supposed to end.
Parks and Recreation just kicked off its seventh and final season this week. Find out what Amy Poehler will miss most about her Leslie Knope days, if newly minted superstar Chris Pratt ever thought of exiting the show early, and more below:
1. Andy Dwyer for Mayor
Executive producer Mike Schur revealed that Pratt’s goofy, lovable character was originally going to end the show as mayor. “That’s what we thought. He was going to shine everyone’s shoes and everyone who meets him loves him, and that’s why we kept him doing that for a while,” he said. “And one point in season two or season three, we were like, ‘Andy’s going to be the mayor someday!'”
2. No Love for Cones of Dunshire
Poehler isn’t a fan of Cones of Dunshire, the fictional Dungeons and Dragons-like board game Adam Scott’s character Ben Wyatt created. “I hate Cones. It’s so confusing, it gives me headaches,” the Saturday Night Live alum said. “But it’s really cool that people are raising money for [a real version on Kickstarter]. It’s just that there’s so many rules!”
3. Ron Swanson Switcheroo!
Jim O’Heir, who plays hapless, picked-on Jerry Gergich, first auditioned for Nick Offerman’s Swanson role! “Seems crazy now. Nick Offerman, who else could have done it?” O’Heir said during the panel. The actor was eventually called back to play O’Heir and said taking it was a “no brainer.”
4. Dwyer’s First Home
Pratt’s favorite “Andy era” is when he lived in the dirt pit in the first season. “I love living in the pit,” he said. “That was awesome. Living in the pit was amazing and having dirt fights and rock fights with bums.” At one point, Andy would talk to gophers (or his “associates”), but the writers ended up cutting the scenes.
5. Jerry Jokes
It’s rare to watch a Parks and Recreation episode without seeing the characters bash O’Heir’s Jerry — and that’s just fine with him. “It’s been a really fun thing I’ve gotten to play. To be honest, I think some of the other characters have gotten more protective of Jerry than I have,” O’Heir said. “I remember an instance where Chris Pratt was like, ‘This might be too much.’ I’m like, ‘No. It’s awesome.’ Anytime they could sh-t on me, I was all on board.”
6. Small-Town Character Love
One of the highlights for Poehler is seeing how their comedy has reached younger fans. “I imagine when you have a 15 or 16-year-old child, it must be nice to find one thing that you agree on that’s funny. There’s a family element to the watching of the show that’s been really nice,” she said. “The characters are characters that the viewers have really grown to love and care about.”
7. “Treat Yo Self” Surprise
It was surprising to most of the cast how Donna Meagle’s catchphrase became a fan favorite. “‘Treat yo self’ still feels like it’s part of the vernacular and should be because everyone should treat themselves,” Poehler said. Retta, who plays Donna, added: “That sh-t blew up on Twitter.”
8. Pratt Packing Up?
Despite landing huge film roles in Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Jurassic World, Pratt never thought of leaving the show. “It never once occurred to me,” Anna Faris‘ husband said. “I would never f–king ever leave this show.”
9. Final Season Talk
Poehler and Schur knew the series was winding down by the middle of the sixth season. “We pretty quickly came to the same exact conclusions. I sort of pitched Amy — I usually start every year over the summer by pitching Amy the first half of the season,” Schur said. “Then somewhere in the middle of the year, I would pitch her the second half in a very rough outline.”
10. Knope Tears
What will Poehler miss most? Those Schur summer notes! “It’s truly the thing I’m going to miss,” she told the crowd. “I’m going to miss hearing what’s going to happen to Leslie next year.” An example? That time she found out Knope was going to run for office.
11. The Ending Will Satisfy Viewers
“There’s certain things that are going to happen this season that are going to be a lot more enjoyable for people who have been close watchers of the series,” Schur explained. “The goal is always to have the story stand on its own regardless of whether you’ve seen the show before, and hopefully we achieved that.”
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