The Parks and Recreation writers' room is haunted by an underappreciated MTV reality show from 2010. According to Alan Sepinwall's extended look behind the scenes of the show, the Parks writers have been trying to come up with a story line about a "Challenge Day" for quite a while — since Paul Schneider was still on the show, and Leslie and Ann were still sort of fighting over Mark. Challenge Days are deeply familiar to fans of MTV's documentary series If You Really Knew Me, which followed team-building and secret-sharing days at various cliquey high schools. (Think trust-fall scene from Mean Girls, except really intense and earnest.) "We would send rooms of people to work on [the story]," showrunner Mike Schur says, "and they would come back and be frustrated and annoyed. For whatever reason, we can't break it." It's still a fun idea, though, to think of Leslie and Ann trying to help teenage girls with self-esteem and communication skills, so Schur et al. haven't completely removed it from the index-card wall of possible stories ... though maybe they should. "[As] a joke, we put the Challenge Day index card way up in a corner of the room, way up above a door, very far away from the other index cards that haven't caused us misery and agony," Schur says. "The funny thing was, the office painted in the summer, and they took all the cards down, and after they painted the walls, they put the Challenge Day card back up where it had been. It was like somehow they wanted to taunt us too. If they had left it down, the nightmare would have been over, but instead, it's back up on the wall, still taunting us." Other story lines in the works: Leslie gets blackmailed, the weird Pawnee cult returns, and, most charming, Leslie builds the smallest park in Indiana. [What's Alan Watching/Hit Fix Part I and Part II]
Most Viewed Stories
Every Will Ferrell Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
The 13 Most Ignorant Quotes From That Awful Deadline Article
Chelsea Handler Claims Cosby Tried to ‘Cosby’ Her
Rihanna’s New Song Is Ratchet Heaven
Downton Abbey Is Officially Ending Next Season, But Will Anyone Actually End Up Happy?
Cate Blanchett Turns Cinderella Junket Interview Into a Debaucherous Free-for-All
‘The Arrangements’ Is the Quintessential Mad Men Episode
Mariel Hemingway Says Woody Allen Tried to Seduce Her at 18
Shonda Rhimes (and Everyone Else) Hated That Deadline Story on Diversity
How the Smash–Bombshell Concert Became the Most Successful Theater Kickstarter Campaign Ever
Latest News from VultureKendrick Lamar Tops Billboard Chart With First No. 1 Album Featuring 'Pimp' in its Name
The more you know.Coach Is Coming Back to NBC With Craig T. Nelson
It's a sequel, not a reboot.Julia Louis-Dreyfus Might Be in a Force Majeure Remake
She would also produce, because she's a boss.This Bird Is Pissed Off at Will Ferrell and Conan O'Brien Absolutely Loves It
What does this have to do with Get Hard? Well, there's a dick joke.Producers Who Brought Us Bad Oscars Are Definitely Not Returning
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's contract was up anyway.Barack Obama, Wire Superfan, Interviewed David Simon
Thanks, Obama.Benedict Cumberbatch Reads a Poem to Honor King Richard III, of Course
For the reburial of King Richard III.20 Years Later, We Might Finally Know Why Axl Rose and Slash Hate Each Other — and It Involves Michael Jackson!
We might finally have some answers.Who’s the Funniest Sterling Cooper Employee?
"The answer is always Roger Sterling."John Slattery Was Supposed to Be on Empire
But he "let that ship sail."
"Someone figured out how to set a fire through the internet."Run the Jewels’ New Video Beautifully Exposes the ‘Futility’ of Police Brutality
"This video represents the futile and exhausting existence of a purgatory-like law enforcement system."You Have to Watch the Unusual Trailer for Sundance Sensation Dope
This might be the most creative teaser released all year.Rihanna’s New Song Is Ratchet Heaven
"Bitch Better Have My Money" is here!Taraji P. Henson Is Finally Bringing Cookie to Saturday Night Live! (Or So We Hope)
Get ready for more Cookie!Downton Abbey Is Officially Ending Next Season, But Will Anyone Actually End Up Happy?
Time to start kidding ourselves about a happy ending for Edith.Brian Wilson on His New Album and Biopic
No Pier Pressure is out April 7.What Happens in New York After Midnight? Jerry Seinfeld, Ann Magnuson, and More Share Their Memories
To Jerry Seinfeld, Ann Magnuson, and more.Cate Blanchett Turns Cinderella Junket Interview Into a Debaucherous Free-for-All
"That's your fucking question?"‘The Arrangements’ Is the Quintessential Mad Men Episode
Season three's "The Arrangements."
All the feels.Every Will Ferrell Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
Which movie best captures the Will Ferrell Experience?X-Men: Apocalypse Casts Its Jubilee; No Word on Her Yellow Trench Coat
Lana Condor will play the ’80s-est mutant.The Reason the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Worked Won’t Be Around for the Sequels
Those "exciting challenges" just became too much.Arrow Recap: Say Yes to the Mess
It’s not easy loving a vigilante.The Americans Recap: Revenge of the Mail Robot
The robot attack becomes a major plot point, and Philip finally identifies his problem: Gabriel's face.Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young Is a Long Anticlimax
He gets hold of a good satirical premise and does halfway well by it, maybe even two-thirds.Naomi Watts on Her 3 Toughest Scenes in While We’re Young
In Noah Baumbach’s new comedy, she moves fluidly between playing the straight woman to a manic Ben Stiller and battling her own character’s midlife crisis.Chelsea Handler Claims Cosby Tried to ‘Cosby’ Her
Yeah, his last name is really a verb now.Will Ferrell Nails the Star Trek Theme on James Corden’s Late Late Show
Vibrato at its finest.
Are you very happy right meow?Mitt Romney Shows He’s President of Self-Deprecation on Fallon
He let Jimmy imitate him.Mariel Hemingway Says Woody Allen Tried to Seduce Her at 18
In her forthcoming memoir, Out Came the Sun.Kevin Hart, Will Ferrell Address Claims That Get Hard Is Racist and Homophobic
"Funny is funny."Rihanna’s New Single, Bitch Better Have My Money, Is Coming Tomorrow
It looks like this.Bloodline Recap: Go Fish
A very stressful 57 minutes.In the Future, All Movies Will Be Lego Movies
The Billion Brick Race will be the fourth Lego Movie sequel or spinoff.Will Girls Run the World on Game of Thrones This Season?
Could the War of Five Kings turn into the War of Five Queens?Why Looking Was an Enormous Missed Opportunity
Where was the support when the show really needed it?Steven Spielberg to Make Every Gamer’s Fantasy Come to Life by Directing Ready Player One Adaptation
Every gamer's wet dream.
In the long-shelved A Star Is Born remake.Want to Read 16,000 More Words About Lost? Then You Should Read This Exhaustive History by One of Its Writers
Including the ultimate answer to the question, "Were you making it up as you went along?"J.K. Rowling Tweeted the Best Clapback to a Homophobic Fan
Maybe this will teach fans to stop questioning her about Dumbledore's sexuality.Chris Messina on Making His Directorial Debut and The Mindy Project's Unsure Future
"I have done a lot of dumb things, but that was pretty much the No. 1 dumbest thing I have ever done."Tink’s New Video Has a Message for All the Ratchets: ‘Do Better!’
Listen to her preach.What Rookie Shows Were Good This Season? Your Pressing TV Questions, Answered
Plus: What's a good show that'll make you cry?Did You Catch These 14 Hidden Kroll Show Jokes?
A guide from Nick Kroll, himself.Will Klingon Makeup Force Idris Elba to Be Not Sexy for the First Time Ever?
Star Trek 3.HBO’s Looking Is Canceled
But they'll end the show with a special.The Cover for Harper Lee’s New Book Will Hopefully Make All Those Complicated Feelings Go Away
Go Set a Watchman is coming in July.