emmys 2012

Showrunner Survey: Mike Schur of Parks and Rec

Actress Amy Poehler (L) and writer Michael Schur attend the 2012 Writers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on February 19, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Vulture’s Showrunner Survey has made it all the way to Pawnee and into the hands of founding father Michael Schur. The man behind what some of us are very certain was the best season finale for any comedy show this season decided to tweak some of our questions, refusing to pick just one TV character to resurrect and patiently explaining why the crossover episodes we pine for are probably a thing of the past. We’re comfortable with his edits, however, and not at all surprised by his Game of Thrones shout-out.

What’s the first TV show you remember being obsessed with?
The first one I loved was The Dukes of Hazzard. The first one I was obsessed with was Twin Peaks.

True or false: When I was growing up, the day the TV Guide “Fall Preview” issue came out was almost as good as the last day of school.
False. I wasn’t locked into TV culture to that extent. (We didn’t even have cable growing up.) I just liked the shows I liked.

Which show would you like to do a crossover event with and why?
I don’t think crossover events can really work anymore — at least in the way they used to. TV viewers are too savvy and too particular about the shows they love; any invasion of one show into another show just screws everything up for both shows. Obviously there are exceptions, especially in the procedural drama world. But comedy crossovers might be a thing of the past. All that being said, I would like to do a 40-episode-long crossover with Game of Thrones.  

If you could bring back any killed-off TV character for just one more episode, who would it be?
Ned Stark. Gus Fring. Coach, from Cheers. Mags Bennett. Christopher Moltisanti. Stringer Bell. (That was your question, right? Name six killed-off characters I’d bring back? Great.)

Do time slots still matter? Explain.
I think that if the show is lucky enough to follow Modern Family, or Idol, it gets a huge “time slot sampling” benefit. But for most shows, I think long-term success depends more on marketing (and quality) than time slot. 

Pick one character from your show; which reality show would (s)he be most suited for, and why?
I don’t really watch any reality shows. I’m going to guess that Ron Swanson would do okay in some of those survivalist dealies.

Which character do you wish you had created?
Sam Malone. Tony Soprano. Carmela Soprano. Mary Richards. Prop Joe. Lisa Simpson. Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Special Agent Dale Cooper. Audrey Horne. (That’s what you asked, right? Which nine characters do I wish I had created? Great.)  

What was the biggest creative misstep you ever saw made by a show you love?
Knowing how hard it is to create compelling, dynamic television every week for years at a time, the thought of publicly crapping on any show I love seems like a callous mistake.

If you could let your kids watch a single episode of your work, which one would it be and why?
We did an episode last year called “The Comeback Kid,” which involved a lengthy sequence of people slipping on ice. My kids are 4 and 2 — they’d probably like that. Or I’d just show them Finding Nemo and tell them I wrote it.

Which writers’ room in all of TV history would you most like to have gotten to sit in on?

Finish this sentence: The hardest thing to pull off on a TV show is …

Showrunner Survey: Mike Schur of Parks and Rec