put a ring on it

The Story Behind the Parks and Recreation Proposal

Photo: NBC

You’re not alone. Amy Poehler also wept when she found out that  Leslie was going to get the Best. Proposal. Ever. “When I read that scene, I cried,” the Parks and Recreation star told reporters during a conference call Friday morning. “I was so happy that I had my job on Parks and that I got to do that scene with Adam and that [Parks boss] Mike Schur wrote it, because I knew it would be great.” 

To recap: In last night’s episode, “Halloween Surprise,” Ben got an offer to work on another congressional campaign in Florida, but he instead went home to Pawnee, to the empty house he and Leslie were about to move into, and popped the big question. “This was a really big deal for all of us,” Adam Scott said. “We are, of course, all aware these are fictional characters, but we want them to be happy and all right. We all care about them. Speaking for myself, I care about them quite deeply.” Poehler especially liked Leslie’s initial reaction, wanting to remember the moment, looking all around their empty place. She said it’s how a proposal really feels. “The future seems really wide and open and clean.”

Although, “the original idea was that [Ben] was going to sing ‘It’s Not Unusual’ next to a white tiger,” Schur said. “We scaled back. ‘Let’s make it classier and quieter.’”

The writers had actually decided that Ben and Leslie would get engaged before filming on season five even began. “We knew we wanted Ben to do a good job in Washington, and what that meant was that he was going to get an opportunity to keep going,” Schur said. “Then it became an issue: What causes a guy whose career is moving in this cool direction to come back to teeny Pawnee, Indiana? There’s only one thing that would do that, and that’s Leslie.” All together now: Awwwww. And how’s this for a supersweet fun fact: The box holding the engagement ring was the same box Ben used to present Leslie with the Knope 2012 button in the beginning of last season. It’s also the same box Leslie used to give Ben the Washington Monument trinket at the end of last season. 

Schur: “It’s a very important box.”

Poehler: “When the show’s over, we’re all gonna jump into the box.”

Schur: “The box is a time machine.”

Meticulous planning also went into the episode’s other memorable moment, in which Jerry succumbed to a fart attack after being surprised by Leslie and Ann. “I’m not kidding; we probably spent ten to twelve person hours working on the farts. The sounds, the style, the amount, the volume,” Schur said. “It was a very intensive work session. You only get to do a fart attack once. There’s like a billion-dollar industry of just fart sound effects. There is so much to choose from.”

Photo: NBC
The Story Behind the Parks and Rec Proposal