vulture on set

24 Things We Learned on the Set of Parks and Recreation

Photo: Danny Feld/NBC

When Vulture visited the set of Parks and Recreation last month, production was underway on this season’s sixth episode. It’s difficult to get into major plot details, which are super spoiler-y, but suffice it to say Leslie’s still fighting to keep her job on the City Council. (The episode is called “Filibuster,” so here’s hoping it includes a follow-up to Patton Oswalt’s pitch for J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars.) After nosing around for a few hours and chatting with executive producer Mike Schur and the actors (Amy Poehler listed her best-friend requirements; Nick Offerman talked about his impressive poop), here are 24 other stray observations:

1. Aubrey Plaza has no idea what B-Rock and the Bizz’s “My Baby Daddy” is. When Amy Poehler began singing the 1997 classic aloud between shots (“Who that is? That’s just my baby daddy”), Retta joined in, and the 29-year-old Plaza just looked confused. Poehler was shocked (“You’ve never heard that song?”), but Retta was not: “You can’t jump on her,” she said. “Wasn’t that song popular in the mid-nineties?”

2. A publicist for Parks wouldn’t stop flailing her arms at Jim O’Heir as he told the story of Jerry’s return, but not because it was an actual spoiler. “See, 250 burn victims are helped by Jerry’s penis,” he began, “and it’s just this amazing salve … ”

3. Jerry will be back under a different name. It rhymes with Jerry.

4. Merging Pawnee with Eagleton proves to be a bad idea. “That’s going to make Leslie’s recall situation worse before it gets better,” revealed Schur.

5. Among those coming in from Eagleton? Billy “Billy on the Street” Eichner, who plays “the only person in the world who cares more about parks-and-recreation issues than Leslie.” He doesn’t chase anyone around with a microphone, but he’s very, very particular about his grass.

6. April and Tom’s new girlfriend, a doctor played by Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany, will enroll in a Mutual Admiration Society. “Her character is just as sarcastic to April as April is to her,” Plaza said. “She’s one of the first if not the only guest star April wants to hang out with.”

7. But Plaza admits she just started watching Orphan Black. She’s appropriately embarrassed about it.

8. Meanwhile, Poehler has only seen the first season of Breaking Bad. (In her defense, she does have two small children and a full-time job as a TV star.)

9. Item 22 on Leslie’s “40 Phases to Success” board, as seen in her office: “Reach out to Bono.”

10. Item 30: “Pump up the volume.”

11. Item 31: “I didn’t come here to make friends.”

12. Turns out Parks and Rec’s art department really did mold a cheese sculpture of Heidi Klum for the season-six premiere. One hundred percent edible.

13. Pawnee will soon be hit with a sexting scandal.

14. Poehler’s nickname for episode-six director and Lonely Island star Jorma Taccone is “Jormal.” As in, “He’s not normal. He’s Jormal! It may not be normal to you, but it’s Jormal. Hey, does anyone call you Jormal?” Said Taccone, “You do!”

15. The actors talk among themselves about how much they enjoyed the season-five gag reel. Parks and Rec stars — they’re just like us!

16. Thinking about Rob Lowe’s exit from the show made Adam Scott teary. The other day, they were on set and he realized, “‘Oh shit, I bet we’re going to have a good-bye scene, the two of us.’ I got a little choked up. We came into this together, and we’ve become friends.”

17. But it’s not good-bye forever! Not according to Plaza, who said there are already plans for Ann to pay a return visit to Pawnee before the end of the season. “I’ve already heard that they’re going to have her back,” she told me.

18. Schur confirmed as much: “They’re not moving to Antarctica to become penguin farmers. They’ll be in our extended universe.”

19. Offerman, meanwhile, said he’d be comfortable doing no more than “another ten to twelve years” on Parks.

20. Schur and Poehler are co-writing the show’s 100th episode, which will include surprise guest stars and a surprise ending. “We wanted to celebrate by having the characters go through milestones and forks in the road and turning points in their lives,” Schur said. “Everyone is going through the end of something or the beginning of something or has a big choice to make.”

21. Offerman lost 30 pounds over the summer by nixing sugar, dairy, and beer. “It’s sort of like a Paleo diet, probably. I’m trying to keep it trim just because the costumes fit a little more comfortably.”

22. Donna and Leslie have beef in episode six because Donna be tweeting some not nice things about her boss (“#bitchboss”). Shade.

23. Offerman is a fan of the card game euchre.

24. Leslie really could get recalled! Said Poehler: “Pawnee is really kicking the living shit out of Leslie. Things are really falling apart for her in funny ways.” The vote goes down in episode seven.

24 Things We Learned on the Set of Parks and Rec