Parks and Recreation ended its run back in 2015, but the comedy's charm and humour has endured to this day. Filled with an endless amount of quotable lines and gif-able moments, plus a cast of quirky, lovable characters, Parks and Rec (as it's affectionately called by fans) has successfully established an iconic niche for itself within the pop culture zeitgeist.
If you think you know all there is to know about Amy Poehler's relentlessly optimistic "Leslie Knope" and the rest of the gang in Pawnee, Indiana though, you might be surprised! Treat yo'self by finding out some little-known facts about the show, and learn what could have gone very differently...
Parks and Rec pitched about friendship
While there's many key relationships that develop over the course of Parks and Rec, there's no denying that at the heart of the show is the friendship between Amy Poehler's "Leslie Knope" and Rashida Jones' "Ann Perkins".
Well as it turns out, placing focus on their platonic bond was the plan from the show's beginning, as Entertainment Tonight revealed in an exclusive article from the show's 10-year-reunion panel at PaleyFest. The show's executive producer and co-creator Michael Schur said himself that this very reasoning is why "the pilot is about them meeting".
Parks and Rec's "Andy" - almost mayor!
The character of "Andy Dwyer" on Parks and Recreation, played by Chris Pratt, was originally only meant to be on the show for a small arc in the first season. However, he soon became a fan favourite, and this lead to producers beginning to envision a long-term future for his character.
"And one point in season two or season three, we were like, ‘Andy’s going to be the mayor someday!'” Schur revealed. As fans of the show know though, ultimately plans changed and Andy ended up with a much different future gig!
Parks and Rec kept the lid on a key plot
Parks and Recreation's season 4 finale "Win, Lose, or Draw" turns out to have been very appropriately titled... that's because they actually shot three alternate endings! In other words, the outcome of the pivotal episode where "Leslie Knope" runs for city council could have taken a very different turn, possibly changing the series' trajectory. Reportedly, the reasoning behind this decision was twofold: Schur wanted to maintain flexibility while also preventing potential spoilers from leaking.
Parks and Rec's time jump explained
Parks and Recreation threw viewers for a loop with the show's last episode since it takes place two years into the future, showing everyone what the characters are up to in 2017! Turns out there's a rational explanation for this choice, which had everything to do with star Amy Poehler's personal life.
Since Poehler "had just had her second child, and was a little tired of dealing with small children," she actually requested that they skip over the characters having to raise babies on the show!
Parks and Rec's "Ron" audition shocker!
Parks and Recreation could have cast an entirely different actor in the role of no-nonsense outdoorsman "Ron Swanson" - and it's someone fans of the show know and love! Believe it or not, Jim O'Heir, who ultimately ended up with the role of "Jerry Gergich", actually auditioned to play Ron! "Seems crazy now," O'Heir later said at a cast panel in 2015, reflecting on the casting decision. "Nick Offerman, who else could have done it?”