Parks and Recreation is a comedy series based around the main character Leslie Knope (a bureaucrat) in the parks department of Pawnee.

Parks and Recreation - Netflix

Type: Scripted

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 30 minutes

Premier: 2009-04-09

Parks and Recreation - Parks and Recreation (season 1) - Netflix

The first season of Parks and Recreation originally aired in the United States on the NBC television network between April 9 and May 14, 2009. Produced by Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, the series was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who served as executive producers with Howard Klein. The comedy series focuses on Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the deputy director of the parks and recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. The season consisted of six 22-minute episodes, all of which aired at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Daniels and Schur conceived the show when NBC officials asked Daniels to produce a spin-off of his comedy series The Office, on which Schur was a writer. During development, the creators decided the new show would be a stand-alone series, though it would share the mockumentary style of The Office. Like that show, Parks and Recreation encouraged improvisation among its cast members. Early test screenings were poor, and many critics and industry observers were skeptical about the show's chances of success. The first season received generally mixed reviews, and several commentators found it too similar to The Office. The premiere episode was watched by 6.77 million households, but the viewership declined almost every week in the Nielsen ratings. A season low of 4.25 million households watched the final episode, “Rock Show”. Despite the low rating, “Rock Show” received the best reviews of the season and convinced some critics that the series had finally found the right tone.

Parks and Recreation - Cast - Netflix

A principal cast of six actors received star billing in the show's first season. Poehler portrayed the lead character, Leslie Knope, the naive but well-meaning, eager-to-please deputy director of the parks and recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Poehler said, upon reading the script provided by Michael Schur, “it took me five minutes to realize Leslie Knope was the best character ever written for me”. She also felt it took a few episodes before she started “feeling my groove” with the character, but came to realize the cast was extremely talented and “would eventually become like family”. Also among the cast were Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford, a sarcastic parks department employee, and Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins, a nurse who befriends Leslie and tries to help her turn a giant construction pit into a park. Daniels and Schur intended to cast Ansari and Jones (who previously appeared in The Office as Karen Filippelli) from the series' earliest stages of development, but the ultimate Parks and Recreation concept did not coalesce until they learned Poehler would be available to star. After her recruitment, the general concept of the series was established and the script for the pilot episode was written. Nick Offerman portrayed Ron Swanson, the director of the parks and recreation department. Offerman had previously auditioned for a part on The Office, and Schur was impressed with his comedic talents and wanted to cast him, but then Offerman became unavailable because he appeared on Will & Grace, a show starring his wife, Megan Mullally. Schur said, “I just wrote his name down on a post-it note and stuck it to my computer and said, 'Someday, I'm going to figure out what to do with that guy.'” Aubrey Plaza played April Ludgate, a sarcastic and uninterested college intern. The part was written specifically for Plaza. After meeting her, casting director Allison Jones told Schur, “I just met the weirdest girl I've ever met in my life. You have to meet her and put her on your show.” Schur of meeting her, “Aubrey came over to my office and made me feel really uncomfortable for like an hour, and immediately I wanted to put her in the show,” although the writers were not immediately sure what direction her character would take. Rounding out the main cast was Paul Schneider, best known for his work in independent films such as Lars and the Real Girl and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. He was cast as Mark Brendanawicz, a city planner and Leslie's unrequited love interest. She still harbors feelings for Mark from a one-night sexual encounter years ago. Schneider said that early in the season he was insecure in the role because he was still trying to figure out the character's motivations. Chris Pratt played Andy Dwyer, Ann's well-intentioned but lazy and simple-minded boyfriend. Although Pratt appeared in every episode of season 1, he was credited as guest star until the second season, when he was promoted to the main cast. Andy was originally supposed to appear only in the first season, but the producers liked Pratt so much that, almost immediately after casting him, they decided to make Andy a regular character if the show was renewed. Jim O'Heir and Retta made regular appearances as Jerry Gergich and Donna Meagle, two fellow employees at the Pawnee parks and recreation department. The personalities of the two characters did not become developed until the second season, but Schur said the Parks and Recreation staff liked the actors so decided to include them in the show and “figured we'd work it out later”. Pamela Reed made several appearances as Marlene Griggs-Knope, Leslie's mother and an important figure in the Pawnee school system. Seth Gordon, who directed Reed in her first episode, “Canvassing”, said she improvised a great deal during her audition, creating many elements that helped define Marlene's character. Jama Williamson appeared in “Rock Show” as Wendy, the attractive surgeon wife of Tom Haverford. Wendy would make numerous appearances in season 2, during which it was revealed that the Haverfords have a green card marriage. Eric Edelstein guest starred in two season 1 episodes, “Canvassing” and “Boys' Club”, as Lawrence, a disgruntled neighbor of Andy's.

Parks and Recreation - References - Netflix