The finale of the inaugural season of "Parks and Recreation" ended, hilariously, with broken bones and shattered relationships. Amy Poehler's loveable goofball Leslie Knope was this close to bagging her co-worker and one-time hump buddy Mark (Paul Schneider), only to see him tumble into the muddy pit they spent all season trying to transform into a public park. Slacker Andy (Chris Pratt) and nurse/community activist Ann (Rashida Jones), meanwhile, had come this close to breaking up after he'd spent all season wheelchair-bound following his own boo-boo-inducing fall into the same pit.
With all these cliffhangers up in the air and the second season set to begin on NBC tonight at 8:30 p.m., Pratt called up MTV News during some downtime on set to chat about what we can expect this year, who's the biggest jerk in the cast, and how he and new wife Anna Faris plan to celebrate the first episode.
You're in the middle of filming the second season, right? What're you shooting today?
We're shooting some stuff in a hospital downtown. Right now it's lunch and I'm wearing a robe and all covered with scrapes. I'm walking around and people think I escaped or something.
Wait, you're injured again? But Andy just got out of the wheelchair at the end of last episode...
For some reason the writers find humor in my physical pain. But we're going to pick up three or months after the finale. You're going to have a chance to see exactly what happened that night. No one's going to tune into the show and be like, "What the fuck!" I don't want to give anything away, but some people have grown and others have not. I'm not going to say which one I am, but I'm wearing a really sweet suit in the first episode. Andy's definitely cleaned up a little bit. The comedy lies in the reveal, so I'll have to be one of those douchy actors who say, "You'll have to tune in to see!"
"Parks" comes from the same creators as "The Office," which didn't really have its breakout year until season two. Is this the season "Parks" goes big?
I'd like to think so. "The Office" is now a huge hit show, but right off the bat people didn't really get it. I think it takes a show like ours a few episodes to find its comedic footing and understand which comedic sensibilities make most sense for its characters. Steve Carell could be constantly compared to [British "Office" star] Ricky Gervais, but they're not the same and they're both funny motherf--kers. The same thing with Amy Poehler—she's not Steve Carell, she Amy f--king Poehler. The stuff I'm reading this year is making me laugh out loud a lot more. I don't know if that means I've drunk the Kool-Aid or what. But the episodes coming out are really, really funny.
Sounds like everyone has a bit more confidence going in after a really short first season—only six episodes long.
This feels like we're halfway through the first season, because as you said, six episodes is just about a quarter of your typical TV season. We're only 12 episodes in. We've shot six episodes and we're doing at least seven more. If people fall in love with it, we could do more.
So the last episode was where your character really got to show off his stuff. He was out of the wheelchair and playing with his band with a thousand names. Are we gonna see more of your musical stylings?
Yeah, Scarecrow Boat keeps on rockin'! But Andy's got some bigger fish to fry. He still plays guitar in a couple scenes. We have 45-pages script and only 21 minutes get to air, so I can't promise you're gonna see me singing and rocking, but I know we've shot some stuff where I am.
One of the things that people really wondered last season is what in the world Rashida Jones' character sees in Andy.
You're catching the tail end of a long relationship. They were in college and fell in love. He got comfortable and she grew more than he did. There are a lot of those relationships where it's like, "We don't have very much in common but we're comfortable, so why change?'" That, and he's f--king handsome! I mean, look at that guy! He's adorable!
Let's talk about Amy Poehler. Huge jerk?
Yes, hugest jerk. Man! No, she's the nicest #1 on the call sheet I've ever met. She continually goes out of her way to make everyone feel comfortable. She knows everyone's name. The third day I was shooting, I was coming onto set and I was just a guest star. She stopped, rolled down her window and yelled, 'Praaaaaaaaaatt!' and just welcomed me. We're working together all day today. She has no ego, but she's also a star.
The season premiere is this Thursday. What's the plan?
I'm gonna have a party. My wife and I are gonna invite people over, crack some beers and sit back and watch it in real time.