Parks and Recreation, which starred Chris Pratt and other incredibly gifted actors, was co-created by Michael Schur, an American television producer, writer, director, and actor. He began working professionally in 1998 as a writer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and in 2001, he was promoted to producer of Weekend Update. In 2004, the writer-producer left SNL.

The producer-writer later collaborated with a cast including Chris Pratt, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, and many others to co-create the television series Parks and Recreation. The series ran from 2009 to 2015. The audience’s first reviews of the show were varied, and frequent comparisons to The Office were made, but over time, the program succeeded in gaining a devoted following. Michael Schur discussed Chris Pratt’s casting on the show in an interview.

Also read: Chris Pratt Finds Missing Out on Parks and Rec Reunion During Actors Strike Inexcusable

Chris Pratt with cast of Parks and Recreation
Chris Pratt with cast of Parks and Recreation

Chris Pratt’s audition made his character stay on Parks and Recreation

During an interview back in 2011, co-creator of Parks and Recreation Michael Schur was asked about what did and what didn’t work for them in the first six episodes of the show, to which he revealed that when Chris Pratt auditioned, they felt, “This guy’s too funny to not use.”

The creators were impressed with Pratt and so he was finalized to play the character of Andy Dwyer, who was initially supposed to wrap up after six episodes, but Pratt’s audition made them make a change and they changed his character to ‘a moron and doofus, but not a bad person’.

Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt played Andy Dwyer on the show

The first six episodes of the NBC political satire were treated as pilot episodes and the creator was asked if that was risky to do, to which he said that it was. Everything on TV is risky, but they added they did not really have a choice because Amy Poehler was pregnant and it had worked on The Office.

Also read: “God has a fast-forward button”: Chris Pratt Was “Really Broken” Until He Met Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Daughter and His Future Wife

Michael Schur on Chris Pratt’s improvising skills

It was widely known that Pratt was maybe the only one on the show who did not have much experience in terms of comedy compared to the rest of the cast, but he still had a natural ability, which was to improvise his lines.

Andy’s iconic line, “Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the [computer] thing up here, and it says you could have network connectivity problems”, was improvised by the actor, which can hardly be noticed by the audience because the MCU actor is so good.

Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt improvised a lot of lines on the show

Schur said,

“I’m not kidding, as a writer, it made me furious. The camera happened to be on him, he did it once, and I think it’s the funniest joke that’s ever been on our show.”

In 2014, during an interview, Pratt explained that the best stuff people can hear him say would be the stuff that he had thought of over the past three years and the best acting he did was pretending that it was improved and sneaking it in like he just stumbled on it.

Also read: Jennifer Aniston Reveals Adam Sandler’s Heartfelt Gift After Her Own Issues With Pregnancy

Michael Schur on low ratings of Parks and Recreation 

Even though a section of the audience and the critics loved the show, the ratings were pretty low and the writer was asked what could be the reason, which he said at the time was that shows like these have a way of self-perpetuating. He noted, “Sometimes, it just takes a while for word-of-mouth to spread and make the show popular and successful.” 

Chris Pratt and Adam Scott
Chris Pratt and Adam Scott

The show’s first season received mixed reviews, but after the creators re-approached the tone and format for season two, there was no looking back for them as the audience loved the show. Parks and Recreations’ was partly inspired by the portrayal of local politics on HBO’s The Wire, along with the renewed interest in and optimism about politics that came from the 2008 United States Presidential Election.

Source: AV Club

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