“They’re finally making good on that,” Jones says with a laugh. “[The writers] acknowledge it, which is funny — ‘Why are you still here? You don’t even work here!’ — but I think the premise of that is we live in a small town, so we don’t have that much to do. And I did go and follow an ER nurse, and they [usually] work three days a week. … So it’s justifiable.”
The season’s second episode, airing Jan. 27, will show Ann in full work mode as she deals with a flu outbreak in Pawnee, and she tells Zap2it that later in the season, she finds a “good reason” to be hanging out in the halls of government. “Thus far it’s been, ‘Ann whores it up at City Hall,'” she jokes. “She’s basically dated everybody here.”
For most of the show’s first two seasons, Jones played the straight-woman role while the other actors had bigger comedy scenes — which fit Ann’s character as the most grounded and grown-up member of the group. This year, though, Ann will cut loose a little bit.
“Her whole journey has been about not just being a girlfriend, not being a doormat, trying to find herself. I think she’s still pretty lost and confused,” Jones says. “I also think as sane and logical and pragmatic a foil as she seemed to be for Leslie’s [Amy Poehler] hopelessly idealistic, slightly illogical self, it kind of becomes clear now that Ann is not completely sane. She’s got her own issues she’s dealing with — which is great, because that’s really a joy to play.”
Issues such as …?
“She has a little bit of a slut run in the third season,” Jones says. “An unabashed, empowerment slut run, where she’s just dating a bunch of dudes and not apologizing for it — which I’m sure women do, but there’s something about it that’s slightly manic and desperate and crazy. But she’s controlled about it, which makes her even more crazy.
“There have been a lot of those moments where I get a chance to just unleash a little bit,” she adds. “I think Ann has been so tightly wound for so long that … I snap a couple of times. Which is good.”
“Parks and Recreation” premieres at 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC.