After Ben and Leslie got engaged in the last episode of “Parks and Recreation,” it follows that the couple would start getting to know each other’s families.
Ben (Adam Scott) has already met Leslie’s (Amy Poehler) mom, but we’ve never seen Ben’s parents. That changes Thursday (Nov. 8) in an episode titled, fittingly, “Ben’s Parents.” The first encounter between Leslie and her fianc�’s folks, played by Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad”) and Glenne Headly (“ER,” “Lonesome Dove”) does not go especially well.
“It was a very contained episode,” showrunner Mike Schur says. “We basically wanted to put Leslie and Ben and Ben’s parents, who hate each other, and Ben’s dad’s girlfriend, into a pressure cooker and leave them there to simmer for 20 minutes. It turned out really well. There’s some really wonderful acting from everybody.”
Poehler says Headly is “amazing” in the episode and that Banks — the often-menacing Mike Ehrmantraut on “Breaking Bad” — is appropriately intimidating. “It’s a rare peek into Ben’s world and family and that dynamic, so it’s the combination of a high-stress party combined with relatives, which always is a bad mix,” she says.
“I love the idea of Ben’s father being just a little terrifying,” Scott adds. “I think it fits in really well with the character of Ben. Jonathan Banks was hilarious.”
“Ben’s Parents” also features the return of Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz), who in a B-story helps Tom (Aziz Ansari) get a new business idea off the ground. “Parks and Rec” airs at 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC.