“I’m of the belief that the most powerful weapon that we have in TV these days, after 60 years of sitcoms, is surprise,” Schur told reporters on a conference call Wednesday, noting that Ben’s (Adam Scott) proposal to Leslie (Amy Poehler) earlier in the season also came out of left field.
“That has been our goal with every relationship, really, and with every even nonromantic story we’ve told on the show. We just try to always be surprising to the audience. And … the idea was we’re not going to have the proposal come in a season premiere or in, you know, November sweeps or, you know, Christmas or whatever. We’re going to do it at a time where it just feels natural and right and it kind of takes people by surprise.
“So that was the plan with the proposal and I think it worked. And it also has led to this very nice thing about Leslie and Ben’s relationship, which is that they are constantly sort of surprising each other — which is a very romantic idea, I think. That [is] actually talked about in the wedding episode in the vows that they exchange. … Leslie talks about that notion of being of how romantic it is and how nice it is to constantly be surprised by someone.”
Thursday’s wedding, the first of back-to-back episodes of “Parks and Rec,” comes on the heels of last week’s episode in which Leslie’s black-tie fundraiser for the Pawnee Commons project came through. Everyone was in such a good mood that Ben proposed they get married right now instead of waiting until their scheduled date in May.
The spur-of-the-moment wedding presents its own problems, as they have only two hours to pull it off and get everything right. Tom (Aziz Ansari) has to get ordained online so he can perform the ceremony. Chris (Rob Lowe) tries to find wedding rings for the couple. Donna (Retta) sings — according to Schur and Poehler, Retta is a classically trained singer and has an amazing voice.
One thing no one seems to be worried about, though, is that Ben and Leslie will become less interesting once they’re married.
“What I love about ‘Parks’ is that, you know, if you care about this couple, you’ve got to see over the past couple years so much change happen with them, and it’s really satisfying the show hasn’t killed us with low expectations and will they-won’t they — which I love,” Poehler says. “And I love that ‘Parks’ continues to let characters change and actually have things happen, like life goes on in the world.”
Scott says he recently rewatched “The Master Plan,” which introduced his and Lowe’s characters at the end of Season 2, and saw the seeds of Leslie and Ben’s relationship even then.
“Looking at Leslie and Ben, at our first couple of scenes together, it really speaks to the quality of writing of this show that there’s a lot of foreshadowing of their relationship in the sense that these are two kind of three-dimensional characters that really sort of fit together, and they see things in each other that no one else really sees and kind of hit these buttons with each other right off the bat,” Scott says.
“So I think that, you know, there’s just more to [their relationship]. From the very start there was more to it than a simple will they-or-won’t they or kind of device like that. I think that them being married now just sort of fits in naturally with that. It’s not like there’s anything to be lost by them joining together permanently.”
Scott was brought on to play a love interest for Leslie, but the “Parks and Rec” writers obviously weren’t thinking marriage right away. It didn’t take long, though, according to Schur.
“In the second episode that we had [Adam] — which was the finale that year, called ‘Freddy Spaghetti’ — they have a conversation, and Leslie smiles at him and walks off, and there’s a shot of [Ben] looking after Leslie with a smile on his face,” Schur recalls. “And as soon as I saw that, I kind of realized that not only were they going to get together, but they were never going to break up. It became very clear in that moment that this was it.
“… It’s that sort of indescribable thing you can’t really put your finger on, but when you see two actors inhabiting roles and interacting with each other and they just sort of make sense. I remember in the discussions before Season 3 going like, ‘All right, well this season is going to end with Leslie and Ben like dating very seriously and thinking about getting married. So we better figure out how that’s going to go.'”