throwback tuesday: aubrey plaza + chris pratt

parks and rec's oddest couple

Photo by Clarke Tolton

Tonight marks the series finale of one of TV's most honest, hilarious shows: Parks and Recreation. To celebrate the comedy's general oddness, we're switching it up and throwing it back to our September 2010 interview with the actors behind the show's most peculiar couple, Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt. Throwback Thursdays are so last week.

Of the many comedies posing as documentaries, Parks and Recreation sounds the least relatable on paper; while we’ve spent time in odd office environments (The Office) or had to deal with insane family members (Modern Family), few of us have logged hours as a mid-level bureaucrat in Pawnee, Indiana. Nevertheless, the show has proven to be a hilarious and endearing gem. That has quite a lot to do with Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt, whose apathetic April Ludgate and clueless Andy Dwyer have come into their own in the second season of the NBC show (they have also come together as a couple onscreen). “If [viewers] are smart, they’ll get it. Some people don’t, and that’s why they’re stupid,” jokes Plaza. Adds Pratt, “They’re just stupid people. Idiots!” Although, they’re as funny in person as they are on TV, Plaza insists that there’s far less improvisation that you’d expect from a cast that includes comedy all-stars like Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari. “We really follow the script, and the scripts are really strong, so there’s not really a need to make it any funnier. But they always allow room for us to play.” Does she have anything in mind? “I wrote [an April spin-off] already. I have, like, 20 episodes of April running for office,” Plaza deadpans. “April’s president and she takes over the world.”

AUBREY PLAZA
How would you describe April?
There’s a lot more to her than meets the eye. I think she comes off as really jaded and disinterested, but she really does want to be there or else she wouldn’t be.

How would April describe the show?
“It’s a show about a bunch if weirdos that work in the most boring department of local government.”

Is April too apathetic to fall in love?
No, definitely not. She’s like, obsessed with Andy. I have so much fun with that because I have to pretend like I don’t really care, but I really care so much.

Why should people watch Parks and Recreation?
Because it’s the best show on TV. And the second season ended with a cliffhanger— are [April and Andy] going to get together or not?— and season three answers that question in a very big way.

CHRIS PRATT
How would you describe Andy?
He’s kind of on the verge of funny and real, somewhere in between there. Not everything he does is believable, but if it’s funny, it’s OK.

How would Andy describe the show?
“The most amazing portrait of American music in the world.”

Is there a lot of one-upping each other with jokes on set?
There’s not a lot of that, thank God. If you ever hang out in the back room of a comedy club, it’s the worst place ever because comics are generally not very giving with their laughter. They don’t want to laugh because heaven forbid you be funnier than them. But on our show, Amy Poehler is so giving with laughter—she laughs at everything.

Why should people watch Parks and Recreation?
All of my reasons for wanting people to watch the show are really selfish—I want to do it forever.

BONUS: When we interviewed Plaza this past September, she talked to NYLON TV about the ending of Parks and Rec. "We're doing our last season this year, which is so sad and bittersweet," Plaza said. "And I'm gonna miss Chris Pratt in my life because he's my TV husband and sometimes I forget that he's not my real husband." Watch below.