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Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari Talk Parks and Recreation

Reported by Kristen - 07:03 PM 2009.09.09
NBC's Parks and Recreation was the little sitcom that could when it debuted last season, but a shortened season failed to gain it a huge Office-like following. All that is set to change with the series second season, premiering September 17th at 8:30pm. In speaking with the stars of Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari, the two more than sell the show discussing the upcoming season, their characters, and their dreams of having a crossover episode with NCIS: Los Angeles.

Coming off a short return to Saturday Night Live, Poehler is happy to return to the world of Leslie Knope and scripted comedy. Poehler says where SNL is all about versatility, playing Leslie allows her to “settle in and play someone that I believe could actually exist in the world.” Ansari also agreed that scripted comedy allows a more grounded approach, which allows one to figure out the characters. While both are veterans at improvisation, the show is lauded by both stars for it's hilarious scripts that don't need additions from them most of the time, “We do play around sometimes but the scripts have such good jokes sometimes it's a great combination,” according to Ansari.

Humor and story go hand-in-hand and the show's style and structure has received many comparisons to NBC's other hit sitcom, The Office. When asked about being compared to the other show, a stigma that didn't sit well with fans last season, Poheler see it as a compliment but says that people “will see how this show is different...in its own way” and would love to be compared to Man Vs. Wild if she has anything to say about it. Ansari puts things more simply saying, “To be on a show that's really good, it's a real treat and just to be able to do it is a huge blessing.”

But the big question is what can fans expect in the series second season? Ansari says this season is all about learning more about the characters, “The characters you didn't get to see much of in season one” will return in full force and greater numbers. Following Ansari and his role as the unlikeable Tom, fans will be excited to see a soft side to the man according to Poehler which is interesting for the actor playing him as Ansari has a blast playing “a douchebag.” While Ansari says he would never like to hang out with Tom, the character is fun to play. Fans will also learn more about Tom's wife and see him judge a beauty contest. The series is also doing an episode where the group will be digging up dirt on each other and the interesting things that come up.

In Leslie's world Poehler sums up her characters story this season, saying “We're all just figuring out what Leslie's motivations are. The upcoming season is a lot of enjoying the crazy world Leslie creates for herself and the crazy people in it.” Leslie will also be dealing with her unfortunate breakup with Mark and the conflict that arises when comic Louis C.K. arrives as a love interest. Poehler says, “Unfortunately her feelings for Mark...are not completely over” but the relationship with C.K. is seen as Leslie meeting a new guy and not understanding that he's interested in her.

When both were asked about their characters as people Poehler cheerily says she loves that her character is so hot but got more contemplative, “Leslie has good intentions but no game. She's not dumb, she just isn't suave so I have to straddle the line between what she kind of knows about a situation but how she doesn't have many skills at how to play it. I do think we're lucky...we're still in the second season getting into the groove. I think we're all figuring out who we are and where we're supposed to be. It's a constant evolution and learning process.” Poehler also finds Leslie a bit too trusting, and of course they don't share the same musical tastes. Ansari is simpler with his thoughts on Tom, simply saying he's the guy that you would hate.

Taking a lighthearted route and in a world where anything is possible the two actors were asked to throw out some dream guest stars they would love to see. The two both agreed on nabbing Johnny Depp for a future guest spot. Ansari would love to play opposite Lebron James and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Poehler is a bit more eclectic with her choices requesting Academy Award winning director Clint Eastwood for a guest spot along with Betty White and Carl Reiner. The two also dream of a possible crossover episode with NCIS: Los Angeles where star LL Cool J could help Leslie with her rapping. After all is said and done thought, what does Amy Poehler hope to do in the future, she simply says, “I don't know if it's too late but I'd like to develop software to make me really rich. I don't have any skills on it....but my eyes on the prize.”

NBC's Parks and Recreation returns September 17th at 8:30pm.






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