Amy Poehler returns to ‘Parks and Recreation’

We talk to Amy Poehler on the set of 'Parks and Recreation'.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Amy Poehler is such a sweetheart. On the set of Parks and Recreation (CBS Radford Studios), NBC catered a waffle dessert for the upcoming Harvest Festival episode. I bumped into Poehler having a waffle and she remembered me from all the other Television Critics Association and movie interviews. So we caught up one on one before they pulled her to lead a tour of the set for the whole TCA. Parks and Recreation is back Jan. 20.


Crave Online: So many legendary shows have shot on this lot.


Amy Poehler: Mary Tyler Moore. When Megan Mullaly comes and does our show, she has Will & Grace flashbacks. Good flashbacks.


Crave Online: What does the studio add to Parks and Recreation?


Amy Poehler: It’s kind of out of the way. It’s pretty quiet.


Crave Online: I actually went to a local meeting on the Universal Studios expansion and it felt very Parks and Recreation.


Amy Poehler: Really? I bet.


Crave Online: Only it didn’t have A-list Hollywood writing. Had you been to real meetings like that?


Amy Poehler: Yeah. My dad was a town meeting member and my parents were on the school committee growing up in our local town. Also in New York City, I went to a few of those kinds of meetings. Long. They’re long.


Crave Online: It was three and a half hours long but I got seven stories out of it.


Amy Poehler: Oh good, perfect.


Crave Online: How does it feel to be back in production?


Amy Poehler: Great. I mean, we’ve been shooting for nine months so we’re really excited to be back on the air, for people to see what we’ve been shooting.


Crave Online: So your break ended a while ago.


Amy Poehler: Oh yeah. We shot until July of last year and then we took like three months off. We started back up in September. I don’t know, it’s all a blur.


Crave Online: I didn’t keep track of the Amy Poehler pregnancy breaks.


Amy Poehler: Good, good.


Crave Online: Was it reinvigorating to come back after your leave though?


Amy Poehler: Yeah, for sure. We were so happy to be back to work and working and doing season three. It was really great.


Crave Online: What funny things are coming up?


Amy Poehler: Well, you know, right? You’ve gotten a tease. So lots of good stuff coming up. When we left season two, everyone’s jobs were threatened about whether or not the department was going to even be around because money is so tight. So Leslie has to make a decision, along with the rest of the Parks department, a very big swing and decide to gamble. If they lose, then everyone in the Parks department is fired. So we come back in the first episode with Leslie’s big swing. I don’t want to give too much away but fun stuff happens.


Crave Online: Do you play that as sort of a drama?


Amy Poehler: Yes, it’s very real. There’s a lot at stake in season three. Leslie is genuinely worried about her job and the people she works with. It’s serious business.


Crave Online: Is it sort of real that it depends if the show gets a fourth season to decide where that story goes?


Amy Poehler: Well, we culled it more from the reality of what’s happening in local government which is that no one has any money and the Parks department is low on the list. So it’s really about when times are tough, nobody’s caring about planting trees. It kind of came of that more than any meta story about our own show.


Crave Online: I just heard about aldermen from The Chicago Code. Would that position come up in Pawnee?


Amy Poehler: I don’t know, what is an alderman?


Crave Online: I still don’t know.


Amy Poehler: Yes, there’s got to be something like that in our show.


Crave Online: Do you still keep up with current events and think of funny things about them?


Amy Poehler: Yeah, for sure. We’re always looking at stuff like that. We tackled a couple things things in season two that we thought was really fun like gay penguin marriage. There’s some things that come up in season three. There’s some political scandals that may feel familiar somehow. Stuff like that that we take on in season three.


Crave Online: As a comedian what do you think of current stories like Wikileaks or the man with the golden voice?


Amy Poehler: I just always can’t wait to see what SNL is going to do on it.