Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to submit nomination ballots, EW.com will feature interviews with some of the actors and actresses whose names we hope to hear when nominations are announced on July 18.
Fans and critics will often agree that season 5 of Parks and Recreation was one of — if not the — best of the series. But standing out in the pool of awesome is Adam Scott, who plays Ben Wyatt, the lovably geeky Game of Thrones enthusiast who in a few seasons has won the hearts of Leslie Knope and audiences alike.
But why, after nearly three seasons on the show, has Scott, 40, entered the possible running for an Emmy nomination more than ever? We have some ideas, but Scott hesitates to offer his own theories. “I can’t answer to that specifically because, 1) I’d sound like a boob,” he deadpans. “Also, because I’m not really sure. But the season itself to me was special.”
Below, in a Q&A with EW, Scott relives the standout season.
So how does it feel to be in the Emmy conversation this year?
It’s flattering, but it’s also just flattering to be on the show and be among all the people that are on the show in the first place. I was a fan of it before I joined the cast. It had already been on a couple of seasons, and I was super into it. So sort of jumping in was — flattering is a good word for it, but you can’t just walk around flattered all day because you have to do the job. But that feeling hasn’t worn off on me. Also, growing up being an avid TV junkie, being on a TV show that’s in the culture is just an all-around wonderful experience. It couldn’t be a better show. It’s just a perfect scenario. I’m very, very lucky. How about that for a long, rambling answer you’re going to have to edit. (Ed. note: We didn’t!)
This season had a lot of big moments for your character. There’s obviously one that stands out a little for fans, but is it the same for you?
Each season has a sort of a personality to me. Mike [Schur] and the writers definitely give each season its own themes. I’ve said this before, but it’s kind of like The Wire of television comedy in that each season is different. There’s kind of a different subject that the show is wrapping itself around and the characters are different every season. It’s not a show where everybody goes back to normal and a new episode starts. The characters have actually shifted and grown and changed over the years. I think that’s a really wonderful thing and a rare thing for TV comedy. But this year was really special, obviously, for me, because of the wedding. And I just thought it was a really lovely episode — really wonderfully written and directed — and I’ll always remember the night that we shot it. It was a really wonderful night and everyone was really moved. It wasn’t just a day at work. It had a lot of meaning for all of us, especially Amy and I and certainly for Mike. I mean, everybody. But I know it meant a great deal to all of us. And I was happy the response was what it was from the fans. One thing I [also] really loved was that it wasn’t just about the wedding. Every single character got a great character moment. It wasn’t just focused on these two characters and the event. It was still truly an ensemble episode. Everybody had a little arc in there. I thought it was expertly [done] and still 22 minutes! The fact they were able to pull that off was amazing.
I couldn’t point out my favorite part of that episode, but was there anything that was particularly fun to film?
When we were shooting it, I think Retta sings opera when Amy is walking down the aisle. So just seeing Amy walk down the aisle and Retta singing and it was lit perfectly — because it’s a television show so everything’s lit wonderfully — I’m almost getting choked up thinking about it. It was just a great moment.
On the comedy side, what do you see as your best comedic moment this season?
I loved the stuff at the beginning of the season when Aubrey [Plaza] and I were in D.C. We had a lot of fun shooting that stuff, and I think the characters of Ben and April are so fun together. It’s also very interesting because Ben really took April to task for f—ing around too much. So the characters sort of bonded a bit and it was also really, really funny stuff. I loved when I tried to act cool with all the younger interns and tried to get them to play ultimate frisbee with me. That was super fun. That was a blast.
Prior to filming, were you familiar with the intense physical demands of ultimate frisbee?
No. I’m horrible at sports, and it was the end of the summer and Los Angeles was super hot. I think I got a little bit better at throwing a frisbee, but I think it was immediately canceled out by how close I came to passing out in the heat. But it was really fun. And ultimate frisbee is no joke. We had some people there who were really good at it and made me look even worse.
Passing out for your craft, that’s dedication.
That’s the name of my acting book that I’m putting out tomorrow.
I know you’re also working during the hiatus. How’s it going and when do you go back to Parks?
Right now, I’m working on, hopefully, kind of an Oscar-type movie for next year, one of those end-of-the-year big awards movies called Hot Tub Time Machine 2. So we’re gearing up for the international onslaught of acclaim.