Even outside of Pawnee, the cast of Parks and Recreation cast proved on Late Night with Seth Meyers that they can still warm your heart like no one else.
Tuesday’s broadcast marked the one-year anniversary of Meyers’ start as host of The Late Late Show/vice president of the Fallon Administration of NBC late-night. And the cast of Parks and Recreation cast came by, mere hours after their series finale aired, to partake in both the greatest birthday party a guy could hope for and an Irish wake for one of the best sitcoms of the past decade. Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Jim O’Heir, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman (minus the Ron Swanson moustache, plus a goatee to make Abe Lincoln proud), Chris Pratt, showrunner Mike Schur (the skinny white guy you don’t recognize), and even Jon Glaser came to Meyers’ couches to share behind-the-scenes stories and, in the grand tradition of Parks and Recreation, express their love for one another in the most adorable way possible.
Don’t fret about crying at the series finale. Apparently, the cast and crew did so many times throughout its development. “It’s like you would write a word and then cry for a while,” Schur said. “You’re not just asking yourself, ‘Is this a good scene?’ but ‘Is this appropriate to be the last thing these people ever say?’ It took me like three days to write the last three pages of the script.”
O’Heir, apparently, is quite the bubbly crier. Whereas Offerman is a “good crier, he just does the drip,” O’Heir admitted to being a gasping one-man weepfest during the cast’s final table read.
Speaking of which, Meyers pressed Schur about why Poehler’s ever-kind Leslie Knope never stood up to defend O’Heir’s perpetually beleaguered Jerry from co-worker abuse. “Whenever I was trying to justify it, I would think, Leslie is off-the-wall nice, there’s got to be an outlet somewhere, and here’s a guy who can just absorb it,” Schur said.
Despite these gems, it wasn’t the smoothest of interviews. Late-night talks usually have a fire capacity of four, and the camera couldn’t quite find room for this Illuminati meeting. Not everyone was as forthcoming as Schur, either. Plaza never met an interview she couldn’t make awkward, and met Meyers’ question about how she got involved with the show with a deadpan “I don’t remember what happened.” It was hilarious, of course, especially when Pratt responded to Meyers’ question about the development of the Andy/April romance with a quick, “I’ll defer to Aubrey on this one.” “I’m not good at talking,” Plaza said to the sound of Poehler cackling.
This chemistry was put to heartwarming use in the show’s final segment. Like the “warm fuzzies” game you might’ve played after team-building school field trips, each Pawnee alum was randomly given another one to toast. Some of the best excerpts included…
Ansari on Offerman: “He’s a great person. He had a great mustache, which is f–king gone now. I told him to send it to me, and he didn’t.”
Retta on Plaza: “She can scare the shit out of anyone with just a look…” (Plaza nodding happily) “…but in real life, she has the sweetest heart and can make you cry in a moment.”
Offerman on Scott: “Biggest balls on the cast.”
Pratt on O’Heir: “Amazing gift giver, a great listener, and a great spokesman for our show. Whenever people hit you up on the Internet, you’re always so kind.” (O’Heir starts tearing up, rest of cast chants “Cry! Cry! Cry!”) “And you’re so sensitive! Don’t let anyone stop you.”
Plaza on Ansari: “You’re my bro for life, and we’re both diverse for life so we have that going for us. And I’m really glad you didn’t fall asleep here, ‘cause I’m gonna miss you falling asleep everywhere, I’ll never forget that.”
Scott on Schur: “He’s such a forgiving person. I auditioned for Parks and did a terrible job. I got the audition and blew it. But a year and a half later, Mike called me up and asked me to join the show. It’s changed my life, and I’m so happy to be your friend, Mike.”
O’Heir back to Pratt: “He began in a pit, and he was so sweet then. He’s now the biggest movie star in the world, and he’s just as sweet as he was before. There’s no one kinder and more gracious than Chris Pratt.”
Poehler on Retta: “I’m honored and overwhelmed by how much I loved you. I’ll love you for my whole life.”
After one last commercial break, the cast sang “Bye, Bye, Lil Sebastian” and lifted their lighters with tears in their eyes. Oh, and Plaza made out with O’Heir, because you needed something bizarre to counterbalance all that warmth, right?