Most critics would agree that Parks and Recreation nailed its series finale, and the hard work seems to have paid off in the dearly departed sitcom’s Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series—its second shot in the category since 2011.
While the show hasn’t won any Emmy, it’s been represented each year by perennial nominee Amy Poehler, who is again recognized this year. Could the show earn a win for its emotional final year—and will Poehler finally take it home for creating Leslie Knope?
The series’ nod was “utterly shocking and surprising, and not in the fake way that people always say it’s surprising,” said the show’s co-creator Michael Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine). “It was actually…to the point where there wasn’t even any pre-announcement e-mailing or texting that went on with anybody that worked on the show. Like, no fingers were crossed. There was literally nothing. It was so far out of the world of possibility.”
Schur acknowledged the heft of Parks grabbing a slot when there are “at least seven other shows that could very easily replace every show in this category, and no one would blink an eye.” He points out Fresh Off the Boat, Black-ish, and Broad City—“one of the funniest shows on television”—as some of the most deserving snubs.
But as excited as he might be about Parks’ chance for the big win, he’s even more thrilled at the idea that Poehler could—and should—finally be rewarded for creating the iconic character of Leslie Knope.
“It’s one of the great Hollywood tragedies that she hasn’t won an Emmy yet,” says Schur. “I watched this happen with Steve Carell—it’s a very similar thing—and I think the world just thinks that she’s won. She’s been an active part of the Emmy ceremony for years and years. I think people have a picture in their minds of her on a stage in a nice dress and are like, oh, she’s won three times. No one can do what she did better than she did it. It’s hard to complain—Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a national treasure—but at the same time, I just hope and pray that somehow or another, this is Amy’s year.”
Schur continued: “It’s also about the character. If Steve Carell was in a TV movie and won an Emmy, we’d be like, ‘Yeah, thank God he has that trophy in his house,’ but he should have won for playing Michael Scott. It’s such an iconic character, and the same is true for Amy and Leslie. I’m obviously very biased, but that character is the defining character of the show, for a million different reasons.”
On a related topic, Schur also commented on the lack of nominations over the years for Nick Offerman, who inhabited the show’s other iconic character, Ron Swanson. “I don’t know why. He was never going to have a better chance than this year, because there was an episode in the middle of the season with just him and Amy that was such a showcase for him as an actor. He was the male Amy in many ways. He was the steadying force on the show, and everybody on the show respects and admires him so much,” said Schur, adding: “But there’s something sort of poetic about the fact that the character Ron Swanson wouldn’t care. Nick wasn’t his character, but I think he can at least summon from a reserve of Swanson-esque stoicism.”