'Parks and Rec': Paul Schneider has no plans to return to Pawnee
Bad news, Mark Fan-danawiczes: Even though this Pawneean lives in Indiana’s greatest town, the chances of him paying another visit to the Parks department are slim to none.
Scratching your head right about now? Here’s a refresher: Way back when Parks and Recreation first premiered, Leslie Knope’s number one crush was hunky city planner Mark, played by indie film actor Paul Schneider. Mark was basically the Hoosier State’s answer to The Office‘s Jim Halpert — wry, boyish, bored to death by his job but forced by sitcom laws to spend all his free time with his co-workers. He never exactly jelled with the rest of the show’s cast, especially after Parks morphed from an Office clone into its own sweetly optimistic thing in season 2 — and, at the end of the series’ first full year, Mark and Schneider both left Parks for good.
Parks showrunner Michael Schur did leave the door open for Mark’s possible return somewhere down the line — but according to a new interview, Schneider isn’t exactly champing at the bit to go back to NBC. “That experience was very strange for me,” he told ScreenCrush on Tuesday. “You know, I signed up for a specific character that was changed in mid-season. And it became a character with a lot less to do. And, all of a sudden, I was kind of confused and kind of having a lot less to do.”
That too ambiguous for you? Try this on for size: “I’m not interested in going back,” Schneider continued. “I’ve never been contacted about that nor have I any interest in going back.”
Just don’t think the actor holds anything against his old employers. Schneider also noted that he’d have “no idea” how to “captain [a] ship” like Parks and praises the show for finally finding its footing — not to mention securing a cameo from “the f—ing First Lady.” And honestly, despite the success he’s had in smaller movies, Schneider may just be ready for a career change in general; ScreenCrush writer Mike Ryan calls him “an actor who honestly appears to want to be doing anything else with his life other than acting.”
Maybe he should consider a job in construction?