'Parks and Recreation's Writers' Room Sounded Like A Total Blast
When I die, I want to go somewhere that Michael Schur helped build. Not The Good Place (though I do love frozen yogurt) and definitely not The Office. But putting aside the fact that there's no such thing as a dream job, the Parks And Recreation writing room sounds like a little slice of heaven.
Sure, there was an actual job to do and occasionally writing one of the funniest sitcoms ever might have been kind of stressful. Apparently, early on, the writers struggled to make audiences understand that the whole show wasn't going to be about filling in the pit outside of Ann's house (the one Andy lived in). And yes, Dan Goor, one of the writers, apparently spent a considerable amount of time shooting a Nerf dart at the ceiling while asking, "How do we make this funny?" But I still think the Parks and Rec writing room sounds like a dream job. You know, besides the work. Here's some footage of the writing staff avoiding work:
And a lot happened that wasn't work; according to writer Katie Dippold, "There was so much time spent on finding anything to do but actually writing." Dan Goor, the writer in nerf-dart agony above, apparently once tried an experiment to put a pencil in Red Bull… but forgot about it over a two-week writing hiatus. "When we got back, it wasn't just an infestation," Goor remembers in an incredible oral history of the writers' room. "Sheets of ants had invaded our office. You have never seen so many ants. It was like a David Attenborough film. It was crazy."
Dippold is the major historian of the most wonderful writing room antics, and she partook in more than a handful of the best ones herself. One time she came to work with blood capsules in her mouth, thinking she'd prank her office mates with a bit of light gore (as we all do from time to time, I'm sure). She grossed out a few coworkers, then tried the prank out on Mike Schur, "but it worked way too well. Like blood was gushing from my mouth and he looked horrified … I kept trying to say, "I'm just joking," but he didn't understand why this woman who had blood coming out of her mouth kept repeating she's just joking. It was a very intense and confusing minute for him."
Then there were the theme songs. No, not the iconic Parks and Rec theme -- every writer had their own theme song, which was played as they entered the room by Greg Levine, a writer's assistant who became a writer later in the show's life. Writer Alan Yang says, "anytime you would say something or make a joke that was particularly representative of your character, he would play your theme song. It was unbelievably delightful. So, the whole workday became a sort of entertaining circus." This is the dream. What more could you ask for than to have your theme song play as you make a roomful of people laugh? I already know what I want my theme to be:
Well, maybe you're the stoic type. Maybe you're not convinced, and it still sounds like the regular nine-to-five, just like everywhere else. They must have had paperwork and deadlines and stress and go home miserable, right? Surely they didn't just have fun for a living? It seems like they did. "One of my favorite examples of ," Dippold said, "is when we were all sitting on the couches in the writer's room looking at a photo album on the projection screen of us just sitting on the same couches the day before." When their boss, legendary comedy producer Michael Schur, caught them doing this, " sighed and went into his office. It was quiet and then I think Alan said, "He doesn't even know this is our second time looking at this album."
Please, when I die, don't cremate me or bury me. Preserve my body until we have time travel and send me back to the Parks and Rec writing room so I can be in the couch photo album.
Top Image: NBCUniversal Television