‘Parks and Rec’ Had to Rewrite Andy Scenes After Chris Pratt Got Jacked for the MCU
Here’s the thing about Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation — he’s a schlub! A doughy, out-of-shape, junk-food-inhaling, beer-chugging, scraggly-bearded butterball. A lovable butterball, perhaps, but a butterball nonetheless. Not even the buff Chris Traeger can whip that barrel belly into shape.
But as chronicled in the soon-to-be-published MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios (via an old Rolling Stone interview), actor Chris Pratt’s transformation into Peter Quill — that’s Star-Lord to you, pal — caused some problems on the set of the Pawnee sitcom. What the hell were producers supposed to do with the lead singer of MouseRat when he looked like this?
“It’s very hard to explain why Andy Dwyer now looks like a superhero,” lamented producer Mike Schur. “There’s a scene that we wrote for the premiere (of Parks and Rec’s final season) where it called for him to take his shirt off. We realized we couldn’t do it — (he’d) look ridiculous. Andy is not a guy who has a perfectly constructed human form with ripped abs and gigantic biceps.”
The irony is that Pratt himself suggested making extra weight part of the character’s DNA. “I’m not saying that fat is funny, but misplaced confidence is funny, and Andy is someone who is not fit but walks around like he is,” Pratt told Men’s Fitness. So after landing the role, he went back and “told Mike Schur I wanted to gain 20 to 30 pounds. He said great. I’d found this niche: fat and funny.”
After his adventures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pratt was no longer fat, but he was still funny. “Chris Pratt himself has exactly the same happy-go-lucky attitude that he has always had,” Schur said. “It’s utterly impossible to tell that a single thing in his life has changed.”
Except for the abs. Parks and Recs’ solution? In some episodes, it was to dress Pratt in oversized flannel shirts with colored t-shirts underneath. The combo was enough to give the illusion that Andy was still porky — maybe in a little better shape than in his pre-April Ludgate years but the suggestion of ample love handles remains.
But was that enough to get through multiple episodes? Apparently not. In Season 6, the Parks and Rec writers addressed Andy’s weight loss head-on. The reason for his new appearance was explained in this tidy bit of exposition with Ben.
“So the only thing you did was stop drinking beer?”
“Yeah,” Andy confirms. “I lost 50 pounds in one month.”
“How much beer were you drinking?” boggles Ben.
“I know, right?” Andy chuckles. “Probably too much.”