Remember when you heard about Parks and Recreation? You saw Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, and Aziz Ansari on the promo, and you thought, "Yes! A cast I can get behind." Then, you watched the pilot, and like many others, you were gravely disappointed. It was like The Office, but decidedly more average. Occasional moments of hilarity stuck out, but for the most part, it was a mundane carbon copy of NBC's more successful sitcom.
Despite those poor marks, Parks and Recreation was renewed for a second season. We listened in on a conference call with Poehler (who plays Leslie Knope) and Ansari (who plays Tom Haverford) to see what they had to say about a new year in Pawnee.
We'll get to know the characters a little better this season.
Ansari said: "There's still so much to find out about these characters. In the second season, I think you learn so much more about me and Amy's characters, but also some of the characters we didn't get to see that much of in Season 1. Like Ron (Nick Offerman), there's a lot of really funny stuff with him."
Leslie will have a new love interest.
Poehler said: "This season she's trying to get over an unrequited love. Louis CK comes in for a couple episodes as a police officer who's interested in Leslie." But she also said that Leslie will struggle with the new attention: "Leslie decides she's over Mark and this guy that Louis plays, Dave, he comes in and he really likes her ... I think Leslie's having a hard time figuring out how to act around a person who's very available and into her ... Her feelings for Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider) are not completely over."
We'll see a different side of Tom.
Poehler said: "You're going to see a couple of times this season that Tom shows he's a real softie." And Ansari mentioned Tom's personal life: "We'll find out more about his relationship with his wife."
New storylines will pop up.
Ansari said: "The third episode is ... Leslie and I judge a beauty pageant in Pawnee, and that one's really fun. In the fourth episode, Leslie has a romantic interest, Louis CK's character, and she's getting ready for a date with him ... The other storyline is myself and the rest of the people in the office digging up dirt on each other ... we find some really interesting things out about everybody."
Comparisons to The Office are flattering.
Poehler said: "We are both huge fans of The Office so anytime we're mentioned in the same sentence as them, it's a compliment. But I think people will see, this season, what the show is and how it's different ... in its own way."
Honestly, we're still on the fence about this show. We can only hope that this season's scripts are good enough to set the show apart from its Scranton-based parent, and great enough to get us watching again. We know the cast is phenomenal -- the show better catch up quick!