Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope will be a city council member – or not – by the end of this season! At the show’s PaleyFest12 panel on Tuesday, executive producer Mike Schur assured the audience that “we’ll find out [the outcome of the election] in the finale.”
To ensure the reveal remains under wraps, “We shot two endings,” said Schur. “Partly to hedge our bets in case we change our minds and partly to throw snoopers off.”
“It was really touching and moving to do both the acceptance and the concession speeches,” adds star Amy Poehler.
Before then though, Paul Rudd will be back in Episode 20 – written and directed by Poehler – for a big city council debate. And he’s not the only one Leslie will face off against. Three other candidates – a porn star, an animal rights lover and a gun advocate played by Friday Night Lights‘ Brad Leland – will be introduced.
Other topics covered during the PaleyFest panel discussion:
• More fun guest casting: Glee‘s Mike O’Malley appears in the second to last episode as the owner of a “crummy van rental place,” revealed Schur. The Newport Campaign offers him money to park his vans somewhere so Leslie can’t get seniors to the polls.
• A good sign for sweethearts Leslie and Ben: Schur doesn’t believe that all the tension dissipates once you get a couple together. “I feel like that’s silly, and you shouldn’t worry about that,” he said. “It’s all about execution.” Added Poehler, “Ben is the love of Leslie’s life for sure. I hope Ben and Leslie are a team from now on.”
• Elsewhere on the romance front, Thursday’s episode will feature more Tom and Ann action. The unlikely couple came about because the writers wanted to do “a comedy relationship.” Also look for more mixing of characters in the upcoming episodes, including some Tom/April and Ron/Chris scenes.
• Somewhere, Ron Swanson is breathing a sigh of relief. “I believe that we’ve seen the last of the Tammys for this year,” confirmed Schur, before adding that Ron’s mother and ex-wives will “be back at some point.”
• Ben Schwartz did find time in his House of Lies schedule to film a scene as Jean-Ralphio, but Schur said it might be left on the cutting room floor.
• The last two episodes of the season will find Rob Lowe’s Chris hitting rock bottom.
• Although the cast and producers credit Chris Pratt with some of the show’s best improvised lines — “Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here and it says you could have network connectivity problems,” for one — Pratt says he has no plans to write an episode. And what about seeing his real life wife Anna Faris on the show? “If they give us another season, I think it’s going to happen,” he replies. So will there be a Season 5? “We’re cautiously optimistic,” says Schur.
• One of the original titles floated for the series: The Education of Leslie Knope