A ‘Parks and Recreation’ Character May Have Appeared in ‘The Good Place’ Finale
The Good Place had a slew of A-list guest stars. Maya Rudolph played The Judge and Adam Scott played Bad Place torturer Trevor, to name just a few. But one cameo from another Parks and Recreation star may have been more than just the actor. It may have been an actual resident of Pawnee in the afterlife.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for The Good Place.]
The Good Place and Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur held an AMA on Reddit on Oct. 29. Answering questions about both shows, he revealed the Good Place finale cameo may have been a Parks and Recreation actor playing his character from that show.
Mike Schur created both ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘The Good Place’
Schur was a writer for Saturday Night Live, The Comeback and the American The Office. He created Parks and Recreation in 2009 with The Office creator Greg Daniels. The show was built around the local Parks and Recreation office of Pawnee, Indiana. Amy Poehler played Leslie Knope. Nick Offerman played her boss Ron Swanson.
After Parks and Recreation ended in 2015, Schur created The Good Place. Launched in 2016, The Good Place was a comedy about the afterlife. Four souls (Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil and Manny Jacinto) find themselves playing afterlife games with Michael (Ted Danson). Janet (D’Arcy Carden) helps answer questions.
Was this a secret ‘Parks and Recreation’ cameo on ‘The Good Place’?
Schur decided to end The Good Place in season 4. He’d decided he’d told the story he was telling. The finale featured the final moments of all the afterlife characters. Each character decided at various times to voluntarily end their afterlife, having experienced everything they could imagine.
While making a to do list of all the things she wanted to learn in life, Tahani (Jamil) encountered Offerman making a chair. After marveling at the craftsmanship of a chair, Offerman declared, “I have nothing left to teach you.” Thus Tehani could check “Become a master woodworker” off her list.
Schur said Offerman could have been a generic woodworker, but he could have also been Ron Swanson. The Parks and Recreation finale did hint at Ron’s future, but Ron would die eventually. By the end of The Good Place, the characters had spent infinite time in the afterlife so Ron could have continued woodworking in The Good Place.
“Nick was credited in the finale, I think, as ‘Woodworker,’ because we wanted it to be ambiguous whether it was Nick or Ron,” Schur wrote. “I’ll leave the answer to you to decide.”
Ron Swanson’s craftsmanship
In addition to running the Parks and Recreation department, the show established Ron’s many craftsman skills. In his past, Ron worked in a sheet metal factory and a leather tannery. He practices woodworking, fishing, hunting and other outdoors skills.
These reflect Offerman’s real-life skills, too. Offerman founded Offerman Woodshop which makes furniture and boats. Offerman wrote the book Good Clean Fun in which he described his passion for woodworking. He also hosts the craftsman competition Making It where other craftsmen get to show off their skills. The woodworker’s description of Tehani’s chair certainly sounds like it could be either Ron or Nick.
“These spindles are gorgeous, and there’s almost a feeling of musculature to this transition,” the woodworker says. “This under-bevel is a great trick. It really makes it feel lighter, while leaving you plenty of beef to carve. This is as good a chair as I’ve seen.”