The Best ‘Parks and Recreation’ Scenes That Were Totally Improvised

Parks and Recreation was the modern day sitcom we all needed. Now that the show has come to end, we’ve learned plenty of secrets behind some of the most memorable humor. And surprisingly, several scenes — some of which were the show’s funniest — were completely improvised.

The 'Parks and Rec.' cast
The ‘Parks and Rec.’ cast | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

The cast revealed that some of the best scenes weren’t scripted

In 2012, the Parks and Rec. cast members united for a PaleyFest panel that discussed the ins and outs of the popular show. They revealed that, though most jokes that appeared in the episodes were actually written into the show, there were several scenes and one-liners that were totally improvised — some of which turned into the most iconic scenes.

The cast revealed that one of Leslie Knope’s lines, during which she calls herself a “master debater” was actually a joke fed to her by Pratt; it wasn’t written into the script. And it turns out several of Pratt’s lines and scenes were improvised.  

'Parks and Recreation' panel discussion
The ‘Parks and Rec.’ cast often spoke about the show during panels. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

When Andy tried to diagnose Leslie

Producer Mike Schur once called Pratt’s computer line the “funniest” line the show has ever seen. He noted that it made him “furious” as a writer, since it was so incredibly clever and he hadn’t thought of it himself.

When Leslie has the flu, the team is working hard to get her to feel better in time for the Harvest Festival. After Leslie and Ben’s scene ends, the cameras continue to roll, so Pratt (Andy Dwyer) takes it upon himself to look up her symptoms. “Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the [computer] thing up here, and it says you could have network connectivity problems.” Today, it’s one of the most memorable lines of the show.

When the cast drank too much snake Juice

In season 3, Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) invites everyone to a party to promote his new alcoholic beverage, Snake Juice. The cast attends, but they quickly consume too much of the beverage, causing all of them to get, well, way too drunk. The cameras roll on each character as viewers see how the drink affected them. Andy starts singing, Ron starts dancing, and April starts speaking Spanish. But it turns out none of the characters’ reactions were scripted — it was all the cast members improving the way they might act if they had too much to drink.

When Andy did his hilarious ‘Road House’ impression

Apparently, Pratt was the improv king on Parks and Rec. Another one of Andy’s most well-known scenes occurred when the cable in his house went out, causing him to start acting out scenes from his favorite movies, including “Road House.” Though the producers originally only wanted Pratt to describe the scenes in his own words, he took it upon himself to physically act them out. Of course, that’s the cut the directors used.

Andy, who was the goofball shoe shiner, was originally supposed to be a guest star. But when producers saw how much viewers and the cast loved him and his hilarious personality, they signed Pratt on as a permanent character.