Why 1 ‘Parks and Rec’ Star Thinks the Series Got ‘Stronger Every Season’

The hit series Parks and Recreation has been off the air for several years. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still popular. It’s found a new life on streaming services as fans introduce others to it or engage in a rewatch of the comedy. Discover which Parks and Rec star likes to do the same and why they feel the show only improved throughout its run.

‘Parks and Recreation’ aired for 7 seasons 

'Parks and Recreation' Season 6
‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 | Colleen Hayes/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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The comedy premiered on NBC in 2009. Following employees of the parks department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, the series was just as much about friendships as it was a local government office. For seven seasons, fans watched as their favorite characters worked on projects big and small.

Parks and Rec starred (from left, above) Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Retta, and Jim O’Heir. Other multi-season starring cast members include Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, who exited during season 6. After ending its run in 2015, the cast returned for a special episode in 2020.

Jim O’Heir calls it a ‘comfort show’

Jim O'Heir
Jim O’Heir | Mike Windle/Getty Images for Variety

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many have turned to old favorite TV shows to ease stress and uncertainty. O’Heir counts himself among them. “I can put on certain shows in the background, and they just help,” he told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “I don’t even need to be watching them. I’ve already seen every episode 100 times.”

The actor named Golden Girls and another NBC mockumentary sitcom, The Office, among his “comfort shows.” And though he says it’s “tough for me to watch me,” he’ll also do that with Parks and Rec. “It is painful,” O’Heir said, “But I can watch the show. And I do because the writing and the other actors are just so gosh darn brilliant.”

He feels ‘Parks and Rec’ increased in quality

O’Heir says he’s “blown away” by the quality of Parks and Rec. “Coming from a guy on the show, it’s going to sound a little biased…but I think it gets stronger every season,” he said. “And as an avid TV fan, since when I was a little kid, I think that doesn’t happen when the show goes on for a lot of years.”

“You can have the occasional season where you go, ooh, that was not their normal stuff. I don’t think we ever had that,” O’Heir continued. He concedes, “I’m sure people would disagree with me out there.”

O’Heir added, “I’m not knocking other shows. It just happens. The voice changes. [With] Parks, it just got stronger and stronger.”

Why O’Heir thinks the show maintained its success

So what’s different about Parks and Recreation. “We have Mike Schur, who co-created the show, and he never left us,” said O’Heir. “A lot of times where the show takes off, the creators get so many other opportunities…And Mike had that happen. He [co-created] Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but he sent it off with the Dan Goor, and Dan took care of it.”

“Mike never left us, so we never lost our voice,” he continued. “And I think it became stronger every single year.” O’Heir added, “Mike is so protective. Mike Schur’s so protective of our show and of us as a cast.”

“So I love that people turn it on, and they love it,” O’Heir finished. “Whether they’re watching it or it’s just characters they know and love that are in the background that gives them a better day. That’s amazing.”