It's not every day you see someone lose part of his moustache during a "love act" or instruct small children that "Capitalism is God's way of determining who is smart and who is poor." And it's not every day you see the return after two low-hyped seasons (and an embarrassing bump from the fall schedule) to a lot of buzz and positivity, thanks to many critics who know "TV's most improved sitcom" and "the best comedy on television" when they see it.
Such is the case for NBC's Parks & Recreation, which premieres its third season tonight. I sat down with stars Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman to get the scoop on how the show started kicking so much ass since we last saw it, what's ahead in the new season and some talk about Rob Lowe's "hog," which may or may not be a euphemism for his penis...
Check out the exclusive video interview above, in which I also get Amy and Nick's tips on raising two boys. (Ron Swanson = God of meat-eating child rearing so listen up, parentals! We even have a chart.)
When asked about the show's creative upswing, Nick Offerman tells me: "It has always felt like an all-star team, to make a baseball analogy. And by season three, we figured out the batting order, and I'm batting eighth unfortunately, but I love third base so I'm not squawking! But it really feels like we figured out how to get all the pistons firing. And so we loved putting together these new episodes, and we can't wait for everybody to see them because we're over the moon about them."
In the third season premiere tonight, you'll see that all the original castmembers you former fans already knew and loved are joined by newcomers Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, who only make a good thing better. And Amy teases that there may be some lovin' in the works for her character Leslie and for Adam's character Ben.
"When Ben first comes to town, he's a lot of bad news, and he's a real threat to Leslie," Amy explains. "They butt heads for a long time in trying to stake claim, but I think Leslie soon realizes that Ben starts to like Pawnee, and Pawnee is the town that the show takes place in, and Pawnee is like Leslie's kid, so it's like ‘If you're nice to my kid, you suddenly are attractive to me.' "
As for what's ahead with Rob Lowe's character, he'll start dating Ann (Rashida Jones), which is a hilarious and adorable dynamic. And Nick teases (in all senses of the word): "A little later in the season we see Rob Lowe's hog. He has this pot bellied pig that he brought to the set. That we thought was so cute...That's right he shows his hog on the show...Oh no I meant his penis...It's a really cute pig." Either way, I'm frightened and intrigued.
As for this season's episode with returning guest star Megan Mullally (who plays Ron Swanson's she-devil librarian love interest Tammy), buckle up and have a vat of Purell and sanitizing eyewash on stand by.
"The things that Nick and Megan have to do...They have this almost like a drug trip where they just can't get enough of each other," Amy explains. "And I want you to know that as disgusting as it was to watch as a viewer, it was doubly disgusting to watch as a fellow actor. There were many times where I had to turn away."
"Ron loses part of his moustache during a love act," Nick adds. "I think that sums it up."
Give Parks & Recreation another shot tonight and let me know what you think via Twitter (@kristindsantos). The first six episodes of the new season are not to be missed.