Chris Pratt is a massive blockbuster star who has become the face of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films and the Jurassic World movies also among memorable voice roles as Emmet Brickowski in The Lego Movie and most recently as Barley Lightfoot in Pixar’s Onward. But it was his breakout role as the lovable Andy Dwyer on NBC’s Parks and Recreation that really started it all for the funny actor.
Andy Dwyer is an adorable idiot who starts off as the boyfriend to Rashida Jones’ Ann Perkins. He falls down a pit behind Ann’s house and breaks both his legs, leading Ann to seek out Pawnee Indiana’s Parks and Recreation department to get it filled. The incident sets off a few of the series’ key dynamics, including Leslie Knope and Ann’s friendship where Amy Poehler’s character has called the nurse things like a “poetic, noble land mermaid” or “elusive, runaway hot air balloon." Andy meets his future wife Audrey Plaza’s April Ludgate and good friend Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson.
The series was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur of SNL, The Office and The Good Place, which means the actors were often given room to make their characters their own and improvised a lot. Chris Pratt notably brought a lot of his own humor to Andy Dwyer over the course of the series’ seven seasons. Did you know he improvised these hilarious Parks and Recreation moments?
Chris Pratt Invented The Word “Douché” For Andy In A Scene With April
In Season 1 of Parks and Recreation, the cast was still finding their footing in the comedy show and their characters. The series hadn’t exactly found its rhythm yet but the hilarious pairing between Andy and April did make its way in the show from the beginning. In “Rock Show”, the seventh and finale episode of the first season, the pair’s budding chemistry is apparent in a scene where they take turns roasting each other. Andy asks April why she’s not out on a Friday night and April calls out his band Mouse Rat for not having any hit songs for the fundraiser being put on. Check out the scene below:
The exchange ends in Andy making up the word “douché” in the way that “touché” is supposed to be used to end the incredibly awkward conversation. It’s one of the first conversations between the couple and as Retta revealed in a cast interview, that’s one of her favorite improv moments of his.
Chris Pratt Really Went Naked For One Take With Amy Poehler
There’s a scene in a Season 2 episode called “Kaboom” where Chris Pratt’s Andy decides to surprise Ann Perkins by showing up at her doorstep naked and with flowers misreading her calling him over to his house as a hookup. But in the scene, it’s Amy Poehler’s Leslie who opens it instead to Andy in his full birthday suit. As Chris Pratt has detailed, he was given skin-colored underwear to put on during the sequence that would be blurred out in post-production to make him appear naked.
But since they’d done a lot of takes and Amy Poehler’s reaction wasn’t hitting the mark, Pratt decided to actually go naked for a take – eliciting a very real reaction that made it into the episode. Pratt received a warning letter from NBC’s HR office condemning him for flashing his manhood to Poehler without her consent, since he only got approval from the boom operator before going for it.
Andy’s Uncanny Road House Reenactment
Jumping ahead to Season 4, fans may remember a scene in “The Debate” episode where Andy Dwyer decides to entertain Leslie Knope’s supporters with reenactments of his favorite movies when her televised debate gets disrupted. Chris Pratt does an engaging telling of the 1989 Patrick Swayze film Road House and then Rambo during the episode’s credits. You can see the Rambo scene below:
In an EW interview with Michael Schur about the episode, Parks and Recreation’s co-creator said Pratt decided pretty quickly that Andy would reenact Road House. A writer started to watch the movie and write the sequence before realizing Pratt would be the perfect person to create the scene. The actor worked on it with the writer in his dressing room before he took to the set.
When Andy Thinks Leslie Has “Connectivity Problems”
One of the top tier episodes in Parks of Recreation is “Flu Season” in Season Three. In the episode, Amy Poehler’s Leslie and many of the characters get the flu during a day when she is supposed to give a speech. There’s riches of great moments that fill the 21 minutes, but one standout line is when Andy is trying to be helpful and google her symptoms. Check it out below:
The line was not scripted at all. Chris Pratt thought of it on the spot while the camera happened to be on as Michael Schur tells it. The Parks and Recreation creator has said he thinks its the funniest joke in the whole show that made him kind of mad. He actually almost cut it out of the show out of spite. Another great improvised line in "Flu Season" comes from Rob Lowe's Chris Traeger, who says "stop pooping" into the mirror as the usually "finely tuned microchip" combats the sickness.
When Everyone Was Drunk Off Snake Juice That Was Improvised Too
It’s not just Chris Pratt who brought his A+ improv game to Parks and Recreation. The whole cast had their own moments of genius throughout the show and in-between all the funny lines already written in the script. One standout sequence in the show that was entirely improvised was in a Season 3 episode called “The Fight,” which is about Ann and Leslie’s quarrel that escalates during a night out where everyone tries Tom’s “Snake Juice” and gets incredibly drunk. Check it out below:
Along with Chris Pratt hilariously drunkenly singing being improv, much of the cast is really just playing around and it’s all-around comedic gold. It goes to show just how talented Pratt was from the start before nabbing roles in tentpole blockbusters. You can stream Parks and Recreation now on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
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