America’s number one fan (what with its, ”small towns, and big cities, and real people, and delicious beverages and hot guys”) stopped by the American History Museum. Pawnee, Ind.’s newest city councilmember, Leslie Knope herself came to the nation’s capital to see, among other things, Lincoln’s pocket watch, the Star Spangled Banner, the Hope Diamond and, of course, her boyfriend Ben Wyatt.
Shooting in the “America on the Move” hall, the cast and crew of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” proved an even bigger draw than the locomotives Friday morning. Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt were all on hand to film Knope’s reunion with her now DC-based boyfriend. While Knope, endlessly enthusiastic about everything, is no doubt impressed with all the museum has to offer, Poehler says she was, too on her first ever visit to the Smithsonian.
“To go in, in this capacity, and shoot in the Smithsonian is really cool,” says Poehler. A packed schedule of filming has kept Poehler jumping from the Lincoln Memorial, the Hay-Adams Hotel, the White House and the Mall.
On set, she jokes, “What I’ve seen so far is what I’ve been standing in front of and I think what I’ve been standing in front of is a giant locomotive.”
About to wander the museum with his 40 spare minutes, Scott says, “I haven’t been here since I was 12, so I’m actually very excited.”
He says with a laugh, “When I was 12, my main interest was the area with the television history and seeing the MASH setup and Archie Bunker’s chair. My horizons haven’t broadened that much but I’d like to think that I’m interested in a bit more than that now.”
Impressed with what she’s been able to see, Poehler says, “The coolest thing about being in D.C. is that we’ve been shooting all over and the worst part is that we’ve been spending about ten minutes in every location.”
“My character, Leslie Knope, has to be impressed with D.C. when she arrives and that’s very easy to do because D.C. is very impressive,” says Poehler, noting the list of Hill VIPs who joined the cast Thursday, including Senators John McCain, Olympia Snowe and Barbara Boxer.
The episode in production is set to air in late September. The fifth season opener focuses on Wyatt’s new career hobnobbing with the Hill glitterati as a campaign adviser, heading up a congressional campaign of a fictional politician.
Not short on her own political ambition, Knope still finds herself a little intimidated by the new setting. “She feels like a little bit of a country mouse when she gets here,” says Poehler, “The Indiana parks Department are kind of overwhelmed by the size of D.C.”
But don’t count on that to stop her plans to take Washington by storm. Poehler says, “Leslie’s wanted to run for president since she was eight.”
The city seems to be agreeing with the cast and Scott didn’t rule out (and didn’t really rule in, either) the possibility of future filming, ”We like being here, maybe it will happen.”
Asked what object she would pick to represent today’s society in the Smithsonian collection, Poehler says, “My first thought was a Dorito, but maybe that’s just because I’m hungry right now.” Reconsidering, she adds, “I’m gonna say, maybe those baby diapers that look like jeans. Or maybe a snuggie or slanket, one or the other.”
Our vote? “Parks and Recreation” show paraphernalia to join Archie Bunker’s chair.
“That would be amazing,” says Poehler, “For in any way, for any part of Parks and Rec to be represented here would be really, really cool.”