When news broke that both Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe would be stepping away from “Parks and Recreation” permanently midway through the comedy’s upcoming sixth season, it became clear that Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) would find herself adrift without her best friend Ann Perkins.
Who might fill the void in Leslie’s life? Executive producer Mike Schur spoke with TV Line, telling the website that the series will “position different people to fill in parts of her emotional world. It won’t be just one person.”
Schur continues, “There’s something that April (Aubrey Plaza) does in the [London-set, Sept. 26] premiere that’s sort of a harbinger of things to come. And we’re bringing Retta a lot more to the forefront this season. Donna and Leslie will have some good connections and some good screen time together.”
But Schur is realistic about that fact that Ann’s exit won’t lead to a simple plugging of a hole with another character. He notes that by the time Jones departs in February, Ann and Leslie will have spent “103 episodes interacting and become friends. We’re not just going to suddenly pretend that a new actor can come in and be, like, Leslie’s new best friends. It’s going to be people she already knows and relies on and cares about.”
The way Schur tells it, Poehler’s character is really going to need the rest of the “Parks” department by her side after Ann takes her leave: “The biggest personal story that Leslie goes through this season is dealing with her friend leaving.”
Season 6 of “Parks and Recreation” premieres with a special one-hour episode on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. on NBC.