'Parks & Rec' pays return visit to Indianapolis
Indianapolis showed so much Hoosier Hospitality, a national TV show decided to come back a second time. This go around, the star of NBC's "Parks and Recreation" and her supporting cast, which also includes local kids, comes to Indy on a quest to get fit with the NFL.
The fictional Indiana town of Pawnee decided to come back to the real city of Indianapolis to film another episode.
"Last time we were here, you performed, you did a scene with Newt Gingrich, your ex-husband," said Amy Poehler, referring to Eyewitness News Anchor Andrea Morehead's special guest appearance on the show with Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich back in January 2013.
Poehler plays character Leslie Knope, who finds herself in the middle of the football field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I think you're gonna see some athletic prowess that maybe you didn't see the first time. I think you're gonna see some amazing passing and, uh, some great defense," said Poehler.
Show producers say they knew they wanted to come back. This time, they added some new local faces to the script.
"They just had me kind of high-five the kids with Amy who's on the council on the show," said Mayor Greg Ballard.
Ballard says the show investing time and travel to the Midwest proves the city is primed for a starring role as a competitive player in the production industry.
"I think the state of Indiana can really do well as far as a Hollywood movie set or a TV set on an ongoing basis," said Ballard.
The storyline of Thursday's Parks & Rec episode incorporates Colts offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo and a returning cameo appearance by wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
"It's a great cast. Everybody seems to love coming here and, as we say, our house is your house," said Wayne.
Quarterback Andrew Luck played himself again. He took time out to greet some of the local kids who were also part of the show.
"Amy's character is always trying to improve our fictional town of Pawnee - it's the fourth fattest city, we say - so we've always said we should try to do an NFL "Play 60" thing and for us that's great," said show producer Morgan Sackett.
It's a chance for the show to highlight the NFL's national youth health and fitness campaign. Colts punter Pat McAfee put together some interview segments for NFL.com.
"Adam Scott and Amy Poehler had no idea who I was. They didn't find out until after the camera stopped, the whole interview they were literally confused, they were asking me the entire time who the hell I was, which is good, which is good," said McAfee.
It's because of that style of comedic charm and quick wit that Parks & Rec has won legions of fans and now the Colts have some new Hollywood fans, too.
"I'm really excited to meet Andrew Luck, now that's who I'm excited about," said Aubrey Plaza, who plays April Ludgate on the show.
The Parks and Recreation episode airs Thursday, November 20 at 8:30 p.m. on Channel 13.