Rashida Jones wants us to know that Parks and Recreation is not The Office's stepchild. But Jones says that big things are coming this season, both for that desolate pit and for the love lives of both Ann and Leslie (Amy Poehler). Jones, 33, tells TVGuide.com about Fred Armisen's guest stint, a possible crossover with The Office and her memories of family friend Michael Jackson.
TVGuide.com: How is the show different this season?
Jones: I hope that people who watch The Office can now see that it's definitely different, but it's the kind of thing that you would want to watch if you like that show. Hopefully there's enough distance now. It's like becoming friends with an ex once you've had a little time after you broke up. Hopefully we'll be able to be friends now.
TVGuide.com: Ann and Mark (Paul Schneider) have been getting close. How is that going to progress?
Jones: It seems like Ann and Mark are spending more time together. She likes him more than she expected to. She's going to give it a shot. In a way, anything is better than Andy [Chris Pratt].
TVGuide.com: Is that going to affect her relationship with Leslie?
Jones: There's always going to be a tiny bit of that tension, but it is something that they discussed ad nauseum in the first couple of episodes to make sure it was not a big deal. Leslie is definitely going to be moving on in the next couple episodes. They're decidedly more mature than I would ever be about something like that.
TVGuide.com: Do you think there's a chance that Ann and Andy will get back together?
Jones: I do. Andy is having a tough time right now realizing what good care Ann took of him, maybe too good of care. The truth is that they do love each other, but I think there's too much of a son-mother relationship with them right now. If they can somehow shift that, I think there's still love with them. Definitely.
TVGuide.com: What's going on with the pit?
Jones: We definitely get some progression when it comes with the pit. We get a little good news; we get more movement than we expected to get so quickly. We try to be a little proactive about it.
TVGuide.com: That park is never going to be built.
Jones: Maybe, maybe not. Based on the way things really happen, you're probably right.
TVGuide.com: Have they talked about a crossover with The Office?
Jones: No, it would be so weird. It would be like the Twilight Zone with me involved. We've never talked about it. I think [executive producers] Mike Schur and Greg Daniels are so committed to the realistic element that I'm the red herring there. As long as I'm not involved, I feel like they could do a little crossing over.
TVGuide.com: Fred Armisen is guest-starring this season. Who does he play?
Jones: He's one of the funniest people on the planet. He plays the head of a small Venezuelan town's parks department, and he comes to visit. They're like our sister city and we have total misconceptions about him and his department. We think they're small-town-small-minded, and they turn out to be a lot more sophisticated than us.
TVGuide.com: Your dad produced Michael Jackson's Thriller album; did you ever get a chance to meet him?
Jones: I did when I was a kid. He was around a lot. My dad worked with him since he was 18 years old.
TVGuide.com: How did you feel about his passing?
Jones: It was definitely sad. I felt like he had been publicly made into a bit of an animal, which I never really liked and I thought was pretty tragic. He took his own missteps in his own life, but I think as a public we were kind of ungenerous about him and his own isolation. It's been making me sad for 10 years. In a sense, I'm devastated by his loss, but I felt like he was unhappy.
TVGuide.com: At least now he's being celebrated. It's sad that it comes with his death.
Jones: Right, well that's the thing that bums me out so much. Why can't we celebrate our heroes while they're still alive?
Parks and Recreation airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.
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