Why was a Joe Biden cameo on Parks and Recreation filmed last summer kept secret until now? Because of the Equal Time rule, which says that anytime a network gives free airtime to one candidate, it’s obligated to give equal time to the opposing candidate, which means that — had the Joe Biden cameo been revealed — Parks and Recreation would’ve had to give equal time to Paul Ryan. That actually would’ve been AWESOME. Paul Ryan and Rob Lowe hanging out at the gym? Ryan could’ve trained Chris Traeger in the ways of the P90X.
Unfortunately, at the time it was filmed, Paul Ryan had not yet been announced as the VP candidate, and Parks and Recreation show runner Michael Schur thought it too daunting to attempt to squeeze in a second scene retroactively, if it had come to that. As it is, a Joe Biden cameo — or “scenelet,” as Michael Schur is calling it — also sounds fun. It will air next week. In the scene — filmed in the ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — Leslie Knope hits on Biden, who she has had a crush on since the beginning of the show, via The NY Times.
As fans of the show know, Leslie, a hard-core Democrat and populist, idolizes Mr. Biden. “Our first joke way back had Leslie telling her friend Ann that her ideal man would have the brain of George Clooney and the body of Joe Biden,” Schur said. “For whatever reason, she has an irresistible attraction to the vice president in a movie-star kind of way.”
I’m going to assume, from this email from a Biden staffer on the Vice President’s behalf, that Knope also got Biden’s phone number in the scene.
“My whole family loves ‘Parks and Recreation’ and I had a great time filming that scene. It was a real honor that in my sitcom debut I got to meet someone like Leslie Knope, who believes so deeply in public service. She’s an example for men and women across the country that there’s no higher calling than helping other people. On a personal note, I’ll never figure out how Leslie Knope got my home phone number, but that really just shows how committed she is.”
A second scene was not filmed in the event that Obama lost the election, although a line referring to an unhappy outcome was filmed, just in case.