“Parks and Recreation” producer Michael Schur was familiar with Chris Pratt’s acting talents specifically because his wife, J.J. Philbin, was a writer and producer on the series “The O.C.,” the show Pratt was on for eight episodes. And although Pratt was brought on to play Andy, Ann’s boyfriend, for only a few episodes, it was the scene when he listed off a series of potential names for his band where it became apparent he was going to be a series regular.
Chatting with Uproxx, “Parks and Recreation” Schur was asked when he realized what kind of talent he had in Pratt. He mentioned the scene in Season 1, Episode 6 (“Rock Show”) when Andy was having trouble (one of many times) figuring out what his band’s name should be. Turns out, Pratt’s improv skills were what caught Schur’s attention. “The real explosive breakthrough, for me, was in ‘Rock Show’ when he did his talking head about all of the former names of his band. He improvised about 30 more than we’d written and they were all great,” Schur said, also revealing that Pratt wrote his own “Andy” love song to sing to Ann.
When looking back at even the first few episodes where Pratt played Andy on “Parks and Recreation,” it’s very easy to see how comedically talented he was, even back then. However, when it comes to him eventually becoming the current action star that we see him as today, his TV bosses, when asked if they are surprised, have shrugged that off. When asked if he was told about Pratt’s success back in the “Parks and Recreation” days, Schur replied, “I would’ve kept looking at that person, expectantly, waiting for him or her to tell me something surprising.”