Getting to know 'Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America'
October 13th, 2011
04:35 PM ET

Getting to know 'Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America'

If you watched last Thursday’s episode of “Parks and Recreation,” you saw the release of Leslie Knope’s complete guide to Pawnee called “Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America.”

We wanted to chat with Knope herself about this extensive text on Pawnee's history and the sites to see, but she wasn't available. So, we went with "Parks and Rec" co-creator Michael Schur.

Schur explained that writing a book about Pawnee "seemed like a natural fit," since they have "a lot of back-stories for different aspects of the town that we don’t have time to put in the episodes."

The basic idea behind it "is to show how much the character really truly loves the town,” he added. “There’s a lot of hometown pride, more than most people probably have.”

So the “Parks and Recreation” creative team put together all the information and art they had on Pawnee from the series. The book is divided into sections, some of which are on the Pawnee government and what entertainment venues are available - such as the lot behind Ann Perkins’ house. Some of the cast members, like Nick Offerman and Ben Schwartz, wrote some of the text for their own characters.

After doing so much exhaustive research, they wound up with future storylines. “Some things that came right out of the book led directly to episodes of the show,” he said. “It definitely helped shape the season.”

So can we expect to see the heir of “Kernston’s Rubber Nipples” to show up? It's a possibility.

The book really is a funny read, but if I had to pick the top five things I LOL'ed at in this book, these are it:

  1. Town Slogans Through the Years: In the very first few pages of the book is a pictorial list of Pawnee’s past and present town slogans. Some of them are “Welcome German Soldiers” (1939-1945); “Birthplace of Julia Roberts” (1985-1988); and “Home of the World Famous Julia Roberts Lawsuit” (1988-2001).
  2. The Solitude of Nature, by Ron Swanson: In which Ron recounts his month in the woods. “I thought about history and America....Oh Christ, this is pointless. Writing ruins everything … Pawnee is a nice town, not too big or small, not too big for its britches and there are deer I can shoot, and that’s all I need,” Ron writes.
  3. The Best Concert Venues in Pawnee, by Andy Dwyver: It’s not really the list of concert venues that caught my attention but the list of every single name Andy’s band “Mouse Rat” has been called. Some of them are: “God Hates Figs”; “Department of Homeland Obscurity”; “Just The Tip”; “Nothing Rhymes with Orange”; and “Nothing Rhymes with Blorange.”
  4. Pawnee in 2116, by Chris Traeger: “Let me just say this book is literally one of the greatest ideas anyone has ever had on Earth."
  5. Eagleton. Welcome to the worst city on earth: Leslie’s pure loathing for Eagleton (aka Loserton, Evilton, Greedyton) is definitely not disguised here. “Official City Drink: A steaming hot cup of their own pee,” she writes. Even though we now know that Leslie was born in Eagleton and not Pawnee (aka Blah-nee, Yawnee, Scrawnee), it’s unlikely that her feelings have changed.
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Filed under: Books • Fall TV • television

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Observer

    Why is this show even on?
    Seems like EVERY show starring SNL alums is completely retarded.

    October 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |

    You all know there is a real town named Pawnee in South Texas. Have not seen the show, but it cannot be as good as the real thing.

    October 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anomic Office Drone

    Parks and Recreation is one of the most consistently funny TV comedies on the air today.

    October 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pliny

    Ed may be a retard.

    But that puts him miles ahead of Portal Potty and the idiot-Traci.

    October 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vanessa

    Personally I love it I always recommendedit to frinds and family I think Amy poehler should of won the emmy they robed her I mean it that's talent to make this type of show funny I only have good things to say about this show its my favorite! I love ben and Leslie!

    October 14, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. MacTavishMan


    October 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MacTavishMan

    Sadie, Ed is tongue-in-cheek. C'mon. Parody show = parody comments.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nina

    I agree with you ed. This pro India show makes it seem ok to outsource our jobs. This is not a comedy. It is a realistic portrayal of how our economy is being decimated by the country of India.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ed

    It should be banned from tv. All of us Occupy Wallstreet dudes need to protest and boycott this anti us show.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ed

    No way hoesay ! You are all nasty trolls ! I bet you are indians too. The very worst kind – the native american ones from INDIA. This si a devil worshiping show that glamourizes people from India.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sadie

    Not to mention Ed, you used the "unAmerican" way of spelling "glamorize."

    October 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sadie

    Lol know nothing about anything, do you? Native American Indians are not the same thing as Indians from India

    Parks & Rec is a great show, I wish more people watched it. It definitely deserved the Best Comedy Emmy over Modern Family, even though I also love MF. Rooting for some good nominations at the Golden Globes next year!

    October 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. asil

    ed, your attempt at humor and/or political discourse and/or trolling is so lame that you have scared away all the other commenters.

    October 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ed

    Pawnee is an indian name and all our jobs are being outsourced to INDIA! We need to band together in unity and protest this show. Shows that glamourize people from India are unAmerican.

    October 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      You have your Indians mixed up; Pawnee is an American Native or Indian name and Indians from India are totally different kinds of Indians.

      October 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |

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