* ActorAllusion:
** A picture of [[Series/SaturdayNightLive Madam Secretary]] on [[Creator/AmyPoehler Leslie's]] wall. Similarly, when Leslie meets Joe Biden in the fifth season, she thinks he's going to ask her to replace "Madam Secretary".
** Tom's angry insistence on a high thread-count in his bedsheets is a reference to Creator/AzizAnsari's standup bit about buying Luxury Linens brand sheets, only to find out the package lied about the thread count.
** Tom tells Ann that he couldn't afford to get toppings on two pizzas, because he's not [[Film/TheSocialNetwork Zuckerberg]].
** Creator/NickOfferman is a real life carpenter, and his character Ron makes several references to projects he's actually performed.
** One episode has Donna live-[[Website/{{Twitter}} tweeting]] a movie, which is based on Retta's real life live-tweets of shows.
** Chris being shown in "Campaign Ad" to be a Japanophile, much like his role in ''Film/ThankYouForSmoking''.
** A [[http://i.imgur.com/EYzr3Tx.jpg very special trick-or-treater]] shows up on April and Andy's doorstep on Halloween night, 2023.
* ActorSharedBackground:
** Like Aziz Ansari, Tom is an Indian-American from South Carolina.
** April being of half-Puerto Rican descent. However, in the real-life case of Creator/AubreyPlaza, it's from her father's family, versus April's mother.
** Donna evidently has relatives in UsefulNotes/{{Liberia}}; so does Retta; Retta (full name Marietta Sirleaf) is related by marriage to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, first female President of Liberia.
* BannedInChina: Sony didn't dare to broadcast the infamous episode "Sister City" (which dealt with a very point-on parody of Venezuelan military government officers) on its Venezuelan feed, and it's very improbable that the series even airs on open networks.
* CastingGag: Ron Swanson's crazed bitch of an ex-wife Tammy Two is played by Megan Mullally, who is HappilyMarried to Nick Offerman.
* CreatorBacklash: It's hard to blame him considering how undercooked a character Mark was, and then later was pretty much the odd man out when the series found its identity in season 2, but Paul Schneider has been honest in his bitter feelings about his experience on the show and that it left him with a pretty sour outlook on mainstream acting as a whole (he now selects low-key roles in independent projects and takes a lot of time off in-between jobs). When the creators kept the door open for a return, he expressed an explicit lack of interest in ever reappearing again, which may explain why Mark slid into UnPerson territory from season 3 onward.
* TheDanza: Ann's friend Justin Anderson is played by Justin Theroux.
** "In Operation: Ann," one of Ann's potential suitors is a Phish fanatic named Harris, played by show writer Harris Wittels.
** Andrew Burlinson plays Burly, Andy's bandmate in Mouserat. Late in the series it is revealed Burly is short for Andrew Burlinson.
* {{Defictionalization}}:
** The Li'l Sebastian plush from "The Trial of Leslie Knope". An ad for it appeared in the bottom row of the original broadcast of the episode.
** Leslie originally wrote ''Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America'' in "Born & Raised". Show writer Nate [=DiMeo=] eventually wrote the real thing.
** Mayfair games is [[http://popwatch.ew.com/2015/01/16/parks-and-recreation-cones-of-dunshire-kickstarter/ working to make]] Ben's game ''Cones of Dunshire'' (from the episode of the same name) a real product.
* EnforcedMethodActing: Creator/ChrisPratt revealed that when he needed to show up naked at Ann's door in "Kaboom", he was failing to elicit a proper reaction from Amy Poehler until he went completely naked without telling her. Her wide-eyed shock is the take they used.
* FakeNationality: New Zealander Creator/LucyLawless as the American Diane Lewis. Lawless may have lived in America a while, but you can tell sometimes.
* FanNickname: "Tammy Zero" for Ron's mother.
* HeyItsThatGuy:
** Who knew that [[Film/StepBrothers Brennan Huff's]] {{Jerkass}} younger brother TookALevelInKindness, became a state auditor, and moved to Indiana?
** [[Series/BreakingBad Mike Ehrmantraut]] is Ben's father, in actor and in personality.
** Leslie's ex-boyfriend Justin wrote ''Film/IronMan2''.
** See also RealLifeRelative. In one case, the "Hey It's That Person" is more famous than most of the cast.
** Andy is Bright from ''Series/{{Everwood}}'', and in his off hours likes to [[Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy dance on dead planets]].
** [[Series/TheMiddleman Natalie]] [[Series/WhiteCollar Morales]] is Lucy, Tom's bartender girlfriend.
** Hey, it's [[Series/TheWestWing Sam Seaborn]] as the state auditor Chris!
** [[Film/TheAssassinationOfJesseJamesByTheCowardRobertFord Dick Liddil]] went straight and became a city planner?!
** Ann Perkins is Karen from ''Series/{{The Office|US}}''. Ann's real-life mother is diner waitress Norma from ''Series/TwinPeaks'', while her father is musician Sir Quincy Jones.
** Hey, [[Series/PartyDown Henry Pollard]], are we having fun yet?!
*** [[Series/BoyMeetsWorld Griff Hawkins]] grew up and put his con-man ways behind him.
** Retta (Donna) appeared as a cashier in the "The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition" episode of ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia''.
** [[Series/TimAndEricAwesomeShowGreatJob Richard Dunn]] and the [[Series/CheckItOutWithDrSteveBrule yesterday's weather presenter]] appear in "Tom's Divorce".
** How did [[Series/TheMentalist a serial killer]] get elected to Pawnee's city council before the events of "Live Ammo"? Probably previous [[Series/TheWestWing Government experience]].
** [[Series/TheGuild Clara]] can be a concerned mother, as seen in "Citizen Knope".
** One of [[Series/OrphanBlack Sarah Manning's fellow clones]] was dating Tom before she went away with Doctors Without Borders.
** Ron likes powerful women, probably why he's dating Series/{{Xena|WarriorPrincess}}.
** Leslie fires [[Series/MadMen Don Draper]] from the National Parks regional office.
** Before joining the NYPD, [[Series/BrooklynNineNine Detective Jake Peralta]] apparently worked in Pawnee as a park ranger.
** [[Series/FamilyTies Steven Keaton]] is Ron's predecessor(and also responsible for planting marijuana in all of Pawnee's community gardens).
** [[spoiler:[[Film/GroundhogDay Phil freaking Connors]]]] is the [[spoiler:now deceased]] mayor of Pawnee.
* HeyItsThatVoice: The city's lawyer in "Kaboom" is no other than Sterling WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}, as well as [[WesternAnimation/BobsBurgers Bob Belcher]] and [[WesternAnimation/HomeMovies Coach McGuirk]].
** Chief Ken Hotate used to be a [[WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill New Age healer in Arlen, Texas]].
** Lawyer Trevor Nelsson is played by Marc Evan Jackson, aka [[Podcast/ThrillingAdventureHour Sparks Nevada]].
* InMemoriam: The message at the end of the series finale saying "We Love You, Harris. --The Parks Crew" is dedicated to writer, actor and executive producer Harris Wittels who tragically died on February 19, 2015, five days before it first aired.
* NoExportForYou: Finally averted in the UK when [[Creator/TheBBC BBC Four]] picked it up in 2013.
* PostScriptSeason: Season 7 especially feels like this after Season 6 ending on a GrandFinale and an epilogue taking place [[spoiler:after a three-year TimeSkip]].
* RealLifeRelative: Creator/WillArnett has a cameo as a creepy guy Leslie dates in "The Set-Up". He was formerly married to Amy Poehler (Leslie) in real life. Also, Nick Offerman (Ron) and Megan Mullally (Tammy 2) are married in real life.
* ScrewedByTheNetwork: The show was brushed aside for mid-season replacement ''Series/{{Outsourced}}'', which was hated by critics and did not make it past a first season. The show's fifth season narrowly avoided being cut to 13 episodes as a precursor to cancellation, but the season was officially granted a full 22 episodes.
** Averted with its renewal for Season 6, although the failures of every other comedy on the network and the ending of ''Series/{{The Office|US}}'' forced Creator/{{NBC}}'s hand. The only other comedy to survive was ''Series/{{Community}}''.
** NBC got its final digs at the show by hustling it out the door, holding the final 13 episodes until the back half of the season, airing two-per-week and having it off the air before the end of February.
*** Not only did they blow through the final 13 episodes, they bumped the ''series finale'' from the show's usual 8 PM time-slot all the way back to 10 PM to make room for two hours of singing competition show ''Series/TheVoice''. Way to KickThemWhileTheyAreDown, NBC.
* SerendipityWritesThePlot: The UsefulNotes/{{London}} storyline came about as a way to keep Chris Pratt on the show while he was filming ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' in the UK -- Peter Serafinowicz appeared on the show in that storyline while also being in ''Guardians'' with Pratt.
** There's also a throwaway line in the season premiere about Andy giving up beer in order to explain Pratt's fitter physique.
* ThrowItIn: The show makes use of varying degrees of improvisation. The most frequent example are the "addressing the camera" scenes with many jump cuts between jokes; these are usually the result of letting the actors run off-script (especially with Amy Poehler).
** The show's co-creator also said at a panel discussion that his favorite joke in the entire series -- Andy's line "Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here and it says that you might have...Network Connectivity Problems" -- was made up on-the-spot by Chris Pratt.
* WordOfGod: Ron's nickname for Marlene Griggs-Knope was not specified in the script, and the nickname is heard in the episode as "the Iron-[bleeped] of Pawnee". According to Aziz Ansari's Twitter page, Nick Offerman improvised "the Iron Cock-Shredder of Pawnee" at the table reading.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Deleted scenes and DVD audio commentary reveal that several Pawnee townspeople would become more heavily recurring characters in future episodes. These characters included conspiracy-theorist Barry, anti-parks advocate Kate Spivack, and Andy's neighbor Lawrence. When the Pit 48 plotlines were de-emphasized in the next season, the need for these characters diminished. However, Lawrence made several cameo appearances in later episodes. Barry appears very briefly in season two in the episode "Sister City", though he only has lines in a DeletedScene.
** Even after the original plan for P+R being a spinoff of ''The Office'' was scrapped, there was one idea of creating a connection for the two, where the Dunder-Mifflin copier would break, be fixed and refurbished, and then shipped to the Pawnee Parks and Rec department. It never happened.
** A minor one: the character that developed into Ron Swanson was originally named "[[PunnyName Kno]][[MeaningfulName pe]]" to match his stance towards government, but then the creators decided to give it to Leslie's character for the irony.
** Originally the producers wanted Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger to play Pawnee's Mayor Gunderson. Arnold was willing to do so, but couldn't while he was governor, so Gunderson became TheGhost instead. Gunderson did eventually appear near the end of the series, played by [[spoiler:Creator/BillMurray]].
* WrittenByCastMember: Amy Poehler wrote the episodes "Telethon" and "The Fight".
** Nick Offerman wrote Season 4's "Lucky".