Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, and writers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur just got the room laughing here at the TCA press tour in their first session for their new show. (Seriously, go here to hear about Poehler's Jason Bourne connection.)The show's still untitled, but we now know a little bit about the plot: Poehler plays Leslie, a mid-level local government operative who partners with Jones's character to help get a park built. Ansari plays a schmoozing networker who's most interested in his own rise. Here's some of what we learned:
- Despite Poehler's role as a woman in local politics who believes she could one day rise to the top, we shouldn't look at the show as a satire of any recent political events. "It really doesn't specifically deal in any way with tapping into any of those women," Poehler said. "But [Leslie] certainly looks at a lot of the women in media and politics right now as her heroes. They're sort of her Cal Ripkins."
- More about Leslie: "Leslie is an optimist, and she's really ambitious," Poehler said. "She's really kind of hoping that the place she is now is not the place she's going to stay. So she really is struggling to find her way in a man's world, to kind of make her mark. Along the way, she's deluded." She's nice, but not too nice: "it's going to be very easy to humiliate and be mean to me in the show."
- About that title: Daniels said they just haven't found the right words to sum up the show yet — but they kind of spoof their own difficulties in the pilot with a section about finding the perfect name for their public works project.
- The realm of local politics isn't new to Poehler: "My parents watch town council metings on their TV," she said. "They sit and wtch them and care, obviously, about what is next to them — what is being built, or are they going to put a prison where the muffin shop used to be."
To find out why Poehler took the job and whether there will ever be a proper Office spinoff, read more.
- Poehler took the job because she wanted to work with Schur and Daniels, and she also "was excited at the idea of being able to turn the volume down a little bit and sit with a character for a while."
- The project started out being described as an Office spinoff mostly because at the time, "we didn't have any ideas," Daniels said. They considered ideas both spinning directly off Dunder Mifflin and ones outside, but "as we thought of different ideas, the ideas that were set in the paper industry or something like that, it felt hard to get far enough away from The Office that you would consider it justified for a whole different show," he said.
- That said, there is now another idea for a true spinoff involving some Office characters that could materialize someday. No details on that, though.
- No plans at this time for any actual politicians to show up on this show — but "anybody who's the hot comptroller could come on," Poehler cracked.