Hey 'Parks and Rec,' What Ever Happened to Mark Brendanawicz?
My favorite sitcom has a major continuity problem.
For those who don't know (or sadly forgot), Mark was a city planner in Pawnee and one of the main characters in the hit comedy Parks and Recreation. After season two, Mark left town to take another job, earning him the nickname Mark "Brendana-quits." Since his departure, the character was not seen or heard from again. The other characters on the show don't mention him, even in the series finale. It's like he was erased from existence. Why is that? Could such a major mistake have been rectified?
First, let's see why Mark left (according to those who worked on the show).
If you paid attention to the show, you know that the character Mark left because of the government shake up due to Chris Treager and Ben Wyatt. Then there's the behind the scenes reason for this change.
It's actually quite a strange story. Even Paul Schneider (who played Mark) was confused by the plan the writers and producers laid out. At the height of Mark's departure, executive producer Mike Schur hinted at the return of the character. This is what he told the LA Times in an interview:
"Mark would leave and then ideally he would come back in a different capacity working for a different company. And then he would leave again and come back, and so on."
Apparently, it was meant to reflect the negative and positive aspects of working for the government by bouncing Mark back and forth between projects (Yahoo Entertainment).
During an interview with Screen Crush, Paul Schneider painted a picture of his experiences on the show.
That experience was very strange for me...I was kind of confused and kind of having a lot less to do...Those guys are working on something that I had no idea how to captain that ship.
When asked about Mike Schur's previous plan on returning to the show, Paul said that it was generous of him, but he got no phone call from Mike and had no plans on returning anyway. Since the departure, Paul has been more focused on indie films like Bright Star and All The Real Girls.
Now let's fix this issue.
Characters come and go all the time on television series. However, not making a call back to Mark even once has always bothered me. I feel like that mistake could have been easily fixed. Let's assume for minute that actor Paul Schneider decided to come back to the show. How would that work out on the show? His character could have returned in a later episode. Having him come back in the series finale would have definitely worked because that episode was all about the future endeavors of all the characters. Fans even get to see what happens to Jean Ralphio who was just a recurring character. Ann and Chris Treager re-appeared in the finale after their absence. A call back was made to current and past characters on Parks and Recreation. So, why not Mark?
Sure, he may not be the most memorable character. Sure, he only lasted two seasons, but he was just as part of the Parks and Rec community. Also, he was huge part of the characters' lives. He worked in the same building as everyone else for years. Leslie and Ann both had a romantic connection to him. Andy was jealous and sexually threatened by the guy. So, it only makes sense to make some sort of reference to Mark for the sake of continuity.
Mark may not have been on Parks and Recreation for very long, but he was still an important character. Even a reference by Leslie would have sufficed for his "disappearance." It's too bad the writers couldn't fix this somehow. Maybe if they did, the character would have been more memorable.
Do you agree? Did you miss Mark on the show? Did you even remember him?
Sources: LA Times, Screen Crush, Yahoo Entertainment