Mandi Bierly
December 11, 2012 AT 01:00 PM EST

The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness is legendary (and still decorates offices and cubicles at EW). But there’s something in every episode of NBC’s Parks and Recreation that catches the eye and tickles the funny bone. That’s why we asked the show’s property master, Gay Perello, for the stories behind her five favorite pieces of 2012. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverage.

By: Gay Perello

I should preface that my favorite props to make are ones that I get to collaborate with people who are craftsman in their own field. I not only get a better and more authentic prop, but I get to learn at least a fraction of how to do something I didn’t know before.

1. Groffle the Awful Waffle children’s book

In the Episode “Bus Tour,” Leslie reads a book to school kids titled Groffle the Awful Waffle. This is a book that Leslie writes, illustrates, and publishes.

Even though it was scripted that we only see the cover at the head of the scene before Leslie is interrupted, I knew that I wanted to give Amy [Poehler] a few pages to read and show the illustrations to the class.

Schuyler Telleen, our graphic artist, and I were so excited to create a story line with a bunch of breakfast items as characters and settings in a book.

Writing and conceptualizing came easy. We were inspired by Leslie’s sweet tooth, Ron’s favorite meat items, and the gathering place for the group, JJ’s. The hard part was getting the ideas on paper and getting a book bound in the short time frame we had.

I hired an amazing artist, Abira Ali, to do the illustrations, and she nailed it in the first drawings. Groffle is amazing to look at. He cries syrup tears and has a butter nose!

Next step was paginating, which to me is like math, impossible, so Schuyler was in charge of that, and we got pages to a local book binder, Charlene Matthews. Charlene turned it into an official book, cloth bound and lined.

In the episode, it is on air for a split second, but I have a wonderful little coffee table book I get to look at written, illustrated, and published by Leslie Knope, of course.

NEXT: Sweetum’s voting machine

( 1 of 5 )

You May Like