CNN – Nick Offerman never knew he was part of a TV juggernaut.
"We were never a hit -- it's one of the huge misconceptions about the show," he tells CNN, reflecting on his seven years playing curmudgeonly local government director Ron Swanson on the NBC comedy "Parks and Recreation."
"We were a critical darling ... but for some reason we didn't catch on with the fast food crowd," Offerman adds of the show, which is returning next week for a one-off special to benefit Covid-19 relief efforts. "We remained a Reuben sandwich. We never crossed over and became a McDonald cheeseburger."
But years after it came off the air, the show's transition to Big Mac is complete. "Across history, we know a great many artists in every field who died penniless and uncelebrated, and then later on people said, 'Oh, this Beethoven stuff is not half bad,'" Offerman muses. "It's just wonderful that the advent of streaming services have allowed our show, which was more of a culty sensation, to reach a much wider audience."
It’s hardly a boastful statement. Old TV has never been more fashionable, and “Parks and Rec” is one of a small clutch of shows from the 2000s and early 2010s to achieve levels of success unthinkable during their original runs.