Mark Brendanawicz

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Mark Brendanawicz
Parks and Recreation character
First appearance"Pilot"
Last appearance"Freddy Spaghetti"
Portrayed byPaul Schneider
AliasMark Brendanaquits
OccupationCity planner
Significant otherAnn Perkins (ex-girlfriend) Leslie Knope (former lover)

Mark Brendanawicz /brɛnˈdænəwɪts/ is a fictional character in the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation. He is the city planner for Pawnee, Indiana, as well as Leslie Knope's colleague and one of Ann Perkins' ex-boyfriends. He is portrayed by Paul Schneider, who left Parks and Recreation at the end of the second season; despite the producers' plans to the contrary, Schneider did not reprise the role in any later seasons, and the show made no references to the character after his departure.


Mark Brendanawicz was a city planner with the Pawnee municipal government. When he studied city planning in college, Mark was optimistic about the field and dreamed of designing huge and impressive cities. However, since graduation, Mark learned most of the career largely involved mundane technical issues, such as regulating the sizes of garages and proposed construction additions to houses. As a result, Mark grew jaded and disillusioned with the career, and became critical of government processes in general.[1]

Mark has a self-absorbed personality and engages in romantic flings with multiple women without any sign of seeking a commitment.[2] Mark and Leslie had sex on one occasion and Leslie harbored romantic feelings for the next six years, although Mark does not return the feelings, and in fact did not recollect their night together for several years afterward.[3][4] In season two, he enters a committed relationship with Ann and even considers marriage before the breakup.


Season one[edit]

Leslie continues to harbor a crush on Mark, but Mark is not interested in her romantically, and instead appears to be more interested in her friend Ann; an early draft of the script had Mark stating that he didn't care about Leslie or the park project but supported her efforts because it would allow him to spend more time around Ann, but this was changed to the final version where Mark is impressed by Leslie's fighting spirit and helps the park project for that reason.[3] Mark agrees to help Leslie in her quest to turn a large construction pit into a park, but he is pragmatic about her chances of success, and warns it has little chance of succeeding.[5] When Leslie seeks his help in dealing with newspaper reporter Shauna Malwae-Tweep, who is planning to write a negative story, Mark makes the situation worse by having sex with her. This angers Leslie, particularly after Mark tells the reporter in confidence that the pit project will never be successful, only to later learn she plans to use that it in the story.[2]

One night, while feeling particularly disillusioned and unhappy with the insignificance of his career,[1][6] Mark makes a halfhearted attempt to flirt with Ann, unaware of Ann's anger over problems with her boyfriend Andy. Mark's advances are quickly and harshly rejected by an irritated Ann as a result.[6][7] Later that night, Mark and Leslie spend time together at the pit and an intoxicated Mark attempts to kiss her. Not wishing to reconnect with Mark in his drunken state, Leslie rejects his advances, and Mark accidentally falls into the pit and injures his legs.[6]

Season two[edit]

Following the accident at the pit, Mark becomes less jaded and abandons his promiscuous lifestyle. He and Ann develop a romantic interest in each other after she nurses him back to health at the hospital while his legs healed. They start dating only after Leslie assures Ann she is fine with the pairing and appears to have moved on from her long-standing infatuation with Mark.[8] He fences off Andy's juvenile insults and attempts to mess with his and Ann's relationship,[9] but also contends with some jealousy when Ann tries to "save" her close friend Justin as a potential future mate.[4] Mark planned to propose to Ann, but she'd told Leslie she wanted to break up with him, and she did dump him after Leslie narrowly prevented Mark from making what would have been a humiliating proposal during the Diabetes Telethon.[10] Mark and Ann have a breakfast sit-down where Mark says he's shocked that she wanted to end the relationship when they never even fought with each other, but Ann tells him that the lack of conflict meant neither of them really had any passion or stake in the relationship at all, and also says Mark overstated them as a couple because he'd never had a relationship that lasted for months before. When the Pawnee government is shut down, Mark decides to take an offered buyout and leave his city hall position for a private-sector job with a construction company,[11] causing Leslie to call him "Mark Brendanaquits." In a scene echoing their moment together in the pit during the first season, Mark shares a tender goodbye with Leslie and gives her plans he drafted for the park she wants to build in place of the pit.[12][13]


When Mark Brendanawicz was originally conceived, it was anticipated that the character would eventually start to appear infrequently in Parks and Recreation, switching between his city planner job and work in the private sector.[14][15] Series co-creator Michael Schur said this is because real-life city planners often move back and forth between different jobs.[16] Schur said Mark is partially based on a real-life city planner who eventually got tired of the bureaucratic red tape of government and moved into the private sector, but eventually moved back to government when he was tired of the negative corporate environment. When Paul Schneider was cast as Mark, Schur told him the character might eventually leave Pawnee government and come back working for a different company, then keep moving back and forth in such a manner. Schur said, "It's not something you usually do on TV shows but we thought it was a good way to illustrate both the positive and negative aspects of working for a government. It was one of the first things we talked about with [Schneider]."[17]

Elements of the character were designed based on advice by Scott Albright, a California city planner who worked as a consultant with Parks and Recreation. The discrepancy between Mark's optimism in college and pragmatism after encountering the real world were inspired by feedback Albright provided about the urban planning profession.[1] The Mark character underwent major changes after receiving feedback at press tours and focus group screenings. In the original pilot episode script, Mark was portrayed as slightly less likable than the final character became. For example, in the final episode Mark asked Ron Swanson to green-light the park project to help Leslie, but in the original script, he did so only because he was attracted to Ann and wanted another excuse to keep seeing her.[18] During the first season, Paul Schneider said he was insecure about playing Mark in early episodes because he was still trying to figure out and understand the motivations of his character.[19]


It was announced in March 2010 that Schneider would leave Parks and Recreation at the end of the second season. Schur claimed the decision was a combination of the original conception of the character switching between the government and the private sector, as well as Schneider's increasing success in such independent films as Bright Star. In the initial announcement, Schur claimed that both the producers and Schneider were interested in having Schneider return for guest appearances in the future, including in season three.[14][15][17] Schur said at the time: "He's going to remain in the world of the show in a way that not only allows but hopefully demands that he'll reenter it. He's not going to be killed in some weird accident."[17]

Despite Schur's statements, Schneider did not make a return appearance on Parks and Recreation, and the show made no reference to Mark Brendanawicz after Schneider's departure. In a TV show where Schur and other TV comedy showrunners discussed their work, Schur's story about the Season 2 episode where Jerry Gergich found out he was adopted talked about Mark revealing that information but only by referring to Mark as "a character" who accidentally revealed the truth. During the sixth season, when Ann Perkins extensively reminisced about her past romances, she did not mention Mark, even though they dated for almost all of the second season. In addition, although virtually every major and minor supporting character that ever appeared on Parks and Recreation made at least a cameo appearance in the seventh and final season, Mark was not one of them, nor was he shown in any clips in a flashback montage during the series' final episode. Shortly before the series finale, Schneider stated that he was not interested in returning to the show, and had not been contacted about it.[20]


  1. ^ a b c Schur, Michael (2009). Parks and Recreation: Season One: "Rock Show" (Audio commentary)|format= requires |url= (help) (DVD). Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
  2. ^ a b Hughes, Jason (2009-04-24). "Parks and Recreation: The Reporter". TV Squad. Archived from the original on 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  3. ^ a b Martin, Denise (February 10, 2009). "Amy Poehler comedy 'Parks and Recreation' adds cast". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Gonzalez, Sandra (January 15, 2010). ""Parks and Recreation" recap: Will Arnett can see your insides". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  5. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (2009-04-09). ""Parks and Recreation" review - Sepinwall on TV". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  6. ^ a b c Phipps, Keith (2009-05-14). "Parks and Recreation: Season 1: Episode 6: "Rock Show"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  7. ^ Medina, Jeremy (2009-05-15). ""Parks and Recreation" season finale: Three helpful suggestions for next season". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  8. ^ Fowler, Matt (2009-09-16). "Parks and Recreation: "Pawnee Zoo" Review: It's Flipper and Eve, not Flipper and Steve". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  9. ^ Heisler, Steve (December 3, 2009). "Parks and Recreation: "The Fourth Floor"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2009.
  10. ^ Kandell, Steve (May 7, 2010). "Parks and Recreation Recap: Diabetes, Yuck!". New York. Archived from the original on March 27, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  11. ^ Pierce, Leonard (May 20, 2010). "Parks and Recreation: "Freddy Spaghetti"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  12. ^ Kandell, Steve (May 21, 2010). "Parks and Recreation Recap: Shutdown". New York. Archived from the original on June 14, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  13. ^ Hochberger, Eric (May 21, 2010). "Parks and Recreation Season Two Finale Review". TV Fanatic. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  14. ^ a b Abrams, Natalie (March 14, 2010). "Producer: Paul Schneider Leaving Parks for Movie Career". TV Guide.
  15. ^ a b Weisman, Jon (March 14, 2010). "Schneider to leave regular 'Parks' role". Variety. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
  16. ^ Wolk, Josh (September 1, 2011). "Parks and Recreation Showrunner Michael Schur Gives a Master Class on His Favorite Comedy, Cheers". New York. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  17. ^ a b c Martin, Denise (March 12, 2010). "'Parks and Recreation': Mike Schur tells us why Paul Schneider is leaving the show, plus more details on Adam Scott and Rob Lowe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
  18. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (2009-05-14). "Parks and Recreation, "Rock Show": Reviewing the season finale". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  19. ^ Schneider, Paul (2009). Parks and Recreation: Season One: "The Reporter" (Audio commentary)|format= requires |url= (help) (DVD). Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
  20. ^ Ryan, Mike (22 April 2014). "Paul Schneider on Why He Left Parks and Recreation and Why He Might Leave Hollywood". ScreenCrush. Retrieved 22 April 2014.