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The Transformation Of Adam Scott From Childhood To Parks & Recreation

In 2010, the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation" made a rather risky decision. After already building up a lovable cast of characters in Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her semi-dysfunctional coworkers, the writers of "Parks & Rec" decided to introduce two new characters. It was certainly a gamble, as the inclusion of any new characters in a series can be met with extreme disapproval from fans, but Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) proved to be different. It wasn't long before these two characters were considered key parts of the "Parks & Rec" family, as beloved as any of the show's original characters.

Ben Wyatt, in particular, held a special place in the series. Not only did he eventually become the primary love interest to Leslie in one of the most adorable on-screen nerd romances in TV history, but he was portrayed by a then-relatively unknown actor. Unlike Rob Lowe, who had already established himself as a talented entertainer, "Parks & Rec" served for many as their introduction to Adam Scott, and he's held a place in their hearts ever since.

That said, "Parks and Rec" was not Scott's debut. The actor had actually been working in showbusiness for over a decade before becoming Ben Wyatt. Looking back, it's surprising how many popular franchises he appeared in before "Parks & Rec" made him a household name. As such, the transformation from his fairly average American childhood to "Parks & Rec" alumni is quite an interesting one.

Adam Scott's childhood was pretty standard

Adam Scott has never spoken deeply about his younger days in interviews. However, what information we do have about his life before fame indicates that, for the most part, he had a normal childhood. In one of GQ's many "Celebrity Undercover" videos, where celebrities answer questions about their lives on various sites across the web, Scott confirmed that he grew up in Santa Cruz, California. His parents, both retired teachers, divorced and remarried at some point in his childhood, granting him several step-siblings (via USA Today).

In 1993, Scott graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, launching his career as an actor. Among his classmates may have been Paul Rudd, who graduated from the same college just two years earlier. Soon after his graduation, Scott began taking roles in a variety of television shows. Chief among these, however, is one American teen sitcom that many hail as a classic.

You probably missed Adam Scott in Boy Meets World

One year after graduating from college, Scott landed a role in the hit teen sitcom, "Boy Meets World." At first, he was merely an extra, playing "Teen with Guitar." A year after that, however, he was called back to play a recurring character in Griff Hawkins, the second school bully. Griff appears in three separate episodes, making an enemy out of Mr. Feeny with his antics. However, unlike the last leader of the bullies, Harley, Griff actually somewhat gets along with Cory (Ben Savage).

"Girl Meets World," the more recent sequel-series to "Boy Meets World," actually pays tribute to Scott's character. In Episode 13 of the first season, Cory creates the "Griff Hawkins Totally Cool Award," cementing the character as an important (though rarely seen) part of the show's history. Unfortunately, Griff himself never makes an appearance in "Girl Meets World."

Scott slogged through the trenches in the 90s and 2000s

While Adam Scott has been a career actor since the early 1990s, it's fair to say that he really didn't achieve widespread recognition until the late 2000s with his roles in films like "Step Brothers" and series like "Parks and Recreation." In that intermittent period, however, Scott worked steadily to build his reputation in show business, and that hard work can be seen in a variety of appearances in several high-profile gigs.

For instance, not long after he appeared in "Boy Meets World," Scott made several minor appearances in shows and films like "ER," "NYPD Blue," "CSI: Miami," and "Law & Order." He also landed several short-lived recurring roles in various series like "Murder One," "Party of Five," and "Wasteland." Eventually, he even began landing roles in major movies like "The Aviator" and "Monster-in-Law," working alongside the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez.  Though none of these roles really granted him the same degree of recognition as later gigs, they paid off in the end. His persistence culminated in his roles as Samuel, the nurse in 2007's "Knocked Up."

Though Samuel himself is still a minor role with few lines, Adam Scott's appearance in the Judd Apatow picture stuck with fans. Before long, Scott would make an appearance in another popular comedy film, this time with more lines and a much greater influence on the story.

Scott flexes his step-sibling expertise in Step Brothers

If "Parks and Recreation" wasn't your introduction to Adam Scott, then there's a good chance it could have been "Step Brothers." As one of the standout comedies of 2008, the only way that Scott couldn't have gained recognition from this film is if he were a background character. Instead, thankfully, he was one of the major members of the supporting cast. More specifically, he played Derek, the younger, cooler, more successful — and ultimately, less-likable — brother of Will Ferrell's Brennan.

Derek has several shining moments in "Step Brothers," from getting hilariously punched out by John C. Reily's character (who later sleeps with Derek's wife), to making amends with Brennan during his Grammy-worthy opera performance at the effin' Catalina Wine Mixer. However, Adam Scott truly showed us his comedic chops while performing Derek's own Grammy-worthy musical performance, perfectly replicating the guitar solo from Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" with nothing but his dulcet voice.

If Scott's role as Derek proved anything, it's that he was (and still is) more than a good fit for a variety of comedic roles. Thankfully, those are exactly the kinds of roles he continues to take leading up to his arrival on "Parks & Rec."

Adam Scott serves up one more role in Party Down

Little known fact, Adam Scott actually auditioned to be in "Parks & Rec" for the show's first season. According to the aforementioned GQ video, though, the self-proclaimed "Office" fan spent too much time overthinking it and came off as less funny than he intended. As a result, he didn't get a part in the sitcom, and instead found himself a different role in the short-lived series "Party Down." The show, which focused on a group of caterers working in L.A., starred Scott as Henry, a slacker who unceremoniously flubs his showbiz career.

Though it only lasted for two seasons, "Party Down" actually showed a lot of promise. It had a really talented cast, which also included Jane Lynch of "Glee" fame, and was quite funny. At least, it was funny enough that the Starz network is currently working on a revival of the series. Despite its quality, the show still suffered from poor ratings, which wasn't helped by the departure of Lynch and Scott (via Entertainment Weekly), whose performance on the series convinced "Parks & Rec" producer Mike Schurr to cast Scott later on in the series. So, in a way we should all be happy that a hidden gem like "Party Down" died before it got the chance to truly live. Otherwise, we may have never received the loveable Ben Wyatt that "Parks & Rec" fans remember so fondly.