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The Best Time April Ludgate Broke Character On Parks & Recreation

From 2009 to 2015, "Parks and Recreation" became a highlight of NBC's programming schedule for multiple reasons. Its unapologetic mockery of the lower levels of United States politics provided no shortage of laughs, and its handheld, mockumentary-like shooting style — similar to creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur's other beloved series, the US version of "The Office" — helped it stand out among other sitcoms of the era. Not to mention, it showcased an unforgettable cast that ranged from frequent faces at the Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Recreation Department to one-off supporting characters. 

Throughout its seven seasons on the air, an ensemble crew took center-stage, led by Amy Poehler's endlessly optimistic and selfless Leslie Knope. Nick Offerman joined her as the stern, rugged Ron Swanson, Rashida Jones as her close friend Ann Perkins, and Adam Scott as her future husband, Ben Wyatt. The likes of Donna Meagle (Retta), Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), and Garry Gergich (Jim O'Heir) would also factor into the story from time to time, much like Ann's goofy, oblivious ex-boyfriend Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) and his eventual wife, the grim and monotone April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza).

Thanks to Plaza's deadpan performance and the character's numerous memorable moments, April endures as one of the most popular "Parks and Rec" characters of the bunch. As if she wasn't funny enough on the show, though, Plaza has broken character a few times, with this instance standing out as arguably the funniest.

Aubrey Plaza's attempted Season 2 improv was too funny

The season 2 episode "Woman of the Year" put Ron in some hot water with Leslie when they learn who won the coveted Dorothy Everton Smythe Female Empowerment Award from the Indiana Organization of Women. Ron received the honor, making him the first man in history to do so, and as salt in Leslie's wound, her work was falsely attributed to him, thus earning him the award. After a bit of joking at her expense, Ron — who couldn't care less about accolades, to begin with — writes to the IOW with the intention of passing the award to Leslie instead.

Upon doing this, the director of the IOW, Elise Yarktin (Maribeth Monroe), visits Ron and Leslie to explain he only got the award for the sake of marketing. In the episode, April unenthusiastically brings her to Ron's office before leaving with a quick glare at the camera. However, in the Season 2 blooper reel (via Comedy Bites), Plaza attempts to make an over-the-top gesture while introducing Yarktin, getting her name wrong and letting out a giggle in the process. Everyone else in the scene can't help but crack up, too, thanks to the absurdity of what they just saw.

It wasn't uncommon for Aubrey Plaza to break character as April Ludgate on the "Parks and Recreation" set, but this is a standout instance. Between her unexpected posing, botching of Yarktin's name, Monroe's try at keeping the scene alive, and the rest of the cast's laughter, how could it not be?