His appearance will kick off the episode after the newly engaged Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) takes his fiancé, political junkie and City Councilwoman Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) to the White House for a special surprise. It is a long-running joke in the series that the VP is Knopes political crush, with Poehler's quirky character claiming her ideal man has “the brains of George Clooney and the body of Joe Biden.”
Entertainment Weekly claims the scene was filmed back in July while the “Parks and Recreation” cast and crew were in Washington, D.C., to film the premiere episode of this season. The premiere episode featured cameos from Senators Barbara Boxer, Olympia Snowe and John McCain, but they held off on the big one from Biden.
“Given that Eleanor Roosevelt and Bella Abzug are no longer with us, this is probably No. 1,” jokes “Parks” Executive Producer Michael Schur, according to Entertainment Weekly. “[Knope] has a lot of female heroes that cross party lines. She has a lot of social figures that she considers heroes, but the funniest hero is Joe Biden. There’s an episode last season where she says, ‘Joe Biden is on my celebrity sex list -- well, he is my celebrity sex list.’ ... It was amazing to have her meet Olympia Snowe and Barbara Boxer, because that meant something to her politically. But this transcends that. She’s meeting the man that she’s in love with on some deep level. It was a bigger deal to us in some ways that she meet Joe Biden than it was that she meet Barack Obama.”
Knope meets her entire celebrity sex list as an engagement surprise from Ben, as seen in the clip from the episode below.
Even though this is the biggest appearance ever on the NBC prime time sitcom, Schur claims it was “so much less difficult than we ever possibly imagined.” Entertainment Weekly claims the producer went on to say: “His staff really loves the show, and he apparently had watched the show with his family and his family liked it. ... The hardest part was keeping it secret for so long, because there’s all these FEC rules and equal-time rules. We couldn’t air it before the election, because it was the equivalent of a campaign contribution to advertise for one candidate.”
Filming the segment was a gamble, considering the episode is ariing after the election that could have ousted Biden as VP, but it was apparently written so it would work regardless of the winner of Tuesday’s presidential election. “We did not in any way want the moment to be a political issue -- we treated it in the writing and the execution like our main character was meeting her hero,” says Schur.