GQ: You have to have the bedrock of the character down.That’s the hard part.
Mike Schur: That’s the Malcolm Gladwell thing. That’s 10,000 hours. The writing staff has to work for a year before it figures out how to write the show, and the cast has to act the characters for a year before they figure out how to play them. And that’s why it’s so funny to me when people are surprised when comedies get better. You know, like: “Well, it did start off kind of rough, but then later it got better!” It’s like, “Yeah, the same way that a cyclist will get a lot faster after training for a year.”
It’s constantly being marveled at in the press—and this is true of The Office and Parks and Recreation and Happy Endings and Seinfeld and Cheers and Friends and everything—that people are always like, “Well, it really hit its stride in the second season.” Yeah, that’s because they had been doing it for a year, and they figured out how to do it and got better at it. I think if there were one wish that I would have for the critical community, it would be that people would stop being amazed or even remotely surprised that comedies get better as they go along. Not all of them, but some of them.