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Parks and Rec: Why Mark Brendanawicz Only Lasted 2 Seasons

Mark Brendanawicz was a main character when Parks and Rec debuted, but he only lasted two seasons. We explain why Paul Schneider left the series.

Paul Schneider as Mark Brendanawicz in Parks and Rec

Mark Brendanawicz was a prominent character when Parks and Recreation debuted but he left the show after season 2. The character, played by Paul Schneider, worked for the Pawnee municipal government. Even though Schneider seemed to have a crucial role in the series going forward, the actor decided to leave early in the show's run.

Mark studied city planning in college and had goals that involved building cities. Unfortunately, he got a job as a city planner in Pawnee, Indiana. Rather than build illustrious buildings, he focused on menial tasks such as regulating the sizes of construction projects around town or reducing the sizes of speed bumps. This caused Mark to become disillusioned when it came to his career, which spilled out to his personal life. Mark was known to half short flings with women as he had commitment issues. He had a brief romantic history with a fellow government employee, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), and the pair remained friends. When Leslie needed help turning the dangerous pit into a park, she turned to Mark for help.

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Related: Parks and Rec: Every Tammy In Ron Swanson's Life

After Mark fell into the pit at the end of Parks and Rec season 1, he had a different outlook on life. He entered a romantic relationship with Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) at the beginning of the second season. Their romance was short-lived, however, and his career as a city planner never really panned out. At the end of the second season, Mark took a job at a construction company and left the Pawnee government behind. With that, Schneider disappeared from the series.

Parks and Rec

Since Schneider left Parks and Recreation after season 2, more details about his departure have emerged. The main reason why the actor left was because of creative differences about his character. The original concept for Mark Brendanawicz was considerably different to the version portrayed on the series. Co-creator Michael Schur (The Office) had plans to make Mark switch back and forth between a city planner and an employee in the private sector. The character's personality was also supposed to be less likable, which was changed following early reviews. Schneider discussed his experience on the show in a 2014 interview with Screen Crush:

"That experience was very strange for me. You know, I signed up for a specific character that was changed in mid-season. And it became a character with a lot less to do. And, all of a sudden, I was kind of confused and kind of having a lot less to do."

By eliminating part of Mark's storyline, Schneider's role in Parks and Rec diminished. The changes also caused Schneider to struggle to play Mark as he could no longer get a grasp on the character's motivations. There was no clear direction that Mark was heading, so Schneider made the decision to leave Parks and Recreation.

Mark's construction job was still located in Pawnee but his character never reappeared on the series. Schur left the door open for Schneider to return but the actor was not interested, nor was he officially asked to reprise the role. Since his time on the series, Schneider has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows but none as long as the time spent on Parks and Rec.

Next: How Parks And Rec Was Almost A Spinoff Of The Office

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