I was in the midst of writing my review of Safety Not Guaranteed, in which Parks and Recreation's Aubrey Plaza plays a magazine intern who tracks down the author of a classified ad seeking a time-travel companion, when I got an email from All Things Considered asking me to contribute to a profile on the actress. (The impetus, apparently, was this 2010 interview, in which, among other things, she talks about her sullen Parks & Rec intern, April Ludgate, as being a kind of generational stand-in.) NPR ended up whittling me down to one inconsequential soundbite — no complaints, it's nice to be asked, etc. — but I did end up give some serious thought to Plaza's screen persona in preparation. Among other things, it struck me as interesting that April's reflexive disdain is almost entirely without malice; she's not a disillusioned idealist so much as an idealist in waiting. (I also ventured that Plaza, who trained with the Upright Citizens Bridage, replaces the improv rule "Yes and..." with "So what?" This stuff is gold, people.) We've seen over the course of several seasons that April is capable of unironic appreciation — of her husband Andy, among other things — but there's a bar that must first be cleared, a defensive barrier breached. There's also a playful element to it, as when Rashida Jones' bubbly Ann, in an attempt to strike up small talk, asks April where she got her haircut, and Plaza deadpans, "Prison." The key, if perhaps slightly-on-the-nose, moment, is when April and Andy take a trip to the Grand Canyon — prompted by a small-town cult's doomsday prophecy — and she stares out at it and says, "I'm trying to find a way to be annoyed at it. But I can't." Frankly, I think Plaza does a good enough job portraying April's inner softie to make such a set piece redundant, but it comes in handy when you want to put a bow on things.