Horses on TV: Li’l Sebastian
Parks and Rec fans, this one’s for you.
I have to admit, I love Parks and Recreation for many reasons but one of them is their constant reference to “the best thing to potentially ever happen to anyone anywhere in the history of the universe”…which is a mini horse.
We are first introduced to Li’l Sebastian in Episode 7 of Season 3 at the Harvest Festival.
Xfinity interviewed the cast about working with the Mini movie star.
Amy Poehler (Leslie Knope): “He was very difficult. He’s a diva. He came with a lot of handlers. He had a big posse.”
Aziz Ansari (Tom Haverford): “He’s a tiny beautiful horse. When they brought him I was was dying. No, I didn’t ride him. Too small. I would never dare do that. I walked around with him, had a few beers. He’s doing well. He’s excited. In the episode, he’s Pawnee’s biggest celebrity. Tom and Jerry are in charge of watching him and of course we lose him, that’s a fun part of the episode.”
Chris Pratt (Andy Dwyer): “That little horse, oh my God, [he’s] the cutest thing in the world. On a scale of 1 to million, he’s in the high 900,000s. Here’s a spoiler, Li’l Sebastian has a very strange and long wiener. You’ll see that in the episode.”
In the episode Tom tries to use Li’l Sebastian’s epic popularity for free advertising, eventually allowing the mini horse to escape the corral. Hilarity ensues. Horse parts are pixelated. TV magic is made.
When Li’l Sebastian passed away in Episode 16 of Season 3 even Ron cried.
But the characters had a full memorial episode in his honor and Leslie wrote possibly the best horse obituary ever written.
Mouse Rat headlined the service with the song “5000 Candles in the Wind” which is actually kind of brilliant. It’s sung by Chris Pratt, who is about to become a household name when he headlines Marvel’s next awesomesauce…Guardians of the Galaxy as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord.
Though he is gone from the show, the memory of Li’l Sebastian lives on. The crew even tried to cheer Leslie up with a paper mache version after she was removed from office.
And like any horsey angel, Li’l Sebastian occasionally appears amidst a hazy beam of light to guide our characters in the right direction.
Don’t fret though, because the equine actor that played Li’l Sebastian recently filmed an episode of CW’s Hart of Dixie. Scott Porter posted the below photo on his Instagram.
In real life the character was inspired by Einstein also known as “The Smallest Stallion.”
Wired magazine interviewed Greg Levine, Parks and Rec script coordinator, fact-checker and occasional writer.
During the interview Levine mentioned that long before Li’l Sebastian was a character the writers on the show had a habit of looking at pictures, videos, and stories of the little horse for LOLs. “The writers’ room was obsessed with Einstein,” Levine said. “When the Harvest Festival story was taking shape and we were going to do the actual ‘Harvest Festival’ episode there was talk about how all these small towns have local heroes, or like a very famous site. So it was decided, ‘Why don’t we have a tiny horse be the centerpiece of Harvest Festival?’ Now Li’l Sebastian is a centerpiece of the show, even if it took Ben a long time to figure out what the big deal was.”
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