Parks & Rec’s Chris Pratt brings you ‘The Berserkers’

Cameron Smith

Coming Wednesday to a television screen near you: Chris Pratt.

No, "Parks and Recreation" hasn't been moved up a day. Rather, the Lake Stevens (Wash.) High alum is featured as an executive producer of a documentary on his former high school wrestling program, which goes by the colorful name of "The Berserkers." The documentary will air on MTV on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. PST and will feature Pratt and a wealth of footage captured from the 2010-11 Lake Stevens wrestling team's state championship campaign.

Lake Stevens Berserkers wrestling
Lake Stevens Berserkers wrestling

"It's a good documentary," Lake Stevens wrestling coach Brent Barnes told the Seattle Times. "It's honest and gives a good depiction of what it's like to be a high school wrestler and the year we had."

Pratt, who has gained celebrity for his depiction of the character Andy Dwyer in the hit NBC series "Parks and Recreation" -- not to mention a role playing catcher-first baseman Scott Hatteberg in the recent film adaptation of "Moneyball" -- is a proud former Lake Stevens wrestler who pitched the idea of a documentary about the program's legacy of quirky success.

And make no mistake: Everything from the team's unofficial "Berserker" nickname to the backgrounds of the 2010-11 team's wrestlers are fairly unconventional. Pratt was the genesis of the program, pitching a potential series on the program to MTV executives based on his own experiences with the program. Fittingly, a key part of that successful pitch was based around the team nickname itself.

"[A] Berserker is a North Scot that fights in a trancelike state," Pratt told the Lake Stevens Journal when interviewed about the project. "Berserkers are known as Vikings, and being a Lake Stevens Viking, a Berserker is the unofficial mascot of the wrestling team. I just really liked the title. That's how I pitched it to MTV."

As for an idea of what viewers will take in during the show, Pratt said that the documentary will depict how the school's wrestlers are hyper-focused, both on and off the mat … even if the filming process itself distracted from that focus, at least a bit.

"My experience with the MTV camera crew following me around is pretty good they are really good guys but sometimes it gets annoying. We get a lot of attention from it and get asked a lot of questions by bystanders which is sometimes very annoying," Lake Stevens wrestler Eric Soler told the television blog Telechimp.com. "But dealing with it will be worth it when the world gets to see what wrestling is really about and what we are about as a team and individuals.

"The most annoying part about having them follow us around is they make you repeat some of the things you do A LOT, which is sometimes very annoying. Like earlier today, me and a couple of teammates walked out of Safeway and they didn't get it on film so we had to walk back and then do the same thing over again."

Added Barnes, who has coached the Lake Stevens program for a whopping 24 years: "At first it was distracting, but [the wrestlers] got used to it and now they don't pay too much attention to it."

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