Characters of Parks and Recreation


Characters of Parks and Recreation
A photo collage featuring pictures of seven different people, with four photos on the top row and three on the bottom row. The top row, from left to right, features a smiling blond woman wearing a black dress, a smiling brown-haired man wearing a tie and jacket, a smiling black-haired man wearing a white tuxedo and black tie, and a frowning brown-haired man wearing sunglasses and a black coat. The bottom row, from left to right, features a smiling brown-haired woman wearing a black dress, a man with brown hair and a beard wearing a suit jacket and tie, and a brown-haired woman speaking into a microphone.
Members of the regular cast of Parks and Recreation, including (from left to right, starting with the top row) Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, and Aubrey Plaza. Cast members Nick Offerman, Jim O'Heir, and Retta are not pictured.

The primary characters of the American television comedy series Parks and Recreation are the employees of the parks department of Pawnee, a fictional Indiana town. The protagonist is Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the deputy parks director, and the rest of the ensemble cast consists of her friends and co-workers, including nurse Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), parks director Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), and parks department employees Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), Jerry Gergich (Jim O'Heir), and Donna Meagle (Retta).

While most of the main cast have been with the series since it debuted in April 2009, actors Rob Lowe and Adam Scott joined the cast late in the second season portraying Chris Traeger and Ben Wyatt, two state auditors who later take jobs in Pawnee. Paul Schneider was a permanent cast member during the first two seasons as city planner Mark Brendanawicz, but he departed at the end of season two. The majority of Parks and Recreation episodes are set in Pawnee, and most of the recurring and supporting characters are friends of the main characters or residents of the town.

Several guest stars have made appearances on the show, including Louis C.K., John Larroquette, Justin Theroux and Parker Posey. Megan Mullally, Offerman's real-life wife, played his character's ex-wife Tammy Swanson, and Poehler's real-life husband Will Arnett made an appearance as a man on a blind date with Leslie. Several of Poehler's past colleagues on the sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live have appeared on Parks and Recreation, including Fred Armisen, Will Forte and Andy Samberg.

Contents

Primary characters

Each of the following primary characters were played by members of the Parks and Recreation regular cast, rather than guest stars or non-regular supporting cast members.[1][2]

Leslie Knope

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is the deputy director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department, and the protagonist of Parks and Recreation. Leslie is a passionate, hard-working and ambitious woman who loves her hometown of Pawnee and, unlike many around her, has not lost her optimism in the face of government bureaucracy.[3][4] She believes strongly in the mission of her job, sometimes going over-the-top in her dedication to helping people.[5] Her dream is to become the first female President of the United States.[6] During the first two seasons, Leslie seeks to turn a construction pit into a park, despite several government obstacles and red tape.[7][8] When the parks department is hindered by Pawnee's budget problems, Leslie successfully relaunches the town's harvest festival, which makes her department sustainable again.[9] The third season ends with political scouts approaching her about possibly running for elected office, although she declines to inform them of her secret affair with Ben Wyatt, which could prove to be a political scandal.[10]

Ron Swanson

Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is the parks and recreation director, although he allows Leslie to do almost all the real work in the department.[11] Despite working in a government job, Ron is a steadfast libertarian who believes in as little government as possible and feels the parks department should not even run or maintain parks.[3][12] He advocates for program cuts wherever possible, actively works to make city hall less effective, and especially detests interacting with Pawnee taxpayers.[13][14] Nevertheless, Ron has a deep respect for Leslie and genuinely cares about his fellow employees, despite his efforts to hide it.[15][16] Ron has a deadpan, inexpressive personality,[17][18] and loves meat, hunting and breakfast foods.[19][20] He has two ex-wives, both named Tammy, both of whom he hates.[21] Ron Swanson has been praised as the show's breakout character,[nb 1] and some of his traits were based on elements of Offerman's real-life personality, like their shared affinity for woodworking and saxophone-playing.[3][17]

Tom Haverford

Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) was an administrator in the parks department for most of the show, although he also became a minor investor in the Snake Hole Lounge and quit at the end of the third season to form an entertainment company with his friend Jean-Ralphio.[24][25] Tom was Leslie's immediate subordinate on the parks department and the two would often work together on tasks.[23] The sarcastic Tom seemed to care little for his mid-level government job and seldom showed any initiative or work ethic.[26][27] However, Tom harbors strong aspirations of becoming a media mogul, and sometimes used his parks department job to increase his stature and curry favors with others.[23][28] Tom considers himself an extremely stylish dresser and smooth pickup artist,[29][30] and believes he carries himself in the style of rapper Jay-Z.[31] He constantly hits on women, particularly Ann Perkins, but usually to little success.[23][32] Tom was married to an attractive surgeon named Wendy at the start of the show, but it is eventually revealed to be a green card marriage that amicably ends in divorce.[21][33]

Ann Perkins

Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), Leslie's best friend, is a nurse who eventually takes a part-time position with Pawnee's department of public health.[34][35] Ann and Leslie meet after Ann requests at a town meeting that an abandoned construction pit be filled, and Leslie pushes to have it turned into a park.[7] Even before getting her part-time Pawnee job, Ann often spent time at city hall and helped the parks department on their endeavors due to her friendship with Leslie.[34][35] Ann was dating Andy Dwyer at the start of the show, but she broke up with him after the first season after learning Andy faked the severity of an injury so that Ann would pamper him.[36][37] She started dating city planner Mark Brendanawicz, but they split up by the end of the second season.[38] Ann briefly dated Chris Traeger until he broke up with her,[39] leaving Ann emotionally distraught and prompting her to go on a string of dates with multiple men.[19][40]

April Ludgate

April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) is a perpetually sarcastic and apathetic college student who started the show working as an intern in the parks and recreation department, but is eventually hired as Ron Swanson's full-time assistant.[13] She always speaks in a deadpan and disinterested tone of voice, often making dry comments or mocking those around her, and expresses little interest in her job.[41][42] Nevertheless, she secretly has a deep appreciation for Leslie Knope.[43] In contrast to April's personality, her parents are extremely positive and enthusiastic people.[44][45] At the start of the show, April was dating the bisexual Derek and, by extension, his boyfriend Ben.[46] They eventually broke up, and April harbored a crush on Andy Dwyer for most of the second season.[47] They started dating in the third season and, after a very short period, were married during an impromptu ceremony in the episode "Andy and April's Fancy Party".[43] She also became the manager of Andy's band, Mouse Rat.[48]

Andy Dwyer

Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) is a goofy and dim-witted but lovable slacker who works as a shoeshiner at Pawnee city hall. He was dating Ann at the start of the show and, prior to the events of the first episode, he falls into a construction pit and breaks both his legs. This inadvertently caused Ann to meet Leslie after Ann attends a city hall meeting to demand the pit be filled in.[7] Ann broke up with Andy after learning he faked the severity of his injuries so she would pamper him.[36][37] The unemployed and homeless Andy initially lives in the pit, but became more self-sufficient when Leslie gets him the shoeshiner job.[8][49] Andy started dating April Ludgate during the third season and, after a very short period, the two got married on a whim in the episode "Andy and April's Fancy Party".[43] Andy is the lead singer and guitarist for his band, Mouse Rat.[48] Andy was originally only meant to appear in the first season, but the Parks and Recreation producers like Chris Pratt so much that, almost immediately after casting him, they decided to make him a regular cast member.[5]

Ben Wyatt

Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) is Leslie's ex-boyfriend. He joined the show in the penultimate second season episode "The Master Plan" as an Indiana state auditor, but eventually took a job at Pawnee working for Chris.[38][50] When he was 18, Ben was elected mayor of his Minnesota hometown, but was impeached after two months because he had no government experience and bankrupted the town.[51][52] He became an auditor as an attempt to redeem himself and prove he can responsibly manage city government.[51] At the start of the show, Ben contrasted Chris' cheery personality by bluntly describing the need for economic cuts in Pawnee, which caused conflicts between Leslie and Ben.[38][52] While Ben never previously established roots in a town due to the constant traveling from his job, Ben gradually came to develop a love of Pawnee, which coincided with his developing romantic interest in Leslie herself.[15] The two start dating in the episode "Road Trip", despite Chris' strict policy forbidding workplace romances.[48] When he learns Leslie is running for office in the episode "I am Leslie Knope" they break up for fear of jepordizing Leslie's chance of winning the election in the event they could get caught and create a scandal.

Chris Traeger

Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) first appeared in "The Master Plan", along with Ben Wyatt, as an Indiana state auditor who visits Pawnee to help solve their crippling financial problems.[38][50] This led to major budget cutbacks and, eventually, a three-month government shutdown.[53][54] In the episode "Camping", he took a job as acting city manager after the previous manager, Paul Iaresco, suffered a heart attack.[55][56] Chris is an extremely positive person who is always upbeat and energetic.[54][57] Extremely health-conscious, he exercises constantly and eats only healthy foods,[nb 2] and hopes to be the first human being to live 150 years.[51] He briefly dated Ann Perkins, but the two split up in the third season.[39] Chris imposed a strict policy against workplace dating at city hall, which serves as a detriment to Leslie and Ben.[19] Rob Lowe was originally expected to appear in only eight episodes as a guest star,[60][61] but eventually signed on to remain on the show as a permanent cast member.[62][63]

Jerry Gergich

Jerry Gergich (Jim O'Heir) is a parks and recreation department employee who is regularly mocked and taunted by his fellow co-workers. Jerry is clumsy, overweight and often mangles his speech while speaking publicly. He is teased so badly that, after falling and dislocating his shoulder in the episode "Park Safety", he falsely claimed he was robbed just so his co-workers would not make fun of him.[64][65] However, despite their jokes at his expense, the parks department employees like Jerry, and Jerry himself claims not to mind the jokes because he is nearing retirement with a full pension.[66] Jerry often demonstrates great artistic talent and is an excellent pianist and painter,[67][68] although his talents are usually overlooked or ignored by his colleagues.[69] Jerry's personality was not established until the second season, but the producers cast O'Heir at the start of the show because they liked the actor and decided they would develop the character later in the series.[66]

Donna Meagle

Donna Meagle (Retta) is an employee for the parks and recreation department. Confident and lively, she has been described by NBC as the "parks diva".[70] Donna enjoys partying, and often takes two shots of alcohol at once without any problem.[51] She can be extremely competitive, especially when it comes to dating, where she has an every woman for herself philosophy.[58] Nevertheless, Donna helped Ann recover from her bad break-up with Chris by giving her advice and encouraging her to pursue rebound dates.[71][72] Donna has worked at the parks department longer than Leslie,[73] and is one of the few people who can speak sternly to Ron Swanson.[69] She is the proud owner of a Mercedes, which she is extremely protective of and often brags about.[74][75] As with Jerry Gergich, the personality for Donna was not established until the second season, but Retta was cast during the first season because the producers liked her, and they decided they would establish her character as the series progressed.[66]

Mark Brendanawicz

Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider) was a Pawnee city planner who dated Ann Perkins for much of the second season. At the start of the show, Mark was an unrequited love interest for Leslie Knope. The two had once had a one-night stand six years earlier and Leslie never got over him, although Mark did not return her affections.[76][77] Jaded and disillusioned with his job due to government red tape,[78] Mark often pragmatically insisted to Leslie that her ambitions to turn a construction pit into a park were unlikely to succeed.[79][80] Nevertheless, he admired Leslie's unwavering optimism in the face of government ineffectiveness and tried to help her.[79] In the first season finale "Rock Show", a drunken Mark tried to kiss Leslie, but she rejected him and he accidentally falls into the pit.[37] Although Mark is selfish and promiscuous with women at the start of the show,[79][81] he becomes kinder when he starts dating Ann,[82][83] and even plans to propose to her.[67] After she broke up with him, Mark left his city hall position for a job in the private sector, marking Schneider's departure from the series.[53]

Family and friends of main characters

Dave Sanderson

A balding man with red hair and a red goatee, wearing a black T-shirt, speaks into a microphone.
Stand-up comedian Louis C.K. guest starred as Pawnee police Sergeant Dave Sanderson.

Dave Sanderson (guest star Louis C.K.) is a former boyfriend of Leslie Knope and ex-police sergeant in Pawnee. Socially awkward, Dave always speaks in an extremely deadpan and technical tone of voice,[84][85] but has a sweet personality despite his serious and sometimes gruff exterior.[86] He first appears in "The Stakeout", where he arrested Tom after finding him suspiciously lingering in a parked van. Leslie angrily demanded that Dave set Tom free, and Dave immediately found Leslie attractive.[85][87] He asked her on a date in "Beauty Pageant" and she accepted, although she initially hesitated when Dave failed to recognize photos of major female political figures hanging in Leslie's office.[88][89] Nervous about the upcoming first date, Leslie became drunk in "Practice Date" and visited Dave's house in the middle of the night, acting foolish until Dave brought her home. Leslie was humiliated, but Dave comforted her the next day and they continued dating.[21][86] In "Greg Pikitis", Dave helped Leslie monitor her arch-nemesis, high school student Greg Pikitis, on Halloween night and ultimately helped catch him in the middle of committing a prank.[90][91] Dave made his final appearance in "Christmas Scandal", when he told Leslie he is in the United States Army Reserve and has been called for maintenance work in San Diego. He invited Leslie to move there with him, but she insisted she could not leave her home of Pawnee, so they amicably split up.[92][93]

Derek and Ben

Derek (Blake Lee) is April Ludgate's bisexual ex-boyfriend, who himself also had a boyfriend named Ben (Josh Duvendeck) while dating her. Like April, both Derek and Ben are cynical and sarcastic, often making fun of others around them. The two first appear together in "Pawnee Zoo", when they and April congratulated Leslie for organizing a publicity stunt that married two gay penguins at the local zoo.[46] In "Sweetums", they began to notice April was spending more time with Andy Dwyer and they mocked his personality, upsetting and embarrassing April.[94][95] In "Galentine's Day", Ben and Derek attended a senior citizen dance party, where they make fun of the seniors. Tired of their constantly sarcastic behavior and growing more romantically interested in Andy, April broke up with them.[96][97] Ben and Derek made brief cameos again in "Fancy Party", where they appeared as flower-men at Andy and April's wedding.[43]

Dr. Harris

Dr. Harris (Cooper Thornton) is a doctor who works at the hospital with Ann Perkins. He has an extremely sarcastic personality and responds to everything in a deadpan manner. He first appeared in the first season finale "Rock Show", where he tended to Andy Dwyer, who broke his legs falling into a construction pit.[98] He appeared again in "Greg Pikitis", where he attended Ann's Halloween party dressed as a doctor.[91] When the party proves boring, Dr. Harris left early and took the bottle of wine he brought to Ann's party because no one drank it.[90] Dr. Harris tended to Andy again in "Freddy Spaghetti", after Andy was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle. When Andy asked whether Dr. Harris can have him fully healed in the next 10 minutes, the doctor sarcastically responded, "Sure, I'll just advance medical science 30 years."[99] He also appeared in the third season finale "Li'l Sebastian", where he treated Chris Traeger for a case of tendinitis. Chris responded to Dr. Harris' sarcasm by declaring him "literally the meanest doctor ever."[48][100]

Jean-Ralphio Saperstein

Jean-Ralphio Saperstein (Ben Schwartz) is a cocky friend of Tom Haverford who, like Tom himself, fancies himself a pickup artist and baller, although he is looked upon with contempt by most people around him except Tom.[100][101] He tries to dress stylishly, makes up and raps spontaneous rhymes and often speaks in slang terms such as variations of the suffix -izzle as popularized by rapper Snoop Dogg.[102] Jean-Ralphio is first introduced in "The Set Up", when Tom brought him in for an interview to be Ron Swanson's new assistant; he was quickly rejected.[76][101] Jean-Ralphio contributed $5,000 when Tom was seeking a $10,000 investment in the Snakehole Lounge nightclub.[101][103] In the third season finale, "Li'l Sebastian", Tom quit his city hall job to form an entertainment company with Jean-Ralphio called Entertainment 720.[24][25] The role of Jean-Ralphio was created specifically for Schwartz because the Parks and Recreation producers liked the actor so much.[48]

Justin Anderson

A black-haired man wearing a black fedora, a black leather jacket and a green T-shirt.
Justin Theroux portrayed lawyer Justin Anderson, a love interest for Leslie Knope.

Justin Anderson (guest star Justin Theroux) is a lawyer and long-time friend of Ann who briefly dated Leslie. He is very charming,[104] regularly travels around the world and has done many extravagant things, such as mountain climbing.[105] He loves telling entertaining stories, and sometimes seems less interested in the people around him than he is in listening to and learning new stories.[106][107] Justin and Ann never dated, but she seems to secretly harbor romantic feelings for him,[13][76] something that caused difficulties between Ann and Andy when they were dating.[13][104] Justin first appears in "The Set Up", when he provided legal advice to the parks and recreation department, and Leslie developed a romantic interest in him. She asks Ann to set them up, but she hesitated to do so, prompting Mark to accuse her of still having feelings for Justin. Ann finally sets up a date,[13][76] and the two start dating regularly. Impressed by Justin's worldliness, Leslie was so determined to impress him with a house party that, in "Leslie's House", she abused her government power by recruiting town employees to provide entertainment.[108][109] Justin made his final appearance in "Galentine's Day", when Justin and Leslie tried to find Frank Beckerson, the long-lost love of Leslie's mother Marlene, and reunite the two. Upon finding him, Leslie quickly realized Frank is too strange and tried to call the plan off, but Justin insisted on going through with it. After the evening ends disastrously, Ron points out to Leslie that Justin is a selfish person who only cares about getting more stories, so she breaks up with him.[106] Tom, who strongly admired Justin's hipness and idolized him, became extremely disappointed by the break-up and reacted like a child whose parents are divorcing.[96][108]

Lucy

Lucy (Natalie Morales) is a bartender at the Snakehole Lounge and a former girlfriend of Tom Haverford. Lucy meets Tom in "The Master Plan" after he came to the bar to settle his tab from the night before, when he unsuccessfully attempted to pick up several girls by buying drinks for them. Rather than try to pick up Lucy like the other girls, he simply acts like himself, and the two end up hitting it off and started dating.[110][111] Lucy is intelligent and funny,[112] and she freely accepts Tom's immature and sometimes inappropriate personality.[47] She jokingly claimed to be attracted to Tom because, "You're cute and you're small enough for me to throw you around."[113] However, it eventually became clear to Lucy that Tom was not over his ex-wife Wendy, particularly due to how upset he got when Ron Swanson starts dating her. In "Time Capsule", Lucy broke up with Tom, but told him he should call her if he ever gets over Wendy.[114][115] In "End of the World," Lucy attends Tom's "best party of all-time," the two have a good time, and she kisses Tom the next morning, hinting at the possibility of their relationship starting up again.

The Ludgate family

April Ludgate's parents, Larry and Rita (John Ellison Conlee and Terri Hoyos) are, in contrast to her sarcastic and apathetic personality, extremely enthusiastic and positive people,[44][45] who affectionally call their daughter Zuzu.[43][44] Rita is from Puerto Rico, which April sardonically claims is what makes her so "lively and colorful";[116] otherwise, however, Larry and Rita represent the archetypical Midwesterner couple.[45] Their other daughter and April's younger sister, Natalie (Minni Jo Mazzola), is much more like April in personality: she is sullen, dismissive of others and seemingly disinterested in everything around her.[45][58] The Ludgate family is first introduced in "94 Meetings", when Ron met them after coming to the Ludgate home to speak with April. Larry and Rita were extremely pleased to meet him, and April revealed Rita is a big fan of Ron's secret jazz saxophonist alter ego, Duke Silver.[44][45] The family also attended April and Andy's surprise wedding ceremony in "Andy and April's Fancy Party", where they voiced their approval of the marriage. Natalie gave an unsentimental and indifferent speech about her sister during the reception, but the speech was still enough to reduce an emotional April to tears.[43][58]

Marlene Griggs-Knope

Marlene Griggs-Knope (Pamela Reed) is Leslie's mother and a major political figure in Pawnee's school system.[117] She is a shrewd and cunning politician who is willing to resort to unethical tactics to get her way. Although Leslie has very different standards,[118] she nevertheless sees Marlene as a source of inspiration,[119] and is extremely eager to impress her mother.[25] Marlene has low expectations for her daughter's ability to succeed,[120] but is ultimately supportive of her, as indicated in "Canvassing" when Marlene attended Leslie's public forum in support of her despite privately predicting it would be a "train wreck".[117] In "The Banquet", Marlene encouraged Leslie to use scandalous information to blackmail a Pawnee zoning official into supporting Leslie's park project.[121][122] In "The Bubble", Leslie secretly prepared her boyfriend Ben for a meeting with Marlene with the hopes her mother would be impressed with him. The plan backfired, however, when Marlene became attracted to Ben and made a pass at him.[25][123]

Orin

Orin (Eric Isenhower) is the creepy and intense friend of April Ludgate. He seldom speaks and often stares at people and makes them feel awkward. He first appeared in "April and Andy's Fancy Party", where he made Ben feel uncomfortable; at one point Ben said to him, "No, Orin, I don't know how I'm going to die. Wait, are you asking me or telling me?" At that same party, Orin spoke to Chris, but Chris was so positive he overwhelmes Orin.[124] Orin reappeared in an art show at "Jerry's Painting", where he stood silently and motionlessly next to his exhibition: a completely blank canvas.[125] Orin was originally mentioned in a throw-away joke in "Time Capsule", but Parks and Recreation screenwriter Katie Dippold liked the idea of the character so much she worked him into her script for "Andy and April's Fancy Party".[48]

Tammy "Tammy I" Swanson

Tammy Swanson (Patricia Clarkson) is the first ex-wife of Ron Swanson. Ron has been married to two women named Tammy, and he hates both of them. Tammy is an IRS agent who arrives at the end of the third season (although she is not shown to the audience until the fourth season premiere) to audit Ron. Both Ron and his second wife named Tammy panic at the news of her arrival, and Ron attempts to flee before deciding to return to face her.

Tammy "Tammy II" Swanson

Tammy Swanson (Megan Mullally) is the second ex-wife of Ron Swanson; Ron has been married to two women named Tammy, and he hates both of them.[21] Tammy is a manipulative woman who uses sex as a weapon, and she constantly tries to make Ron miserable.[126] However, the two maintain a strong sexual attraction to each other.[127][128] Tammy is director of the Pawnee Library, which is widely considered a horrible place by Leslie Knope and the parks department employees.[127] Tammy is introduced in "Ron and Tammy", when she approached Leslie in a friendly way under the guise that she wants to talk to Ron and work out her differences with him. Secretly, she was scheming for Ron to give her a lot Leslie wanted to turn into a park, so she can instead turn it into a library branch. Once she and Ron reconnected, the two fight loudly, but quickly began having sex and briefly reunited. Ron eventually realized he was being manipulated and, with Leslie's help, resisted Tammy's efforts.[49] Tammy returns in "Ron & Tammy: Part Two", where she went on a date with Tom to make Ron jealous. Tammy and Ron ended up having a night of drunken sex and mayhem, which ended with the two of them getting re-married. However, when Tom tried to intervene and Tammy brutally beat him up, Ron remembered how horrible Tammy was and ended their marriage again.[126][129] Tammy briefly appeared in the third season finale, "Li'l Sebastian", where she and Ron learned together that Ron's first wife, "Tammy 1", had arrived in town, which made Tammy flee in terror.[10]

Mullally is the real-life wife of Nick Offerman, who plays Ron.[49] Michael Schur conceived the idea for "Ron and Tammy", and asked Offerman whether he and Mullally would be opposed to her playing such a terrible character. Offerman was extremely responsive to the idea.[17] Offerman and Mullally improvised many of their on-screen fights, as well as their unusual kissing and sexual encounters.[130][131] During one scene in "Ron and Tammy", where the two characters run into a motel to have sex, Mullally removed her top and threw it into the air. Mullally improvised the move and did not tell the crew she planned to do it.[132] Mullally's performance was well received by viewers, which made the Parks and Recreation producers feel more comfortable about using celebrity guest actors in later episodes.[131][133]

Tammy "Tammy Zero" Swanson

In addition to both of his ex wives being named Tammy, Ron's mother ( Paula Pell) is also named Tammy. She shares many personality traits with both Tammy I and Tammy II and utterly dominates Ron when present. She first appeared in the episode "Ron & Tammys".

Wendy Haverford

Wendy Haverford (Jama Williamson) started the season as the wife of Tom Haverford, although it is later revealed to be a green card marriage that amicably ends in a divorce. Wendy came to Pawnee from Canada and married Tom so she could remain in the country.[21][134] Introduced in the first season finale "Rock Band", Wendy is an attractive, outgoing and wealthy pediatric surgeon, and the other characters are surprised she is married to Tom, who often brags about her attractiveness.[37][90] Although Tom outwardly claims he is fine with the divorce, he secretly harbors romantic feelings for Wendy and wishes for the marriage to continue.[33] When the parks department employees hold a contest in "Practice Date" about who can find out the biggest secret about the others, Ron learns about the green card marriage, but he keeps it a secret at Tom's request.[21][134]

The divorce proceedings begin in "Tom's Divorce", and Tom continued to pretend he is alright with the arrangement. However, when Ron asked Tom whether he could ask Wendy out after the divorce, Tom was secretly heartbroken, despite giving Ron his blessing.[135][136] In "Galentine's Day", Tom admitted to Wendy his true feelings for her, but she rejected him, prompting an angry Tom to sue her for alimony in an attempt to blackmail her into going out with him. This effort was short-lived, however, and Tom eventually apologized and the two parted on good terms.[97][137] A horrified Tom learned in the second season finale, "Freddy Spaghetti", that Wendy and Ron are indeed dating.[53][138] Although the pairing caused tension between Ron and Tom, Ron proved so happy in his relationship with Wendy that it allowed him to resist the temptations of his horrible ex-wife Tammy. In "Ron & Tammy: Part Two", Ron and Wendy broke up after she decided to move back to Canada to take care of her ailing parents.[126][139]

Elected officials and city employees

Bill Dexhart

A brown-haired man wearing a brown fleece jacket looks directly ahead.
Kevin Symons portrayed Pawnee Councilman Bill Dexhart.

Bill Dexhart (Kevin Symons) is a Pawnee councilman who regularly participates in outrageous sex scandals with multiple partners.[21][84] His character was inspired by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and his 2009 scandal, in which he admitted to a long-time extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman. Dexhart first appeared in "Practice Date", when he publicly admitted to having participated in a foursome in a Brazil cave under the guise of building houses for the underprivileged.[21] Dexhart was featured prominently in "Christmas Scandal", which began with Leslie portraying him in a satirical holiday skit in which he discussed his an affair with multiple women that resulted in a love child. Unbeknownst to Leslie, Dexhart turned out to be involved in a sexual arrangement very similar to that one: four-way sex in a hospital room where he has just overseen the birth of his love child. When he confronted her about it, members of the media took pictures of Leslie and Dexhart together and speculated that the two of them were having an affair. Dexhart refused to deny the allegations, and even went so far as to confirm them, because the fictional affair was less scandalous than his actual sexual discretions. As proof of the affair, he claimed Leslie had a mole on her right buttock, but she publicly proved him wrong by dropping her pants on live television and revealing there is no mole.[84][93]

Carl Lorthner

Carl Lorthner (guest star Andy Samberg, who starred on Saturday Night Live with Amy Poehler)[140] is a park ranger and the head of outdoor security for Pawnee. He constantly talks extremely loudly, speaking at screaming levels even when asked to talk quietly,[64][65] and works as a ranger because he cannot hold down a job that involves working indoors due to his inability to control the volume of his voice.[64] Carl appeared in "Park Safety", in which Jerry claimed to be mugged while walking his dog in Ratsett Park, which fell under Carl's territory. Leslie launched efforts to make the parks safer and had Carl take them on a tour of the area; he showed Leslie, Tom and Jerry around on a mobile cart that had been attacked and urinated upon by raccoons.[141] Carl eventually discovered that Jerry was not mugged at all, but accidentally fell into a creek by himself. Angry that Leslie blamed Carl's security measures for the mugging, he threatened to reveal the truth on Joan Callamezzo's morning news show, Pawnee Today. Leslie convinced him not to do so at the last minute, and they instead angered Callamezzo by discussing the 2009 film Avatar and whether it lived up to its hype.[141][142]

Douglass Howser

Councilman Howser (Yvans Jourdain) is a Pawnee councilman who repeatedly encounters Leslie in embarrassing or awkward situations around city hall, during which time Leslie nevertheless tries to discuss politics with him.[34][143] For example, in "94 Meetings", Leslie ran into Councilman Howser in the men's bathroom, which she entered while following Ron Swanson and trying to discuss something with him. Afterward, Leslie awkwardly blurted to Howser, "Councilman Howser. I saw your penis."[143]

Hugh Trumple

Hugh Trumple (Eric Pierpoint) is chief of the Pawnee police department. He has a very serious and gruff personality, and speaks in a dry, monotonic manner.[144][145] Trumple has great respect for Leslie Knope because of her passion for helping those around her.[144][146] Chief Trumple first appeared in "Ron & Tammy: Part Two", when Ron Swanson gets arrested for a night of debauchery with his ex-wife Tammy. The chief agreed to Leslie's request that he release him to Leslie's custody. Ben feared Leslie cashing in this favor meant the chief would not agree to provide security for the upcoming harvest festival, but Chief Trumple agreed to do so anyway out of his respect for Leslie, telling Ben he will always do favors for Leslie because she is the kind of person who uses those favors to help people.[126][146] The chief reappeared in the episode "Eagleton", where he arrested Leslie when she refused to apologize after getting in a fight with Lindsay Carlisle Shay, her rival from the neighboring city of Eagleton.[145]

Joe

A man with brown hair and a brown mustache wearing a blue denim jacket looks directly ahead.
Stand-up comedian Kirk Fox portrays Joe, who works in the Pawnee sewage department.

Joe (Kirk Fox), also sometimes called "Sewage Joe",[35] works for the Pawnee sewer department, which he calls the "Toilet Party".[147] Despite the nature of his department, Joe regularly hires supermodel-like interns.[148][149] The parks and sewer departments have an ongoing rivalry and Joe regularly mocks them, much to the confusion of Leslie, who does not understand why he considers the sewer department better than parks and recreation. Joe first appeared in "The Camel", when the various Pawnee departments competed to design a mural for city hall. Joe was arrogant and bragged to Leslie about his department's chances at success, and his department ultimately designed a good mural, but the contest ended without a winner.[148][150] In "Telethon", Joe made a pass at April. When she rejected him, he insisted he did not care because the sewer department is "waist deep in hot snizz", a reference to the sewer department interns.[67][151] Joe also appeared in "Soulmates", where he made a pass at Leslie, prompting her to wonder why only jerks have recently seemed to be attracted to her.[147][152] When Leslie asked Joe his standards for women, he replied only that they cannot be elderly.[153]

Ken Hotate

Ken Hotate (Jonathan Joss) is the leader of Pawnee's local Wamapoke Native American tribe. He also runs a casino in the city.[154] He appeared in "Harvest Festival", where he asked Leslie to relocate her festival because it was taking place on the sacred burial grounds of the Battle of Indian Hill, where his ancestors were killed in a seven-day battle. When Leslie insisted there was nowhere she could move the festival without being offensive due to Pawnee's extremely bloody history, Ken threatened to place a curse on the festival. He knew the curse to be fake, but believed it would frighten people enough to ruin the festival,[155][156] insisting, "There are two things I know about white people: they love Matchbox 20, and they are terrified of curses."[154][155] Ken's efforts proved successful, as the local media learned about the curse and reported on it so extensively that the festival was nearly ruined. Leslie and Ken came to a compromise after Leslie agreed to place a Wamapoke history exhibit by the entrance of the festival, and Ken lifted the fake curse during a phony ceremony, where he said nonsense chants including "Doobee doobee do".[72] Jonathan Joss previously voiced John Redcorn in the animated television series King of the Hill, which was co-created by Parks and Recreation co-creator Greg Daniels.[154][155]

Kyle

Kyle (Andy Forrest) is a government employee and regular customer at Andy's shoeshine stand. He is routinely mocked and laughed at, not only by Andy but others at city hall as well, even Jerry Gergich, who himself is usually scorned by his co-workers.[157][158] For example, in the episode "Camping", Kyle told Andy that his identity had been stolen, and Andy reacted by laughing hysterically.[159] Kyle also appeared in "Soulmates", where he was one of the judges in a contest between Chris and Ron to determine whether red or lean meat is better. Kyle complimented the umami taste in one of the burgers, prompting fellow judge Jerry to condemn him for acting pretentious.[160][161]

Mayor Gunderson

Mayor Gunderson is the mayor of Pawnee and, although he has been mentioned in multiple episodes of Parks and Recreation, he has yet to make an actual appearance on the show. He was first mentioned in "Christmas Scandal", when the parks and recreation department held a satirical holiday skit full of inside jokes about Pawnee, and April declared, "That's crazier than Mayor Gunderson's dog, Rufus."[93] The mayor and his dog played a major part in the episode "The Possum", when Mayor Gunderson's assistant ordered the parks department to capture an opossum that bit Rufus on a Pawnee golf course.[162][163] Andy, who helps Leslie capture the opossum, said at one point, "We're acting under direct orders from Mayor Gunderson's dog."[162] For the funeral scene in the third season finale "Li'l Sebastian", Michael Schur said the writing staff considered killing off Mayor Gunderson, but they instead went with miniature horse Li'l Sebastian because it was decided having an animal die would be more appropriate and less morbid.[48] Amy Poehler has stated she would love Bill Murray to play Mayor Gunderson and, during an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, jokingly announced she would pay him $250 if he played the role.[164][165]

Paul Iaresco

Paul Iaresco (Phil Reeves) is the Pawnee city manager, which makes him supervisor of all the departments and staff in city hall. He was first introduced in "Canvassing", when he asked Ron to fast-track Leslie's plans to convert a construction pit into a park. This inadvertently led to a disastrous public forum, where most attendees forcefully opposed the project.[166] Paul appeared in several other Parks and Recreation episodes, including "The Master Plan", where he announced the pending arrival of state auditors Ben Wyatt and Chris Traeger due to Pawnee's crippling budget problems.[51] In "Camping", Paul held a press conference to commend Leslie for her successful relaunch of the city's harvest festival. During the conference, he suffered a massive heart attack and accidentally clutched Leslie's breast as he fell to the ground; one newspaper's story about the incident read, "Knope Grope is Last Hope!" Paul took a leave of absence after an octuple bypass, and Chris Traeger took over as interim city manager.[55][56]

Scott Braddock

Scott Braddock (guest star H. Jon Benjamin) is a high-strung Pawnee city attorney who becomes extremely nervous about anything that could lead to a lawsuit. He appeared in "Kaboom", where Leslie accidentally injured Andy by arranging for a bulldozer to fill in a giant pit, unaware that Andy was inside it. He became hospitalized, and Scott encouraged Leslie not to apologize or admit fault in the incident because it would risk Pawnee getting sued. Scott constantly admonished Leslie when she tries to apologize, at one point shouting, "No miming!" when she made a motion indicating how badly she feels. Andy did file a lawsuit with the hopes of winning enough money to impress his ex-girlfriend Ann, but it ended with a settlement that resulted in the pit getting filled in.[8][167]

Members of the media

Crazy Ira and The Douche

Crazy Ira and The Douche (Matt Besser and Nick Kroll) are two shock jocks of a morning zoo-style Pawnee radio program. They serve primarily as a parody of those types of radio shows, especially in a small-town market like Pawnee.[168][169] The show prominently features fart jokes and "your mom" insults, as well as constant sound effects from their sound man "China Joe",[170][171] who hates his job.[171][172] Crazy Ira and The Douche are widely admired in Pawnee, especially by Tom Haverford,[172][173] and are considered much better than their rival radio show, "Tubby Tony and The Papaya" (who never appear on-screen).[170] They first appeared on "Media Blitz" when, during an interview with Leslie and Tom about the upcoming harvest festival, they revealed their true motive was to lambast Ben for his failed tenure as a city mayor during his teen years.[168][170] The interview proved disastrous for Ben, who was so socially awkward he could barely talk, and it led to other Pawnee media taking on the story and nearly ruining the harvest festival.[168][173] The Douche reappeared in "The Fight", when he went on a date with Ann to the Snakehole Lounge bar.[102] This came at a time when Ann was regularly going on a string of dates with random, underachieving men, and the date with The Douche led to a major argument between Ann and Leslie because Ann was supposed to be preparing for a job interview Leslie had arranged for her.[174] Later, on his radio show, The Douche dismissed both Ann and Leslie as likely lesbians.[175]

Before his appearance as Crazy Ira, Matt Besser was a comedian with the Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch comedy show and troupe which also featured Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler.[169]

Joan Callamezzo

Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins) is the hostess of Pawnee Today, a local news magazine/talk show that combines elements of NBC's Today show and news shows like Nancy Grace.[84][176] She often serves as a parody of the media in her tendency to turn small matters into big stories and her desire to find the most negative possible aspects of any given story.[nb 3] Joan is more intimidating than other members of the Pawnee media, as Leslie declares that she "runs this town".[173][178] However, Leslie also has a tendency of taking over Joan's show when she appears on it and discussing whatever she wants.[168] In "Christmas Scandal", Leslie appeared on Pawnee Today to refute accusations that she was having an affair with Councilman Bill Dexhart. When Dexhart himself appeared on the show and offered proof of the affair by claiming Leslie has a mole on her buttock, Leslie pulled her pants down on the show to prove him wrong. Upon realizing Leslie has no mole, Joan called Dexhart's lies about Leslie "No mole-gate", named after the Watergate scandal.[92][93] In "Media Blitz", Leslie and Ben appeared on Pawnee Today to combat rumors that he was going to bankrupt the town due to his past as a failed teen mayor. Ben was bombarded with angry callers and labeled a "human disaster" on the show's subtitles.[173][178] Joan reappeared in "Harvest Festival", where she was determined to find a problem with the festival Leslie organized. Initially disappointed to find no problems, she eventually learned about a supposed Indian curse placed upon the harvest festival by a local Pawnee tribe, which she turned into a major scandalous story.[72][154]

Collins was originally expected to appear only in one Parks and Recreation episode, but returned for subsequent episodes because the writing staff enjoyed her performance.[179]

Perd Hapley

Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson) is a Pawnee television journalist and host of the television news program Ya Heard? With Perd![169][172] He often speaks in awkward and overly-wordy news anchor phrases like "Yet another twist in a story that won't stop unfolding",[179] "The statement this reporter has is a question",[180] and "Also joining us today is a different person".[181] Like other reporters on Parks and Recreation, Perd often serves as a parody of the pack mentality of the media and their tendency to generate scandals.[nb 4] Perd reported on the sex scandal involving Council Bill Dexhart in "Practice Date",[86] the rumors of Leslie's sexual affair with Dexhart in "Christmas Scandal",[84] and the supposed Indian curse on the harvest festival in "Harvest Festival".[154][155] He also appears in "Telethon" as a guest of Leslie's 24-hour telethon, where he performed the dance move the worm.[67][172] In "Media Blitz", Ben Wyatt appeared on Perd Hapley's show amid a media controversy about Ben's failed tenure as a child mayor. Although Perd only asked simple questions, the nervous Ben had a complete meltdown, which ended with him angrily referring to Perd as "Turd Crapley".[172][182] Perd interviewed Leslie and porn star Brandi Maxxxx in "Jerry's Painting" to discuss whether a painting featuring Leslie nude can be considered art.[183][184]

Jackson was originally expected to appear only in one Parks and Recreation episode, during which his character was seen only on a television screen. He returned for subsequent episodes, however, because the writing staff enjoyed his performance and liked writing jokes for him.[179]

Shauna Malwae-Tweep

Shauna Malwae-Tweep (Alison Becker) is a reporter with the local newspaper, The Pawnee Journal. Shauna meets Leslie Knope in "The Reporter", when she was assigned to write a story about the parks department's efforts to turn a construction pit into a park. When the interviews went badly, Leslie asked Mark Brendanawicz for help dealing with Shauna, and Mark ended up sleeping with her.[81][185] Mark told Shauna he does not believe the park will ever be built. Later, Shauna agreed not to publish the story since she and Mark are in a relationship and it would be a conflict. When Mark says he cannot commit to a relationship, however, she goes ahead with the story.[26][81] Shauna returned in "The Possum", where she interviewed Andy Dwyer for a story about his successful capture of an opossum that had bitten Mayor Gunderson's dog.[186] During that interview, Andy made Shauna feel awkward by openly discussing her having previously slept with Mark.[42] During scenes cut from the episode "The Master Plan", Shauna and Andy flirted with each other, but he ultimately rejected her due to his feelings for April, prompting her to declare, "I can't even land the shoeshine guy." Michael Schur said of the character, "She's just unlucky in love."[51] Shauna also appears in "Time Capsule", where she initially started writing a story about Leslie's plans for a Pawnee time capsule. However, after Kelly Larson handcuffed himself to a pipe when she did not include the Twilight novel in the capsule, Shauna wrote that story instead, with the headline, "Parks Department Foiled by Pipe Dreams".[187] Shauna also appeared in "Media Blitz" as one of the many reporters who wrote about Ben Wyatt's past as a failed teen mayor.[170]

Citizens of Pawnee

Brandi Maxxxx

A woman with long blond hair wearing a blue blouse looks directly ahead.
Mara Marini portrayed porn star Brandi Maxxxx.

Brandi Maxxxx (Mara Marini) is a pornography star who has appeared in more than 200 adult films, despite having been in the business only one year.[188] She appeared in "Jerry's Painting" as a guest on the news show Ya Heard? With Perd!, where host Perd Hapley was interviewing Leslie Knope about a painting she appeared nude in. Brandi was also brought on as a guest and, to Leslie's chagrin, compared Leslie's painting to pornography and defended them both.[31][184] She claimed anyone should be allowed to have sex anywhere they wanted, and falsely believed Leslie felt the same way.[31][189] When Leslie quoted United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart's famous claim that he cannot define pornography but "I know it when I see it", Brandi was asked to define it and she replied, "For me, it's when the penis goes in."[181] Brandi also invited Leslie to appear in her next film.[125] Tom tried to flirt with Brandi, but his efforts were ruined when she recognized him as the basis of a baby-like cherub in the painting.[31]

Chris

Chris (guest star Will Arnett) is a MRI technologist at the hospital where Ann Perkins works. Ann sets Chris up on a blind date in "The Set Up", which went extremely poorly. Chris openly acted rude to Leslie during the dinner, criticizing Leslie's alma mater of Indiana University and expressing disappointment that she only works in regular parks rather than amusement parks.[13][76] Upon learning Leslie has never had an MRI, Chris insisted on immediately taking her to the hospital and giving her one, to which she reluctantly agreed. His inappropriate behavior continued at the hospital, where he made creepy comments about her "industrial-sized" womb during the MRI and made unsubtle comments about expecting to have sex with her later, including asking whether she is having her period.[76] They parted on bad terms, with Chris angry that Leslie refused to have sex with her after the date.[13][76]

Arnett is the real-life husband of Amy Poehler, who plays Leslie.[104] It was not Poehler who arranged for him to be on the show, but rather Michael Schur, who is a good friend of Arnett and felt he would be a good fit for the character.[190]

Jessica Wicks

Jessica Wicks (Susan Yeagley) is a Miss Pawnee beauty pageant winner who became the younger trophy wife of the elderly but wealthy Nick Newport, Sr. Speaking with a slight Southern accent, Jessica is a superficial woman who cares deeply about her own physical appearance and tries hard to charm others around her.[191] She won the Miss Pawnee contest in 1994 primarily based on her looks; her talent during the pageant was packing a suitcase.[89] Jessica first appeared in "Beauty Pageant" as a Miss Pawnee panel judge along with Leslie and Tom. When Tom voted for the beautiful Trish Ianetta but Leslie pushed for a smarter but less attractive contestant, the superficial Jessica sided with Tom.[44][89] She reappeared in "94 Meetings", where she organized a birthday party for Nick Newport, Sr. by completely renovating and tearing down portions of the historic Turnbill Mansion. Leslie unsuccessfully tried to stop her, while Tom simply flirted with her, acknowledging she was a gold digger but calling himself a "gold digger digger".[44][191] Jessica sang a horribly out-of-key song for her husband with an accompanist on the harp.[191]

Kelly Larson

A smiling man with brown hair wearing a black suit jacket and black tie.
Will Forte played Twilight fan Kelly Larson.

Kelly Larson (guest star Will Forte, who starred on Saturday Night Live with Amy Poehler)[192] is a Pawnee resident who advocated for Leslie to include the Twilight novel in a time capsule she was organizing. Appearing in "Time Capsule", Kelly is obsessed with Twilight and knows every detail about the books, the film series and Twilight author Stephenie Meyer.[113][114] When Kelly visited Leslie's office to advocate for the novel, she politely refused, and Kelly responded by handcuffing himself to a pipe in her office, promising to stay there until she agrees.[193] He spent three days in the office,[114] where he got Tom interested in Twilight and held book discussions with Tom and Donna.[113][193] Finally, Leslie revealed she knows Kelly's true motivations: he had recently gone through a divorce and was trying to impress his teenage daughter, who loves Twilight.[113][115] Although sympathetic, Leslie cannot agree to Kelly's request or she would have to accept demands from all Pawnee residents. As a compromise, she held a public meeting where she listened to all demands. Ultimately, when the citizens could not agree on anything, Leslie submitted a video tape of that very meeting, which she believed symbolizes the spirit and passion of Pawnee.[193]

Lawrence

Lawrence (Eric Edelstein) is a Pawnee resident who has criticized the parks and recreation department's plans at public forums, which embodied a recurring Parks and Recreation theme that only citizens opposed to projects bother to attend town meetings.[166] He first appeared in "Canvassing" at a forum Leslie held to raise support for her proposed park project. Like the others who attended, Lawrence was critical of Leslie's plans, and complained about the loud music his neighbor Andy played. He ended the night by telling Leslie, "Hey park lady, you suck," to which she proudly replied, "Hear that? He called me park lady."[117][166] The line was originally meant to be said by someone else, but Michael Schur said it was given to Lawrence because the Parks and Recreation crew liked Edelstein so much.[166] Lawrence reappeared in "Boys' Club", where he angrily stole Andy's radio while Andy was bathing himself in a children's pool in the back yard. This prompted Andy to chase Lawrence through the street naked while using crutches.[3] Lawrence also appeared in a scene that was deleted from "Ron and Tammy", but included in the second season DVD, in which he mocked Andy's new city hall job as a shoeshiner by giving him dozens of soiled shoes to clean.[194]

Marcia Langman

Marcia Langman (Darlene Hunt) is a conservative activist with the Pawnee organization, the Society for Family Stability Foundation.[195][196] She often serves as an antagonist to Leslie by objecting to her plans and arguing against issues she considers offensive. Marcia uses fear-mongering tactics and often expresses racist and homophobic sentiments.[183][195] In her first appearance, "Pawnee Zoo", she objected to Leslie's marriage of two male penguins during a publicity stunt for the zoo. Offended by what she perceived as a public show of support for same-sex marriage, Marcia demanded Leslie's resignation and appeared on the morning news program Pawnee Today to debate the matter with Leslie.[36][195] She next appeared in "Time Capsule", where Marcia objected to a proposal to include the Twilight novel in a Pawnee time capsule, claiming it included offensive sexual content and went against Christian values.[193][195] Marcia reappeared in "Jerry's Painting", where she demanded the destruction of a painting that depicted Leslie as a bare-chested centaur Greek goddess.[197] Condemning it as "government-funded animal porn",[195] she took the matter to the city arts commission, which agreed to destroy it because they do not want to offend anybody.[197] Marcia planned to publicly burn the painting,[31] but Leslie had it switched with a decoy painting and kept the original herself.[195][197]

The Newport family

The Newport family are the owners of the Sweetums candy manufacturer in Pawnee and one of the city's richest and most prominent families. The company has operated and thrived in the city for years, as indicated in the episode "Sweetums", where Leslie screened 30-year-old video footage of a then-young Nick Newport, Sr. (Christopher Murray) discussing how corn syrup was used to fatten cattle at farms.[94] By the time of Parks and Recreation, Nick Newport, Sr. is an elderly man in a wheelchair so senile he can barely speak,[44] and the company is run by his son Nick Newport, Jr. (Gary Weeks), who himself appears in Sweetums commercials along with has two children, Dakota (Harley Graham) and Denver (Ryan Hartwig). In "Sweetums", the company formed a partnership with the city hall to run the concessions stands in Pawnee parks, and Nick Newport, Jr. unveiled their new, supposedly-healthy energy bars Nutriyums.[94][95] He promotes the energy bars through commercials that use similar propagandistic techniques as the commercials of real-life corn refiners: they feature warm images of Nick Newport, Jr. with his dog Shoelace insisting corn syrup is "fine in moderation".[95][198] Ann and Leslie held public forums to inform people the energy bars are not actually healthy, but the citizenry of Pawnee ultimately rejected their arguments and were won over by the charisma of Nick Newport, Jr. and his family,[94][95] particularly when Denver announced they should look under their seats for free Sweetums candy.[94] Nick Newport, Sr. appeared in the episode "94 Meetings", where his young and attractive gold digger wife Jessica Wicks held his 85th birthday party at the Turnbill Mansion. Jessica made major alterations to the historic mansion, and Leslie unsuccessfully tried to intervene to stop her.[44]

Trish Ianetta

Trish Ianetta (April Marie Eden) is an attractive young woman who won the title Miss Pawnee in "Beauty Pageant". She gave unintelligent answers during the pageant and displayed no actual talent: during her talent portion, she did a baton twirling act that involved simply moving the baton around without twirling it.[88][89] In describing herself, she says, "I've been on YouTube. I love wearing bikinis at the beach with everyone there." Trish has been compared to Caitlin Upton, the 2007 Miss South Carolina Teen USA who made an incoherent response during the Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant. Based solely on her physical attractiveness, Trish was favored by the panel of judges, which included Tom Haverford and Jessica Wicks. Only Leslie objected to Trish and unsuccessfully argued for Susan, an intelligent and talented contestant who was less pretty.[88] Trish made another appearance in "The Master Plan", where she was among the girls Tom tried to flirt with during a night at the Snakehole Lounge bar.[51]

People from outside Pawnee

Detlef Schrempf

Detlef Schrempf is a real-life retired basketball player for the Indiana Pacers who portrays himself on Parks and Recreation. He first appeared in "Telethon", where Leslie invited him to make a guest appearance on a 24-hour diabetes telethon. Tom picked him up from the airport, but first took him for a drink to the Snakehole Lounge, where Detlef proved so popular that bar owner Freddy would not let them leave. After Tom got drunk on two light beers, Detlef took him to the telethon, where he made his scheduled appearance.[67][199] Detlef made another appearance in the third season finale "Li'l Sebastian", where Tom and Jean-Ralphio hired him to work for their new entertainment company, Entertainment 720. His only job was to shoot basketballs around the office; Detlef tried giving them business advice, but they disregarded it.[200][201] In Season 4, he remained at Entertainment 720, and was hanging out with Roy Hibbert, who had the free time to work with them due to the NBA lockout; both men roundly mocked Tom and Jean-Ralphio's lack of business sense.

Prior to filming "Telethon", Schrempf's acting skills had been limited to appearances on the American comedy series Married... with Children and the German soap opera Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten. Michael Schur said of his performance, "For a guy who literally never acted before in his life, he was really funny."[202]

Eduardo

Eduardo (Carlo Mendez) was an attractive young Venezuelan man who briefly dated April Ludgate.[203][204] The two met during April's vacation to Venezuela and she brought him back to Pawnee, primarily to make Andy jealous.[113][204] Eduardo, who only spoke Spanish, first appeared in "Go Big or Go Home", where Andy vowed to continue pursuing April despite her new relationship. When April claimed in Spanish that Andy just described his plans to become a woman, Eduardo encouraged Andy to follow his dreams, surprising Andy.[204] In "Time Capsule", Andy and Eduardo started bonding, particularly over their mutual appreciation for the Dave Matthews Band. When April learned they were becoming friends, she became frustrated and broke up with Eduardo, who returned to Venezuela.[113][115]

Frank Beckerson

Frank Beckerson (guest star John Larroquette) is a man who, in his youth, had a passionate love affair with Leslie Knope's mother, Marlene Griggs-Knope. The two met when Marlene was 18 years old and Frank, a lifeguard, saved her life. They had a two-week affair before going their separate ways.[106] Decades later, Marlene shared the story of her long-lost love with Leslie, and Leslie's boyfriend Justin Anderson insisted they find Frank and surprise Marlene by reuniting the pair. Leslie was initially pleased with the idea, and together they tracked Frank to his new home in Illinois. However, the older Frank is an eccentric man who has long been unemployed and is extremely socially awkward, repeatedly vomiting in nervousness at the prospect of seeing Marlene.[106][205] He also embarrassed Leslie by showing her naked photos of Marlene from her youth.[106] Leslie tried to call off the reunion, but Justin insisted on going through with it, and they brought Frank to a Valentine's Day senior citizen dance to meet Marlene. She was initially pleased to see him, but upon learning his life amounted to nothing, she rejected Frank, who publicly berated Marlene on a dance hall stage before storming off.[97][205]

Lindsay Carlisle Shay

A smiling brown-haired woman wearing a blue denim jacket standing outside.
Parker Posey, who co-starred with Amy Poehler in the 2009 comedy film Spring Breakdown, portrayed Lindsay Carlisle Shay.

Lindsay Carlisle Shay (guest star Parker Posey) is the parks and recreation director of Eagleton, Pawnee's richer neighboring town. Once best friends with Leslie Knope, the two are now bitter rivals. Five years before the events of the third season,[206][207] Lindsay worked in the Pawnee parks department with Leslie, and the two made a vow they would never leave their hometown. Leslie was offered the parks director job in Eagleton but did not accept it due to this pact. However, the job was subsequently offered to Lindsay and she accepted, which Leslie considered an act of betrayal.[74][207] Although she does not admit it, Lindsay appears to harbor resentment toward Leslie for having been offered the job first.[206] Since leaving Pawnee, Lindsay lost 35 pounds, had a nose job,[74][208] adopted a slight aristocratic accent and developed a snobbish personality.[208][209] She regularly insults Leslie and others in Pawnee with passive-aggressive, condescending comments,[74][209] and has condemned Pawnee as "a dirty little nightmare from which you'll never wake up".[74] Lindsay first appears in the episode "Eagleton", where she built a fence directly through a park Pawnee and Eagleton share to keep the Pawnee children out of her town. Leslie tried to fight this action, culminating in Leslie and Lindsay fighting amid piles of garbage and both getting arrested. Leslie ultimately solved the problem by turning Pawnee's side of the park into a wiffle ball field and making the fence its home run wall. Lindsay was ultimately impressed with Leslie's solution and her work ethic, and she seemed to respond positively when Leslie offered a reconciliation.[206][208]

Posey previously starred with Amy Poehler in the 2009 comedy film Spring Breakdown. She had been in discussions with the Parks and Recreation staff to make a guest appearance since the show debuted, and grew frustrated when it took several months before she received an invitation.[210][211]

Raul

Raul Alejandro Bastilla Pedro de Veloso de Morana (guest star Fred Armisen, who starred on Saturday Night Live with Amy Poehler)[116] most commonly referred to simply as Raul, is a parks official from Baraqua, the Venezuelan sister city of Pawnee. He appeared in the episode "Sister City", when he and a delegation of Venezuelan officials visited Pawnee, where they were met by Leslie and her fellow parks department employees.[116][212] Since he comes from a military state, Raul is accustomed to being treated like royalty, so he was unimpressed with the conditions of Pawnee and its citizens, who he treated rudely from the moment he arrived.[116][213] He was particularly unsettled by Pawnee's public forums, in which the residents loudly and angrily criticized their government officials; Raul explained he usually holds his meetings in fortresses, citadels or palaces, and that anyone who complains or does anything out of line is immediately thrown in jail.[213] Leslie got annoyed with Raul's insults, but he eventually offered her a check for $35,000, enough to completely fund her plans to turn a construction pit into a park. However, Raul explained a condition of the check was that Leslie must praise Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and insult the United States,[214] revealing they are part of what is called the Committee to Humiliate and Shame America.[212][213] Leslie angrily ripped up the check and sent Raul and his delegation away.[214]

Notes

  1. ^ Paste magazine writer Garrett Martin said, "Ron Effing Swanson might be the beloved breakout character, the Fonzie of the Parks department".[22] A GQ article read, "Thanks to a noticeable creative resurgence in its second season, Parks & Recreation has become one of the funniest shows on TV. And Offerman's unabashedly weird Ron Swanson [is] a big part of that."[17] Jonah Weiner of Slate.com called Ron "Parks and Recreation's secret weapon" who is vital to the show's improvement.[23]
  2. ^ In the episode "Soulmates", Chris shops at the health food store called Grains And Simple, and enters into a cook-off with Ron Swanson to prove his lean meat turkey burgers will be better than Ron's red meat cheeseburgers.[19] In "April and Andy's Fancy Party", instead of bringing a cake to a wedding, he brings a vegetable loaf sweetened with fruit reduction.[58] In "Flu Season", Chris says he exercises so much he has only 2.8 percent body fat, and that he considers a 15 km run to be "light exercise".[59] In "Freddy Spaghetti", it is revealed Chris runs 10 miles during his lunch break alone.[14]
  3. ^ ChicagoNow writer Andy Daglas referred to the Pawnee media as "notoriously nasty", and referred to Joan Callamezzo in particular as a satire of "gotcha journalism" who "search[es] for the tiniest shred of scandal to prey upon".[40] Matt Fowler of IGN says "the evil Pawnee media really stand[s] out as being a bit too cartoonish" in their thirst for scandals and controversies.[84] TV Guide writer Damian Holrook refers to Joan's coverage of the Pawnee harvest festival a "smear campaign".[177]
  4. ^ Steve Heisler of The A.V. Club commented on the way other members of the media, including Perd Hapley, latch on to the curse story once Joan Callamezzo first reports it.[155] Matt Fowler of IGN refers to thee various media markets in Pawnee, who he said are "a bit too cartoonish" in their thirst for scandals and controversies.[84] He also says these actions by the various forms of media are "only a little exaggerated" compared to real life.[180]

References

  1. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (April 9, 2009). "Misguided, She Yearns to Guide". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5xO1yCozv. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Parks and Recreation Season 3 Cast Photo". Daemon's TV. November 8, 2010. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5zQN5QDX3. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Martin, Denise (November 18, 2009). "Making bureaucracy work: How NBC's "Parks and Recreation" overcame bad buzz". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5uFR0tSJe. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  4. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (March 26, 2010). "Parks and Recreation, 'Summer Catalog': Picnic perfect". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on March 15, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5xCswphy0. Retrieved March 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Sepinwall, Alan (September 17, 2009). "Parks and Recreation: Interviewing co-creator Mike Schur". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5uFRGdduQ. Retrieved January 1, 2010. 
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