One of Parks and Rec’s greatest strengths is its ability to make us fall in love with the characters of Pawnee. Each episode is a delightful little trip to a magical land populated by harmless weirdos, lovable losers, and well-meaning workers, and each time we leave with a new set of imaginary friends. And with tonight’s 100th episode, we figured it was as good a time as any to celebrate these bit players. Of all the wonderful people we’ve met in the Parks universe, these are my favorites – but it was really hard to choose. Add your own faves in the comments!
News anchor, TV personality, clueless political pundit and scandal maker, frequent user of twisted phrases and meaningless jargon. Perd serves Pawnee as a parody of all those news media personalities who talk a lot without ever saying much, and who latch onto any bit of salacious gossip for the sake of gaining an audience. Basically, he’s always hilarious, often confused, and, as with most memorable TV guest stars, completely over the top. Also, remember when he did the worm for Leslie’s diabetes telethon?
Barney Varmn (John Balma)
Head of an accounting firm, lovable nerd, teacher at the Pawnee Recreation Centre, Ben’s biggest fan and brief employer. We need Barney back. No one else can satisfy our need for utterly sincere dorkdom, and no one else will ever laugh so hard at Ben’s accounting puns (“Calcu-later!”). The too-big shirts, the goatee, the goofy grin… I still hope that eventually Ben will end up hiring Barney to do accounting for the next big political thing he’s involved in. He would make an excellent gaming partner for The Cones of Dunshire, too.
Colonial enthusiast, arrogant jerk, and member of the Pawnee Historical Commission. Garth was so easy to hate that it was hard not to like him, purely out of sympathy for how hateable he was. He didn’t have a single friend. His greatest passions in life were living in a colonially accurate manner and proving people wrong. His filibuster was epic, though, so you have to respect.
Keef Slertner (Paul Scheer)
Energetic mastermind behind KaBoom!, roundabout do-gooder, elaborate prankster, speed boat owner. How can a man be simultaneously so devious and so charitable? Somehow Keef was both. His non-profit community playground building organization (which is actually a real thing, by the way) was all an elaborate scam – a scam for the good of the people. It doesn’t have to make sense; it was just awesome.
Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally)
Deputy Director of Library Services for Pawnee, Ron Swanson’s greatest weakness, petite brunette, spawn of the devil. Tammy 2 is Ron’s greatest weakness (maybe tied with Tammy 1 and Ron’s mother, the original Tammy Swanson) and is capable of bringing his life to a screeching halt. Did you ever think you’d see Ron with cornrows? Or wearing a kimono? Or giggling like a horny schoolgirl? You can thank Tammy 2 for all of that. And for the most horrifying whale tail to ever grace the Pawnee library system.
Jean-Ralphio Saperstein (Ben Schwartz)
Tom Haverford’s former business partner, aspiring mogul, wannabe entrepreneur, overconfident and enthusiastic goofball, brother of the insane Mona-Lisa Saperstein. Jean-Ralphio is a constant source of entertainment. Whether he’s applying for jobs he’s not qualified for, running businesses he knows nothing about, or making ridiculous investments, he’s always 100% into it and 110% off the mark. But you have to admire his positive attitude.
Fairway Frank (uncredited possum)
Possum, golf course inhabitant, alleged attacker of Mayor Gunderson’ dog. Poor Frank – so maligned, so abused, so misunderstood. Maybe you attacked the mayor’s dog, or maybe not, but one thing’s for sure: you were so cute in that perfectly creepy way. You brought a couple of grown women to their knees with your waddling antics, and you renewed our love for nocturnal rodents. And you touched all of Ann’s bras.
Hannah McIlveen is a freelance graphic designer and TV-obsessed writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up riding horses and reading Roald Dahl books, got an art degree, and then spent the next several years moving around the country and watching television. Her greatest goals in life are to write good stuff, produce a web series, build a house with her husband, and have six cats at once. Hannah has contributed to BitchMagazine.org and is a staff blogger for the soon-to-launch TeenSized.com. She also writes her own daily blog, Click Watch Write. Hannah can be accosted on Twitter @ClickWatchWrite.