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    Leslie Knope 

Leslie Barbara Knope (Amy Poehler)
"One person's annoying is another's inspiring and heroic."
"It is my dream to build a park that I one day visit with my White House staff on my birthday. And they say, 'President Knope, this park is awesome. Now we understand why you're the first female president of the United States.'"

Leslie is the deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana. An inversion of the Obstructive Bureaucrat, Leslie is a cheerful bureaucrat full of can-do spirit. This makes her The Pollyanna in an occupation where almost everyone else is cynical and jaded to one degree or another. She is also a Determinator.

  • The Ace: When it comes to being a civil servant, Leslie is virtually unmatched. Her hyper-competence at organizing, leading and working on large scale and complicated projects on extremely short notice is more or less the only thing that allows anything to be accomplished at all in Pawnee. At one point Leslie has to take time off and the entire rest of the department is unable to pick up her slack. Outside of her profession, while much less flawless, she is still generally a smart, charismatic and capable person.
  • Afraid of Needles: To the point of making a Precision F-Strike against Ann.
  • All-Loving Hero: Edging closer to this trope as her Determinator qualities make her more and more effective.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Leslie constantly comments on Ann's attractiveness and sometimes speaks to her in a flirtatious way.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Defied. Leslie is extremely ambitious (just read the above quotation), but she is also very moral. In some episodes, she is presented with an immoral way to achieve one of her goals and considers using it, but ultimately she ends up feeling guilty and doesn't go through with it.
  • Animal Motifs: It's never pointed out, but Leslie has a number of owl-themed knick-knacks around her office.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Not immediately obvious, but her ability to consistently go up against impossible odds and succeed almost every time is jaw-dropping. The primary reason Ron respects her despite their conflicting worldviews is her absolute refusal to compromise her ideals regardless of how much adversity she faces.
  • Bad Liar: Honest to a fault, Leslie's rare attempts at subterfuge invariably fall flat. In many cases, she ends up ratting herself out.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat:
    • This becomes especially apparent in "Christmas Scandal", where it's shown that her duties are so numerous that the combined efforts of all six of her coworkers can't get the job done.
    • Her over-extension is given attention again in "Sweet Sixteen", where Ron states that she's been pulling 100 hours a week trying to give equal attention to her job and her city council campaign. Throughout the episode, she keeps making minor blunders due to neglecting something from either side of her professional life. At the end of the episode, she decides to reduce her time at her day job to ten hours per week.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not feed J.J.'s waffles to your dog around Leslie.
    • Do not remind her she was born in Eagleton
    • Do not question why Li'l Sebastian is awesome.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Despite her overall positive and cheerful demeanor, she is not a pushover and she can get extremely angry when people push her too far. When this happens it usually falls upon Ron or Ann to calm her down.
    Ron: Leslie, what do we do when we get this angry?
    Leslie: [deep sigh] We count backward from a thousand by sevens and think of warm brownies.
  • Big Eater: When it comes to waffles, whipped cream, sugar, or all of the above, Leslie's essentially a bottomless pit.
  • Big Good: It takes her a few seasons to grow into it, but towards the end of the series, even the more cynical of her friends and coworkers tend to regard Leslie as a powerful force for positive change in the world.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head:
    • She'll resort to childish insults like this when she's really frustrated.
    • She subverts it rather nicely in "Meet 'n' Greet":
      Leslie: I don't like to throw around the word "butthead", because it loses its impact when you say "butthead" too much. But I can say without hesitation that Tom is being a real dick.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She's very good at her job, and probably should have Ron's. On the other hand, she is also an extremely eccentric Woman Child.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Leslie's entire time on the city council is characterized by merciless public and media attention on her specifically, despite nearly all of her fellow city councilors being either obviously corrupt, senile, or in a years-long rolling sex scandal. This is ascribed to both the leeway men in office are given that is often denied to women, and that Leslie is at odds with Pawnee's biggest industry, Sweetums.
  • Catchphrase:
    Leslie: It's every girl's dream to [something incredibly wonky, obscure and/or over-specific]!
    Leslie: Ann, you [insert strangely condescending comment that compliments her beauty but points out her naïveté]!
  • Characterization Marches On: It can mostly be chalked up to Early Installment Weirdness, but first season Leslie was something of a Pointy-Haired Boss in the vein of Michael Scott. In Season 2, she became much less obnoxious, and more of a hyper-competent, upbeat Pollyanna.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: She is a bit... quirky, to say the least.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Andy and April. She seems to view April as a surrogate little sister, and frequently encourages her and tries to keep her out of trouble (and continually overestimates how innocent April actually is), and she helps Andy get his life back on track after finding out he was living in the pit. April makes fun of her but eventually softens up enough to admit she does love Leslie, while Andy openly thinks Leslie is awesome and acknowledges that he owes her a lot.
  • The Cutie: She expresses her love of cute things in a variety of ways. One episode's plot was based around her officiating the marriage of two penguins because "it was cute".
  • Determinator: If there's something that needs doing, Leslie will find a way to do it, no matter what.
    • Best exemplified by her masterful oration of her speech intended to attract sponsors for the Harvest Festival in "Flu Season". All while she was near delirious with the flu, and quickly reverted to sickness-induced delirium during a short Q&A session.
    • This is Leslie's great weakness as well as her strength. In many episodes the conflict can be summarized as 'Leslie's friends have to convince her that she can't change a situation she considers unacceptable.' Of course, she is so hypercompetent that she frequently finds ways to improve the situation anyway. Summarized nicely in "Smallest Park" when Ann interrupts Leslie's complaints about how unfair it is to call her a steamroller:
      Ann: You're a steamroller! You're a massive, enormous, runaway steamroller with no brakes and a cement brick on the gas pedal!
  • Distaff Counterpart: Back in the first season, she might as well have been "Michael Scott in a skirt", but she became more her own character later on. Unlike Michael Scott, she is not only good at her job but totally deserved to have been promoted into it.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Hates salad with a passion. Or other disgusting things.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: While government work is often thankless, Leslie often laments that Pawnee never gives her the respect she's due, instead often treating her with scorn or derision.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Starts out the show as incompetent and delusional as Michael Scott. In the second season, while still a bit out there, she's much more competent and high-achieving.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Probably the sweetest case of this trope ever. Not since Gomez Addams will you find someone on television so turned on by their spouse's attractiveness. In particular, Leslie has an obsession with Ben's butt.
  • Emotional Regression: Leslie becomes proportionately more irrational the more estranged she is from her emotional anchors, Ann and Ron. Nowhere is this more apparent than when Ann moves away in Season 6, and Leslie backslides almost to her Season 1 self before snapping out of it.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • Wears a small, very tight French braid in her hair curving around the top of her head in "Jerry's Painting", apparently because she takes very well to being compared to a Greek goddess.
    • She gains another new hairstyle later on to emphasize the Season 6 finale/Season 7 Time Skip, but she quickly reverts to her original hairdo a few episodes into Season 7.
  • Fangirl:
    • When it comes to Harry Potter. She made her best friend Ann watch all eight movies even though Ann doesn't like Harry Potter.
    • She's also a huge fangirl for Joe Biden and most prominent American women in politics, to the point of covering the walls of her office with their pictures. She's also a type of geek rarely portrayed in the media, the government-policy wonk.
    • She's also a fangirl of Jennifer Aniston, believing that she deserves to find romantic happiness and having a "Team Aniston" patch sewn on one of her blazers. And naturally, in connection to that, she's also a huge fan of Friends.
  • Foil: To Michael Scott. Both are endearingly kooky, snarky, Innocently Insensitive, and deceptively clever managers who essentially act as an In-Universe Manic Pixie Dream Girl/Guy to their colleagues, shoving a spotlight onto whatever topic is currently being focused on, and also have varying levels of Attention Whore traits (Michael obviously more so than Leslie). However, that's where their similarities end; Michael is a brunette Jerk with a Heart of Gold with No Social Skills who has been promoted far past his original position of competence, while Leslie is a blonde Nice Girl who's surprisingly good at being a Guile Hero and who serves (ostensibly, as she's Ron's inferior for the first few seasons) as her department's Hypercompetent Sidekick. Furthermore, both can be incredibly arrogant, but this manifests in different ways, with Michael ultimately being an Extreme Doormat who is obsessed with gaining the admiration of his peers, while Leslie is a "steamroller" who often shoves past the opinions of others and ultimately learns the need to take others' outlooks into account.
  • Glurge Addict: Mildly. She really likes cute things, but not to an annoying degree.
    Leslie: Scientifically, hummingbirds are the world's cutest animals. I mean, they're so small, they have tiny beaks and they only eat sugar water. I mean, what beats that? Come on. Baby monkeys in diapers? Yeah... they do. Baby monkeys in diapers are the cutest.
  • Genki Girl: Endlessly upbeat and cheerful, to the point that it tires people like Ron and April out.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Has the ambitious, driven personality down pat.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Despite her very ambitious nature, Leslie is extremely nice and many of her goals are motivated by caring for her friends and the citizens of Pawnee.
  • Happily Married: To Ben after Season 5. They're loving and supportive of one another and never get jealous of the other's accomplishments.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • With Ann. The two are best friends and are always supporting each other. They're also occasionally mistaken for a lesbian couple.
    • She's also one with Ron, with them being Like Brother and Sister and also being physically repulsed at the mere idea of being in a romantic/sexual relationship with the other.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Leslie can and will accomplish great things in the name of Pawnee, but the townspeople rarely give her the acknowledgment or recognition she deserves, and criticize her more often than not.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: A rare example of the lead character fitting this trope. This suits her boss just fine.
  • The Idealist: She rarely considers consequences and realistic probability before jumping into action.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: During her campaign, Leslie is stunned to learn that she was actually born in Eagleton, not Pawnee, partly because she hates Eagleton and partly because most of the voters hate Eagleton. As she thinks about it further, though, she realizes that it's the choice to continue living in and trying to improve Pawnee that really matters, and manages to communicate that to the voters. (Also, you know, the reason she was born in Eagleton was that although her parents lived in Pawnee, Pawnee's hospital was overrun with raccoons at the time, and Eagleton's hospital was the only one nearby that was in a reasonably good state.)
  • Innocently Insensitive: Many times, she is so passionate about projects and helping her friends that she ignores other people's feelings or desires such as when she plans out April's entire parks career path even though the latter has decided she wants to try something else.
  • Ironic Name: "Knope" is the perfect name for an Obstructive Bureaucrat... except that Leslie is as far from an Obstructive Bureaucrat as you can get.
  • Jerkass Ball: Related to her Immigrant Patriotism above, she tends to act like a jerk when it comes to dealing with Eagleton, even if the Eagletonians she's dealing with are actually nice people like Wreston St. James the park architect.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": To Michelle Obama, among others.
  • Nice Girl: Despite her faults, Leslie is overall a very kindhearted person who constantly does nice things for her friends and goes out of her way to help others. Ron puts it best when he says, "Leslie has a lot of qualities I find horrifying, but the worst one by far is how thoughtful she can be." This very trope is also one of the reasons why she is so successful and accomplishes so much. Time and again, it is shown that everyone who knows her is willing to do anything to help her out, because she is always so kind. The Chief of Police will happily agree to assign his officers to work extra shifts for the Harvest Festival (describing Leslie as someone who uses favors to help others), airport baggage handlers will cheerfully destroy a bag containing embarrassing footage of Leslie being interviewed while drunk, businesses will stay open late or open early or even open on days when they're supposed to be closed, Ron will commit assault and battery without a second thought on anyone who insults her, Tom will stay up all night making a genuinely touching and heartfelt campaign film for her, etc. Hell, even Ken Hotate, who usually just sees dollar signs when he looks at a white person, will always have Leslie's back, although he can't resist some good-natured teasing of her while he's at it. The great thing is, most of the time these things are done without Leslie asking, people just do it because they care about her.
  • Number Two: Officially, she is this to Ron, but she actually does all the work.
  • Odd Friendship: She's probably Ron's closest friend, despite being his total opposite.
  • Oblivious to Love: Initially, regarding Ben's interest in her.
  • Official Couple: With Ben in Season 3.
  • The Paragon: Leslie lives to help other people, and is incredibly kind and caring. Her influence also encourages the other characters to be better — Ron becomes more willing to let people into his life, April becomes more driven, Tom becomes more mature, Ben loosens up a bit, and Ann learns to stand up for herself. Hell, she's so nice that some people in Pawnee will bend or outright break the rules to help her out and do the right thing.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Ron. She knows more about Ron than anyone, at least before Diane came along.
  • Plucky Girl: The absolute poster girl for the trope. She's fierce, bold and passionate and she always expects the best and always goes the extra mile.
  • The Pollyanna: Relentlessly positive, sunny, and full of can-do spirit.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: She appears to be under the impression that Game of Thrones is a Space Opera.
  • Pungeon Master: Most definitely this. Notable examples include her topsoil brochure "Mulch Ado About Nothing" and the rules she instated at the Farmer's Market (like "Peas be kind to others" and "In case of fire, romaine calm"). In her words, she hates vegetables but is really good at vegetable puns.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Leslie is a competent golfer and hunter, and she almost always dresses in a masculine manner, but considering that appearing to be 'too feminine' is a concern for women in the real world for business and politics, this is very much a Justified Trope.
  • Running Gag: She has a ghastly dating record of meeting the most awful guys and being put in the most embarrassing situations by past partners. She often brings it up as a joke.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Energetic girl to Ben's savvy guy.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • She Zigzagged this when she found out Andy and April were going to get married, stating that while she wanted them to be together forever, she worried that them getting married after being together for such a short amount of time was a mistake and tried to stop the wedding. It failed, but Andy and April stayed together for the rest of the series and beyond.
    • In the finale when she sees her daughter Sonia and Ann's son Oliver getting close, she flashes Sonia a double "thumbs up".
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She ends up married to the kind and intelligent Ben.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: While the Parks Department has a bitter rivalry with the Public Library, Leslie seems to despise them the most.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Downplayed. She's not full of herself, but she's convinced that her municipal government job is much more important than it really is. She also has no doubt that she will one day be president of the United States. In a flash-forward to 2048, she and Ben are depicted as having a Secret Service detail, implying that she apparently did indeed become President (although the episode does leave open the possibility it was Ben, it's more likely to be her). She definitely became Governor of Indiana—and apparently the first female one too (she's apparently elected in 2020—IN elects in the same year as the President—and the only somewhat likely circumstance in which Indiana's governor is a woman before then is if the winner of the 2016 race dies, resigns, or is removed before 2020 (both major parties nominated women for Lieutenant Governor).
  • Sweet Tooth: She puts sugar on pasta.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Time after time, Leslie will encounter situations where the problem at hand could be easily solved if she just broke the laws that she so values.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: She piles whipped cream onto everything (during "Pie-mary", Ben specifically gets her two canisters of whipped cream: one to put on the pies, one to spray directly into her mouth). She also loves Belgian waffles, specifically the ones from JJ's Diner.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Somewhat. She's seldom had a 'normal' date — something extremely outlandish happens, or the date himself is outlandish. Incidents include a blazing dress, an Ambien overdose, a date sticking his hand in her mouth as she slept, and a free MRI.note  As far as we've seen, Dave and Ben are the only men she's dated without some kind of off-putting quirk or glaring character flaw.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Happens whenever she tries to do an accent or an imitation.
  • White Guilt: Shows occasional signs of this, especially when dealing with Ken Hotate, the local Native American leader, who likes to invoke Everything Is Racist cheerfully to provoke this reaction and get his way. She largely outgrows it in later interactions with him.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Much to Ron's endless annoyance, and failed attempts to beat it out of her.
  • Womanchild: Leslie is cheerful, hyperactive, and a little naïve. Not to mention her fondness for candy and dislike of vegetables (though she did happily eat the cucumber rose garnish Chris made because it was cute). She is competent, however — indeed, very competent.
    Ann (in a deleted scene): Leslie is incredible. She has the energy of a ten-year-old. And the same taste in snacks.
  • Workaholic: At one point Ron has to lock her in a room so she can actually sleep because she's working herself so hard. The next morning, she excitedly says that she slept seven hours, which is about twice as long as she normally does. Hell, in "Citizen Knope" she attempts to steal some work from the office to do at home during her paid suspension.

    Ann Perkins 

Ann Meredith Perkins (Rashida Jones)
"I'm putting myself out there, meeting some new people, having some casual fun, and it is...awkward."
"The Parks Department has done so much for me that if I can help them out in any way, I will. Oh, God. Maybe I should just give them all free flu shots."

Leslie's Heterosexual Life Partner. They first meet in the pilot episode, when Ann attended a town hall meeting to bring an abandoned construction pit to the government's attention. For the first three seasons, Ann was a nurse at the local hospital, making it somewhat baffling that she seemed to spend so much time with the other characters at City Hall. Eventually, she was given a part-time job at City Hall to solve this problem. She is generally a Straight Woman.

  • Ambiguously Brown: Obviously applies to any character played by Rashida Jones, who is black and Jewish. Semi-frequently lampshaded by Leslie.
    Leslie: I've said this to you before and I know it makes you uncomfortable, but you're thoughtful and you're brilliant. And your ambiguous ethnic blend perfectly represents the dream of the American melting pot.
  • Amicable Exes: Due to their mutual friendship with Leslie, and him finding love with April, Ann and Andy form a healthy friendship sometime after breaking up. Likewise, she and Chris shared this relationship as well, before getting back together for good.
  • Back for the Finale: She and Chris leave Pawnee to start their family, but both of them return in "One Last Ride" with their son Oliver and daughter they've named after Leslie.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ann's very nice, but she has her limits. Best exemplified in the episode "Flu Season" when April's in the hospital, and is, well... April. Ann manages to be sweet and polite the whole time, until...
    Ann: (looking at her watch) Three... two... one. Aaaand my shift's over. (deep breath) WHAT THE [BLEEP] IS YOUR PROBLEM?!
  • Big Eater: She apparently once consumed an entire cheesecake at Leslie's request, commenting only that it was delicious and that she would have eaten ten if asked.
  • The Bore: Her lack of any interesting hobbies or quirks, especially in comparison to Leslie, is frequently played for laughs, to the point of becoming a quirk in and of itself.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: She notably fails when she attempts to be funny, often saying an awkward joke and then immediately regretting it and kicking herself under her breath.
    Leslie: Oh Ann, you're too beautiful to be funny. It's not your fault. You've never had to compensate for anything.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Their shared ambition to fill the Lot 48 pit quickly turns Leslie and her into the best of friends.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Ann is clearly shown to be attracted to vulnerable and sickly men. She waited on Andy hand and foot when his legs broke, and tries to coddle and protect him like a child, and kisses him when he ends up in the hospital again. She was also incredibly threatened and uncomfortable by Chris being almost completely perfect until he got a nasty case of the flu, which made her ecstatic.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Leslie. They're the best of friends and absolutely love each other, with Leslie even lamenting how "tragic" it is that they're both straight.
  • Hospital Hottie: She's a nurse, and comments about her attractiveness are frequently bandied about by Leslie and Tom. Not that she actually spends much time working there (at least on-screen).
  • Mistaken for Gay: As a Running Gag, she and Leslie are repeatedly mistaken for a lesbian couple.
  • Nice Girl: She's generally a friendly, amiable sort of person who wants to help people and sincerely loves her friends.
  • Official Couple: After going through a Relationship Revolving Door, she and Chris become this in Season 6.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Her nursing job. The show is a Work Com, it's just not dedicated to her work. Occasionally we see her at her work, usually whenever a main character ends up in the hospital. Ann getting a part-time job at the city's health department as of the end of Season 3 is most likely an attempt to avert this trope. Possibly justified: since this is a Mockumentary, we can assume it is all done off-screen and has been edited out.
  • Only Sane Woman: She is the only member of the (initial) cast lacking any clear quirk that would realistically get them fired from their profession.
  • Put on a Bus: In mid-Season 6, when she and Chris move to Michigan to raise their family.
  • Really Gets Around: She finally learns how to put her looks to good use in Season 3, and is shown with at least one new paramour every episode of that season.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The calm, practical blue to Leslie's energetic, eccentric red.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ann really, really wants Leslie and Ben to get together (and even sneaks an Al Green song onto their road trip mix, which is designed to be as un-sexy as possible).
  • So Beautiful It's a Curse: A mild case. Being so beautiful, she's never been dumped before. When Chris breaks up with her, his positive personality and strange wording plus her inexperience make her not realize it until a week later and she is blindsided by it. As Leslie put it in an earlier episode:
    Leslie: Ann, I always forget you're so pretty you're not used to rejection!
  • Straight Man: Primarily acts as Leslie's comic foil, but will occasionally react with confusion or exasperation to the rest of the cast as well.
  • True Love Is Boring: While it's debatable just how much their relationship can be called "true love", this trope describes why she broke up with Mark. While the relationship was a healthy and stable one, Ann also admits that it's kind of bland and her previous relationship with Andy, while terribly unhealthy, at least was interesting. Averted with the guy she actually ends up with, Chris. After a bumpy start, the two find that their differences both balance each other and help keep the relationship interesting, but the two are also incredibly supportive of one another, thus allowing the relationship to actually work.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Maybe "best buds" is a bit of a stretch, but eventually, she and April become friends (though April won't admit it), though they still snark at each other constantly.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: As indicated by her finding Chris more attractive when she was caring for him than when he was a perfect human specimen. This also explains her relationship with Andy and why it didn't work out with Mark. But even she has her limits, as exemplified with Tom.
  • What Does She See in Him?:
    • This was the crux of her relationship with Andy in Season 1, who at that point was such a lazy Jerkass that he intentionally delayed getting his cast removed for two weeks just to have her keep waiting on him.
    • Ann goes through as many lame, unattractive boyfriends as attractive ones in season three. Leslie has to call her out on it in "The Fight" when her current guy happens to be The Douche.

    Tom Haverford 

Thomas Montgomery Haverford né Darwish Sabir Ismael Gani (Aziz Ansari)
"My gravestone's gonna be a 60-inch touchscreen with a hologram of four me's singing 'End of the Road' by Boyz II Men."
"I had to call in a few favors, but if you don't call in favors to look at women in bikinis and assign them numerical grades, what the hell do you call in favors for?"

Tom is Leslie's immediate subordinate, in charge of scheduling parks activities and an aspiring media mogul. Networking, hot women, expensive suits, hot women, slacking off, and hot women are just a few of his favorite things. As of the end of Season 6, he runs an Italian restaurant, Tom's Bistro.

  • Always Second Best: He has a sort of inferiority complex for Ron, which came to a boiling point in "Go Big or Go Home".
  • Beta Couple: With his former ex, Lucy, in Season 7. While it's not confirmed, it's implied they get married in the future after he proposed the episode before.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: After the Entertainment 720 arc, he evolves into this. He's still an immature, superficial and lazy Cloudcuckoolander, but when it comes to marketing, style, PR, and advertising techniques, he knows what he's talking about.
  • Butt-Monkey: Defaults into this after Jerry's retirement, before revealing to Ron that he was the Jerry at his old job before moving to Pawnee and reinventing himself.
  • Camp Straight: Despite his Handsome Lech personality, he invests in a gay bar, wears pink shirts, and drinks stereotypical 'girly' drinks. Leslie lampshades this in "Pawnee Zoo":
    Leslie: Okay, so I know you're not gay.
    Tom: No, I'm not.
    Leslie: But you're very effeminate.
    Tom: What?
    Leslie: Well, you're wearing a shirt with a coiled snake on it.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor:
    • Tom is a lightweight, which is a point of contrast between him and the much larger Ron, who can hold his liquor excellently.
      Detlef Schrempf: He had two beers. Light beers.
    • Oddly, in what may be an Out-of-Character Moment, he isn't shown to be terribly intoxicated by his invention Snakejuice, which has terrible aftereffects for the rest of the cast (especially Ron). Though he still ends up drunk.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Sometimes to the point of real pathos.
  • Character Development: Over the seasons, he becomes more mature, confident, and self-reliant.
  • Characterization Marches On: Season 1 Tom is far more straitlaced, with only a few of the quirks he'd have later on, with most of the humor around him being focused on his South Asian heritage and being Leslie's Number Two. Season 2 added in the love of style, ramped up the perverted and hedonistic aspects and gave him far more screen time with other characters.
  • Cerebus Retcon: In "Jerry's Retirement", his reveal that he was the 'Jerry' of his previous office casts a darker, more pathetic light on his bullying of Jerry. Given Tom was easily the worst to Jerry, this reveal implies he picked on Jerry so much because he was desperate to keep Jerry at the bottom of the office totem pole lest the antagonism turns to him, and after previously being bullied so much himself, jumped at the chance to be the bully for a change. This becomes clear when Jerry retires and, while everyone is cautious about becoming the 'new Jerry', Tom goes to such careful extents to avoid it he just ends up making himself become the new Jerry. He goes through great lengths to try and find someone else to be the Jerry (first Andy, then an intern), but this just makes him look more pathetic and desperate.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Is actually the one to tell Ben they should make sure a drunken Joan Callamezzo gets safely home from lunch with them.
  • Citizenship Marriage: His first wife Wendy. Despite him being brown-skinned and her being white, she was the one who needed the green card. She's Canadian.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He's so eccentric that he actually uses red carpet as his insoles and creates whimsical names for food such as calling fried chicken "fry fry chicky chick" and cakes "big ol' cookies".
  • The Dandy: He has a full-sized room for a closet and explicitly states that he wears pink for the sake of "peacocking".
  • Deadpan Snarker: With a much greater emphasis on 'snarker'; there is little 'deadpan' about Tom.
  • Easily Forgiven: Especially in earlier seasons, no matter what Tom would do, he would always get off with a slap on the wrist at most. The worst offender would have to be what he does in "Hunting Trip." Unlike his other antics, which are mostly harmless, if hurtful, here, Tom is extremely reckless with loaded firearms: he goes on a hunting trip without a license, accidentally shoots Ron in the back of the head because he didn't bother checking his field of fire, and then, in an attempt distract everyone from the question of who shot Ron, opens fire on someone else and almost kills them. Then he lets Leslie take the fall for him. He gets off with Ron calling him a moron a couple of times when he could have killed someone, and should have gotten a hefty fine at least, and probably jail time.
  • The Hedonist: Tom likes to dream big and live a life of extravagance and luxury, so much so that he doesn't necessarily make practical decisions and he's incredibly so selfish and vain that he'll screw his friends over but will "treat himself" alongside Donna.
  • Hypocrite: In "Jerry's Retirement," Tom spins a sympathetic story about how before he moved to the Parks and Rec. department, he was the Jerry of his old office, which is why he reinvented himself. The only problem is, instead of making him more sympathetic, it only makes his treatment of Jerry, which is by far the cruelest, that much more horrible because he should know how it feels to be on the receiving end.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Despite his obsession with being trendy and stylish, he is repeatedly shown to be woefully out of touch with what is actually trendy and stylish.
  • Informed Attribute: His good-heartedness. He has shown lots of selfish and unethical behavior throughout the series, with very little improvement, and his efforts to fix the damage always seem a bit self-serving. He does get better when his Character Development kicks in.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Tom is superficially self-confident to the point of arrogance, but it’s clear that his carefully crafted persona as a “baller” masks deep insecurities, likely stemming from his childhood as a social outcast. For all his entrepreneurial ventures, Conspicuous Consumption, meticulously-groomed appearance, and constant put-downs of anyone he considers uncool, he lives in terror of being left behind by the zeitgeist and turning out to be nothing more than an insignificant man working an unfulfilling government job in a nowhere small town, to the point that he suffers a borderline existential crisis when he learns that teenagers do not recognise or enjoy his favourite music. This aspect of his character disappears in later seasons when he manages to achieve success as a businessman and genuinely does become a Man of Wealth and Taste.
    • The perfect demonstration of this is when Jerry retires and the department begins looking for who will be the next office Butt-Monkey and quickly settle on Tom over Andy. Although Andy is a clumsy, slovenly idiot who regularly humiliates himself; he also lacks any sense of shame and is genuinely and sincerely comfortable in his own skin, meaning that people laugh with him rather than at him whenever he screws up. Meanwhile, Tom’s dignity is so fragile and artificial that simply saying the phrase “file piles” is sufficient to turn him into a laughing stock.
  • It's All About Me: Has a big, big problem with this due to his own hedonism and materialism. It's on full display in "Meet 'N' Greet", where he turns an event for Leslie to get to know local business owners into an investment pitch for his company Entertainment 720. While he did it because E720 was bankrupt and he was desperate for funds, it also wasn't particularly out of character.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As Leslie puts it, "Tom Haverford is a selfish, sleazy, self-promoting, good-hearted, secretly kind and wonderful tiny, little person."
  • Lovable Coward: He's more of a wimp than a Dirty Coward (Ron once equated hurting Tom with hurting a defenseless child), but the lovable part holds true both ways.
  • Manchild: Seems to have the mentality of a lazy and impulsive fifteen-year-old boy.
  • Mock Millionaire: Comes up often but particularly emphasized during the Entertainment 720 arc, when he and Jean-Ralphio carelessly spent money on buying excessive props and hiring attractive women as surplus employees while not doing any actual work or generating revenue for their company.
  • Naturalized Name: His birth name is Darwish Sabir Ismael Gani, but he changed it since he thought "brown people with funny-sounding Muslim names" didn't have a chance in politics. He admits this reason is Hilarious in Hindsight after Barack Obama.invoked
  • The Nicknamer: Does this frequently, at least in the earlier seasons, particularly to Ron.
  • Odd Friendship: Andy and Ben are both about as far from him personality-wise as possible, each for very different reasons, but he hangs out with both of them a lot. A later episode even shows that he considers them more of his true friends than the almost identical Jean-Ralphio.
  • Pet the Dog: After Leslie tears up the Venezuelans' check in "Sister City", Tom secretly takes all the tips he earned making himself the Venezuelans' errand boy and donates it all toward the park fund.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Indian variation. At one point, Tom mentions having carefully cultivated a Jay-Z vibe and once dressed up as the rapper T-Pain for Halloween. He's also fond of using the slang term "boo" to refer to a significant other.
  • Popularity Polynomial: In-Universe: Finds himself the victim of this compared to Ben in the episode "Prom". His taste in music is out of touch with high school students, while Ben just played classic rock.
  • Schemer: He's always involved in some plan or invention to get fabulously wealthy, but none of them works, until the bistro, which lasts for several years until it goes under. Then he writes a massively successful self-help book by drawing on his past experiences.
  • Self-Deprecation: Will not deny that he rides others' coattails.
    Tom: Behind every successful man is me: smiling and taking partial credit.
  • Serious Business: You will never acquire his thinking PJs. Or his YouTube blazer. Non-negotiable.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Full force. He thinks of himself as a suave and sophisticated Renaissance Man but the things he considers cool and stylish are actually a lot more niche than he realizes.
  • Spear Counterpart: As a young, South Asian-American bratty manchild with a large ego, an annoyingly materialistic personality and an obsession with celebrity culture, Tom is a more sympathetic male version of Kelly Kapoor.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After his failure with Entertainment 720, he successfully manages to run a small suit-rental business before being bought out by a competitor. After returning to work in the City Government, he creates the position of Business Liaison to help bring outside businesses to Pawnee, impressing Ron and Leslie. It's particularly noticeable in "Flouride", where he successfully used his own talent for marketing to beat Councilman Jamm at his own game.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: It takes a while and isn't always obvious, but he becomes way nicer as time goes on.

    Ron Swanson 

Ronald Ulysses Swanson (Nick Offerman)
"I was born ready. I'm Ron [bleep]ing Swanson."
"I'd wish you the best of luck, but I believe luck is a concept created by the weak to explain their failures."

Leslie's manly, mustachioed, unapologetic libertarian boss who, engaged in a continuous attempt to sabotage the Pawnee government, secretly (or not-so-secretly) tries to stop anything from getting done. Leslie does his job for him, allowing him to devote his time to being a Memetic Badass.

  • Acquired Poison Immunity: His family has their own brand of moonshine, which legally can only be used to strip the varnish off speedboats, and some select uses on the Swanson farm. This and his greasy diet are the only plausible reasons why he can knock back so much alcohol yet never get hung over. (Tom's Snakejuice only got him drunk due to its high-than-normal alcohol content, but he suffered no ill effects the morning after.)
  • Acrofatic: He's a little stockier in build, but is still rather agile and athletic.
  • Affluent Ascetic: Ron owns so much gold that the five percent he plans to leave to each of his kids is considered a lot of money. His spending habits are quite modest, and he builds as many of his possessions as he can.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: When handsome, cheerful, politically correct, environmentally-aware Chris Traeger tries to hit on Andy's vegetarian Women's Studies professor, she rejects him in favor of the gruff, mustachioed, carnivorous Ron. The fact that Ron was Nice to the Waiter and Chris was not probably contributed.
    • While she considers him just a friend first and foremost, Leslie admits to having had an Erotic Dream about Ron once.
  • Amazon Chaser: Ron often expresses his admiration for strong women, and he's got the dating history to back it up. This trait is so pronounced that it's been a problem for him in the past, leading him to acquire no less than two abusive ex-wives who both took great glee in completely dominating every facet of his life and personality. In the end, he finds lasting happiness with the tough and no-nonsense but still fundamentally good-hearted Diane, who can put the fear of God into Tammy 2 with a simple Death Glare... and who fittingly enough is played by Lucy Lawless; Xena, the Warrior Princess.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • Ron struggles with social interaction and emotional expression, dislikes physical contact, has stated his difficulty with and distaste for jokes, and is quietly hostile towards most changes in his life. At least some of this could be from taking masculine tropes like Real Men Hate Affection and Men Are Tough Up to Eleven. After marrying Diane in Season 6 and becoming stepfather to her daughters (and father to his own son John), he admits to her that being a husband and father has helped him to be better at having fun and showing affection.
  • Authority in Name Only: While he is still well-respected by his subordinates and will occasionally exert his absolute authority when he strongly disagrees with something, for all intents and purposes, Leslie is the real head of the Parks Department, with Ron simply kicking back and leaving everything to her most of the time. He only really gets involved if Leslie violates a city rule or if Ron vehemently disagree's with her opn something.
  • Badass Baritone: He has the deepest voice of anyone in the cast, and one of the central aspects of his character is how incredibly badass he is, while also giving words of wisdom with his low assertive voice. To put into perspective just how insane he is, every onscreen fight he's been involved in has ended in a single punch.
  • Badass Mustache: He's incredibly badass, and his impressive mustache shows it. When he loses the mustache, it shows how henpecked he is due to Tammy 1 domineering him.
  • Beta Couple: With Diane as of Season 5.
  • Big Eater: Especially in regards to red meat and breakfast meals; all other foodstuffs are treated with suspicion or outright derision. The only thing that interests him in a strip club is the breakfast buffet. He says that if he does not have at least three breakfast meals a day, he acts like a tired whiny child. He has an enormous picture of bacon and eggs framed in his office.
    Ron: Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have... Wait, wait. I worry what you just heard was, "Give me a lot of bacon and eggs." What I said was, "Give me all the bacon and eggs you have." Do you understand?
    • He can eat a party platter meant to feed 12 people in four minutes.
    • He also holds a number of records around Pawnee for eating large amounts of food very quickly.
      Ron: Why is everyone else so bad at eating?
    • He tends to shy away from "ethnic food", but greatly enjoyed eating from a burrito place when Andy mentions the "Meat Tornado", which has apparently killed someone in the past. Ron thought of it as "revolutionary", and was effusive in his gratitude for Andy introducing him to "an entirely new meat delivery system".
    • Despite having a horrendous diet and a literal gag reaction whenever forced to eat any form of fruit or vegetable he is actually quite healthy for a man who should have more cholesterol in his veins than blood, something with Ann notes as being highly unusual.
  • Birthday Hater: He hates birthdays so much that he has gone to great lengths to keep anyone from finding out his own, including having it redacted from all government documents. Needless to say, he is not pleased when Leslie discovers his:
    Ron: "I don't like loud noises. And people making a fuss. And I especially don't like people celebrating because they know a piece of private information about me. Plus the whole thing is a scam — birthdays were invented by Hallmark to sell cards."
  • Breakout Character: He's by far the most popular character among fans, and some TV critics have called him the best sitcom character since Cosmo Kramer. Starting from the third season, his Men Are Tough characteristics are amplified, such as his love for Meat and food.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Played With. As shown by the excellent handling of his own business; "Very Good Building Company", Ron is an extremely competent entrepreneur and manager, and it was only his hatred of government that kept him from doing anything in the Parks Department. Outside of the department he can be downright workaholic and has happily been in steady employment since childhood and rewards and encourages ambition and hard work in others; his apathy in the Parks and Rec office is just intentional sabotage based on his principles.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: A platonic version. He can't just tell his friends that he cares about and cherishes them deeply. Then there was the very short time when he was infuriated by people telling him to just say that he loves Diane, with whom he had been dating for quite some time.
  • Catchphrase: "Bully for you", and "Please and thank you".
  • Character Development: While he initially starts as a no-nonsense libertarian who couldn’t care less about his co-workers, over time he comes to see them as more than just acquaintances. This is what causes the incident known as Morning Star. When Leslie moves on and begins taking some of Ron’s coworkers with her and when the rest left, he suddenly realized one day he didn’t know anyone in his office space. While he is hesitant to admit, he came to view his co-workers as another fond constant in his life and eventually came to view them as friends. Which he doesn’t deny when Leslie calls them such. Ron was even willing to work with the Federal government if it meant working with his old crew again.
    • Ron possesses a strong distaste for fruits and vegetables, and will not indulge in eating what he considers food that his food eats. When he has to eat a banana to get his potassium up, he looks at a picture of his girlfriend and her children to motivate him to do so.
  • Characterization Marches On: We get very little of Ron's personality in Season 1 (his begrudging respect for Leslie is ever present-however), early Ron Swanson doesn't share Season 2-onwards Ron's Rated M for Manly aspects. Even his costume-based characterization is absent. Season 1 Ron wears a suit instead of rugby shirts and flannels and keeps his hair in a more office-friendly coif. Him exclusively wearing his Season 2 getup and haircut for years is explicitly noted in season seven (Leslie's notes that the exact outfit Ron is wearing in front of her at that moment in time is the same as in her first ever interview at Parks.).
  • Comically Missing the Point: The reason his favorite book is Moby-Dick?
    Ron: No frou-frou symbolism. Just a good, simple tale about a man who hates an animal.
  • The Comically Serious: He rarely cracks actual jokes, as most of the humor that comes from Ron stems from the situations he's put in and the interactions he has with the other characters.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Keeps a survival backpack hidden in a ventilation grate down the hall. Also keeps a small supply of ground chuck in his desk drawer, and a large packet of bacon above the ceiling tiles of his office.
    • Taken Up to Eleven when Ron retrieves the bag after his first ex-wife shows up. It's labeled, indicating that Ron prepared it specifically to escape from Tammy One.
    • All that gold he has buried? Quite a lot of it is fake gold just in case someone manages to figure out where the stashes are all hidden.
    • A deleted scene from "Ron and Leslie" reveals he had a secret stash of whiskey in the wall of his original office that he made on the first day he'd gotten the job just in case he ever got trapped there somehow.
    • Another deleted scene reveals that he had bacon caches in 37 other places in the office, including inside the photocopier and underneath Tom, because of an anticipated worldwide bacon shortage, or as Ron describes it, "total [bleep] global [bleep]."
    • He has a pre-recorded message for himself in the event Tammy ever manages to get her claws into him again since he knows nobody would be able to convince him but himself.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He is often sarcastic toward his coworkers and people in general, it is actually one of the many things he has in common with April.
  • The Engineer: Builds lots of things himself. Including a crib that he tested by hitting with his car. The grill is loose, the chrome molding is bent, and the right headlight is missing as a result.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He tries reasoning with a local dealership for a fleet of vans, but the Newports had bought them out, and the dealer fully intends to take the money, and rip up the existing contract. Ron later tells them that while his word is sacred, and he never lies for anyone else, the dealer was being such an asshole that he lied on the behalf of Donna when she rear-ended the dealer, and claimed that Donna was the one who was rear-ended instead.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Inverted. While he doesn't hate them, after his relationship with Tammy One, he only dates dark-haired women because she ruined blondes for him.
  • Family Theme Naming: Ron, his brothers (Don, Lon, and Vaughn), and his son (John) all have first names that rhyme with "on".
  • A Father to His Men: Despite being taciturn, grumpy, stingy, and insistent that people solve their own problems, he nevertheless often offers to help his friends when they need it, and often in very generous ways, such as giving Andy a scholarship, loaning money for Tom's business, and helping Leslie in many ways through out the series.
  • Flanderization: His Rated M for Manly traits ramp up as the series continues as the writers begin to embrace his badassery. He also goes from someone who greatly values his privacy to being almost completely disconnected from human society.
  • Foil: His disdain for government work and cynical view of social and political systems directly clashes with Leslie's more ambitious and naively idealistic endeavors.
  • Friend to All Children: For all his gruffness he gets along surprisingly well with kids.
  • Grumpy Bear: A generally cantankerous and serious guy among a cast of lovably quirky goofballs. Of course, he manages to be so cantankerous and serious that it ends up making him as lovable and quirky as everyone else.
  • Happily Married: To Diane as of the beginning of Season 6 after three miserable marriages to Tammy 1 and Tammy 2 (twice).
  • Hates Being Touched: As shown by his tendency to awkwardly just stand there whenever someone (usually Andy) hugs him. Ron really dislikes hugs.
  • Hates Small Talk: You're at best going to get a curt dismissal and at worst a Death Glare if you attempt to instigate pointless small talk with him.
  • Healing Factor: Specifically, his hair. No matter what happens to Ron's hair, it always grows back by the next couple of episodes, especially his mustache. At one point, he accidentally burnt his facial hair and eyebrows off and then ran off to hide in the woods when finding out his first ex-wife was coming, and three weeks later when Leslie comes looking for him, he's sprouted a massive mountain-man beard that would take a lesser mortal years to grow.
  • Henpecked Husband: Around Tammy One, he becomes a complete pushover who needs permission to even go to the bathroom. She's conditioned him so thoroughly that the transformation from alpha male to milquetoast is reflexive when he's in her presence.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Ron moonlights as jazz saxophonist "Duke Silver" and plays in clubs outside Pawnee. He's really good in general with woodwind instruments and is very good at crafting flutes and recorders (which he then sells to a loony doomsday cult because they always play them at their end-of-the-world vigils).
    • He secretly loves artichokes and plums.
    • Ron is shown to absolutely LOVE solving scavenger hunt puzzles, and becomes uncharacteristically giddy at the prospect of completing them.
    • Even though he is as stereotypically masculine as humanly possible, Ron is also a supporter of women's rights who attends a shocking number of WNBA games, according to Leslie.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "When I buried gold in my backyard, I promised myself I would not be miserly with it."
    • Ron's a libertarian who believes in freedom from undue influence and that everyone should have the ability to run their lives however they want. However, he also possesses a very forceful, imposing personality which can frequently lead him towards trying to dominate everyone around him and get them to run their lives the way he thinks they should be run, inadvertently or otherwise.
    • Ron's love of alcohol is frequently mentioned, saying "There's no wrong way to consume alcohol" and telling Ann he consumes one shelf a week. However, he is also on record as saying, with contempt, that "clear alcohols are for rich women on diets". He's also condescending and critical towards former director Michael Tansley for smoking pot, even handwaving one of Michael's sentences with "Sorry, I don't speak to hippies".
  • I Choose to Stay: Ron turns down the job of Deputy City Manager to stay as Parks and Recreation Director, despite his desire to slash budgets, because he's grown fond of his co-workers
  • Iconic Outfit: Red shirt and black pants after he's had sex. According to Tom, the same as Tiger Woods wears when he feels invincible.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may act like he hates all his coworkers, the government, and human society in general, but he's shown on more than one occasion that if any of them is seriously hurting or in trouble, he'll be there for them.
  • Kavorka Man: Not considered especially attractive, but still manages to attract many women with his gruff personality, and that's without counting Duke Silver's fanbase of swooning middle-aged ladies. When he drops by the local gay bar to find one of the clues Leslie left for Ben's gift, many of the patrons are clearly checking him out. Ron definitely does have the looks of a Bear.
  • Laborious Laziness: He can go to incredible lengths to avoid doing his job. In fact, he took a government job in the first place so he could make sure nothing meaningful ever gets done.
    Ron: I'd work all night if it meant nothing got done.
  • Like a Son to Me:
    • He regards April as similar to a daughter, and she is closer to him than to either of her actual parents.
    • Although he would never admit it, it's clear he also views Andy as being this.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Has two ex-wives and a mother named Tammy.
  • Likes Older Women: Both of his ex-wives are distinctly older than him.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Hanging around Tammy One turns him into a complete wuss. Tammy Two turns him into a raging sex fiend.
  • Made of Iron: In "Hunting Trip", he takes a shotgun blast to the back of the head, and spends the rest of the episode more angry than debilitated. He also survived getting hit by a school bus when he was seven years old.
  • Manly Tears: He's cried very few times in his life. The first time was when a bus ran into him as a child. The second was when he first learned of Li'l Sebastian's death. He very nearly cries a third time in "Citizen Knope" in reaction to Leslie's Christmas gift — remote-controlled closing doors for his office. He comes close to crying once again in "London, Part 2" after reading Robert Burns' "O were my Love yon Lilack fair" during his time in Scotland, and he nearly gets very emotional when he tells Leslie that her friendship means a lot to him as he is about to walk her down the aisle. Finally, his eyes can be seen welling up in "Leslie and Ron" as he recounts what happened to estrange him from Leslie (as well as in the flashback, following April's departure from the department).
  • Meat Versus Veggies: The meat eater to Chris's veggie eater.
  • Mentor Archetype: He essentially mentors the entire cast to varying degrees.
  • Morality Pet: Andy has slowly been softening him up.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: It's no coincidence that he strongly resembles Former President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt as both are burly mustachioed men who love the outdoors and they both like to say 'bully', which was an archaic word for 'good' that was commonly used in Roosevelt's time.
  • Not So Above It All: Ron has a goofier, nicer side, just like everyone else. And he loves Li'l Sebastian quite possibly more than anyone.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: He acts as one on purpose in a (thanks to Leslie's hyper-competence) questionably effective attempt to make the government as useless as possible.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • With Leslie. Leslie is perky, optimistic, pro-government, and very personable and touchy-feely. Ron is none of those things. Despite this, Leslie is probably Ron's best friend, whether he admits it or not.
    • In Season 4, he starts to develop more of a friendship with Ann Perkins, helping her learn home repair, asking for her help with a public health project, and getting her advice on dealing with Chris' meditation.
    • In Season 7, Ron actually becomes good friends with Typhoon, a flamboyantly effeminate hairdresser. They bond over a shared hatred of Eurotrash and faddish bicycles (though it's implied that Ron just finds it easy to talk to his barbers). In the finale, Ron is the best man at Typhoon and Craig's wedding.
  • One-Man Army: Nothing can keep him down.
  • Only Sane Man: He doesn't get involved in his coworkers' hijinks.
  • Papa Wolf: While initially unconcerned with Gryzzl's datamining (considering it rather silly to voluntarily give them your personal information and then complain that they have your personal information), the moment his son's privacy (an infant obviously not using the service) becomes an issue, he goes on the offensive.
  • Parental Substitute: To April and Andy, although April's parents are still around — especially Andy. He helps put Andy through college, offers advice to the young couple, and is their go-to guy (aside from Ben) when they need an "adult's advice". When Ron is unsure of his parenting skills, spending the day with Andy (including taking him to the dentist) is what reassures him.
  • Patriotic Fervor:
    • Of course. Here's what he thinks of Canada. Ron especially hates anything resembling Commie Land.
    • He does, however, actually come to like the Inner Hebrides of Scotland after Leslie sends him there to visit the Lagavulin distillery. He later buys the distillery (or a share in it, anyway)..
  • Perpetual Frowner: Even when he's being nice, he's still quite stern. The only thing that makes him smile is the collapse of the Pawnee government.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Leslie, to the point that Diane worries that Ron's so close to Leslie that there'll never be room for another woman in his life, despite Leslie and Ron having no romantic attraction whatsoever.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: "Is Star Wars the one with the little wizard boy?"
  • Prefers Proper Names: Ron almost exclusively refers to Andy Dwyer as "Andrew". This corresponds to his refusal to be silly and informal, but also lends a fatherly tone to his interactions with Andy.
  • Professional Slacker: He lets Leslie run the department, which she is only too happy to do. Ron, as a fierce super-libertarian, is actually ideologically opposed to the government accomplishing things; the one time he is seen actually working with enthusiasm is when the city needs ideas on how to slash its budget.
  • Rated M for Manly: An interesting version of this. Ron is gruff, loves working with his hands, eats a lot of meat, drinks a lot of whiskey, and is a strong fighter. But this doesn't translate into racism, sexism, or homophobia like other examples might. Combined with his distrust of the government and big business, Ron could be considered the true libertarian ideal if he wasn't a parody of such beliefs.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: To the point that he thinks fish are acceptable to catch, but not to eat since "fish meat is practically a vegetable". Although he does consider shrimp his third-favorite food.
    • Ron is also the inventor of the "Turf and Turf" - a 16-ounce T-bone steak lightly garnished with a 24-ounce Porterhouse.
    • In one episode, he is seen eating a deep-fried turkey leg wrapped in bacon and guess what's it called? The Swanson.
    • In another, his response to being offered vegan bacon was to pick it up and immediately put it in the garbage. Followed by requesting another, which he also throws away, and then a third. When questioned why he keeps asking for them if he's only going to throw them away, he responds that it's to save anyone else from eating them.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Like the rest of Pawnee, he adores Li'l Sebastian.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Subverted. He tries to pull this while throwing a barbecue in a public park and planning to actually slaughter a pig as part of it, arguing that he is allowed to do this because he is in charge of the Park and Recs department. Unfortunately for his plan, slaughtering and serving a pig also fell under the jurisdiction of other departments such as Health, so he actually didn't make the rules in this case. Notable for being one of the few times he actually tried to exercise his government authority as well, and it turns out to be authority he didn't really have.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Apparently owns a massive amount of gold and cash. So much so that, according to his attorney, the 5% he plans to leave to his step-daughters and biological son is considered a huge inheritance.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The manly man to Chris' sensitive guy. ...and basically every other male character in the series (even the not particularly feminine Andy looks less like a man and even more like a little boy when next to Ron).
    Ron: I like Andy. I am working in an office all day surrounded by women. And that includes the men.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • He denies it, but in Seasons 2 and 3, he clearly wants April and Andy to get together, to the point of being the one that tells April to stop leading Andy on. (He's quick to assure us that he doesn't care whether they get together, though.)
    • It’s also implied that he’s this for Donna and Joe, after seeing Joe’s true colors and advising Donna not to mistake drama for happiness.
  • Sliding Scale of Libertarianism and Authoritarianism: As indicated by the above quote, Ron's political philosophy falls quite far on the libertarian side. He has explicitly referred to himself as a libertarian a number of times and sees no value in government-run institutions to the point of wanting everything privatized. Unfortunately for him, Leslie always has ambitious plans to expand the Parks Department. Hilarity Ensues. Of course he also easily changes attitude when people don't comply with his personal philosophies. At a barbecue, he leaves when people complain that he didn't even prepare beverages for children.
  • Starter Villain: He was initially the Big Bad of Season 7, until he and Leslie reconciled in "Leslie & Ron". After that, Gryzzl itself is the Big Bad.
  • Strawman Political: Ron's libertarian views are extreme, to say the least, and are generally used to make them seem especially unreasonable. That said, it's played with to some extent as he does occasionally make good points in his arguments with Leslie (whose political views are diametrically opposed to his), sometimes acknowledges when he's taking things too far, and is portrayed as having an admirably genuine devotion to his principles.
  • Stout Strength: For one thing, he took Jamm down with only one punch to the mouth.
  • Team Dad: Begrudgingly. Ron is undeniably a paternal figure to the rest of the office and while he's fiercely loyal and can be a passionate and noble gentleman, he often acts stern and uninvolved.
  • Technophobia: Downplayed. This trait usually just manifests itself as a mildly backward streak and when Tom gives him an MP 3 player with all of his jazz records installed, Ron loves it and exclaims that it's an excellent invention. But at times him being out of touch with progress catapults him into a panic mode when he realizes the implications of new technologies - for example when he realizes Google knows his adress, his first reaction is to throw his computer away.
  • Theme Naming: He and his brothers all have names that rhyme: Ron, Don, Lon, Vaughn. He continued the theme with his son: Jon.
  • Tin Man: Ron pretty likes to think of himself as an aloof, stern and stoical man who's apathetic and antisocial towards others, but he can a genuine sweetheart that can be deeply emotional and sentimental about his friends, family, food (as well as drinks) and his few interests like fishing, woodworking and hunting. He's especially giddy over Li'l Sebastian and riddle scavenger hunts.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: In "Hunting Trip", one of the characters (Tom) shoots him in the head, but he gets better.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Red meat (especially steaks and burgers), breakfast food, and Scotch whiskey.
  • Tsundere: Clearly towards Diane in Season 5. He lets it slip that he loves her to Ann, and when she and Diane's daughters begin to tease him for it, he storms off with a yell of "I LOVE NO ONE!"
  • Wham Line: In "Leslie and Ron", Ron reveals just how miserable time away from his friends made him.
    Ron: I was going to ask you for a job. (beat) In the federal government.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: He intends to leave the bulk of his money to the person or animal that kills him.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: His disdain for functioning government is such that when he's once awarded Employee of the Month, he immediate seizes the plaque, cuts it into firewood, burns it all to ash, carries the ashes to another statenote , buries it, salts the Earth, and drives away without a word.

    April Ludgate 

April Roberta Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza)
"[Dogs] should be rewarded for not being people. I hate people."
"No, I didn't win, but at least I didn't make any new friendships."

April is The Snark Knight. Originally, she was an apathetic college intern who constantly slacked off and seemed like she would rather be anywhere else. In the second season, she was hired as Ron's assistant specifically to stonewall anyone wishing to meet with him. Near the end of the fourth season, it's revealed that, while she generally hates people, April loves animals and realizes that this might be her calling. In Season 5, the incompetent Animal Control Department is absorbed by the Parks Department and April is appointed the director of the new sub-department.

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's a snarky brunette who rarely emotes, except occasionally, mostly around Andy.
  • Ambiguously Bi: She expresses interest in going to a strip club in "Tom's Divorce" and finds Jerry's painting of the topless centaur that resembles Leslie to be hot.
  • Ascended Extra: In season 1, April's relevant to the plot all of twice and even then tangentially, even though Aubrey Plaza got regular-cast credit from the beginning. Mid-Season 2 onwards, she becomes one of the most focused-on characters in the main cast.
  • Aside Glance: Due to the format, all the characters do it from time to time, but the aside glance appears to be April's primary form of communication. Subverted earlier in the show, in that whenever April has been especially obnoxious to somebody else, she will sometimes give a resentful Aside Glance to show that she knows the camera has caught her obnoxiousness, and she isn't happy about it. Later in the show's run, when she becomes less cynical, less apathetic and less self-conscious, she gives fewer Aside Glances.
  • Babies Ever After: After some resistance, she and Andy eventually have a son named Jack in the Distant Finale, with another on the way.
  • Beta Couple: With Andy after they become a couple. She is the youngest, most cynical, and apathetic of the main female characters and is ironically the first of them to get married.
  • Be Yourself: In Season 5 she gets put into the public spotlight more and more as a representative for the parks department. At first she imitates Leslie as a way to get through her presentations since Leslie has always been good at that sort of thing and it helps her deal with her nerves, but April realizes that Leslie's methods don't work for her and simply starts acting like herself. While this gets complaints for excessive rudeness, she is much more successful than she ever was imitating Leslie.
  • Breakout Character: Started off as mostly a Living Prop in the first season before the increased focus on her plotlines drove her to become the most popular female character of the series.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: She is actually rather smart, but would prefer not to bother with things like responsibility and hard work.
    April: I don't want to do things. I want to not do things.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Half the problems she and Andy had getting together during their Will They or Won't They? courtship were caused by her unwillingness to just tell him how she felt. She resorted to hints and subterfuge (such as attempting Operation: Jealousy) rather than telling him that she liked him. If she was angry with him she would get passive aggressive instead of telling him she was angry and why.
  • Character Development:
    • In the second season, she becomes progressively nicer and more open the more she hangs out with Andy. It culminates in "Galentine's Day", where, after getting fed up with her gay boyfriends being jerks, she asks, "God, why does everything we do have to be cloaked in, like, 15 layers of irony?"
    • Her character arc starts in earnest in Season 4 and continues into Season 5 as she realizes that she can't be a complete jerk to everyone and attempts earnestly to forge a career. Besides that, April becomes more outgoing and eccentric as the show goes on, most prominently after marrying Andy. Lampshaded in "Miss Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington".
      April: (to Leslie) When I started working for you, I was aimless and just thought everything was stupid and lame. You turned me into someone with goals and ambition. Which is the reason why I'm even thinking about what I really want.
  • Creepy Monotone: Her tone of voice barely ever wavers from a steady monotone, suiting her Emotionless Girl personality, as well as helping with her generally creepy aura.
  • The Cynic: Starts off as the most cynical character in the show. However she eventually grows to be more encouraging and optimistic occasionally towards those she cares about at least.
  • Dare to Be Badass: She encourages Andy to pursue his dreams.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Easily the best example on the show. April can be counted on to respond to things with dripping sarcasm.
  • Death Glare: Easily the best example on the show, too. When she can't be bothered to snark, she'll usually just glare.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: April starts to open up in Season 2, mostly thanks to Andy's influence.
  • Dismotivation: She and Ron get along well.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Roberta.
  • Embarrassing Nick Name: Her parents call her "Zuzu".
  • Emotionless Girl: Up to Eleven. Getting her to express any emotion besides scathing sarcasm is quite rare.
  • Fag Hag: Until midway into Season 2, she constantly hangs out with her "gay boyfriend" and his boyfriend. She breaks up with him because it turns out that Derek and Ben are actually rather mean, despite initial impressions to the contrary.
    April: Derek is gay but he's straight for me, but he's gay for Ben and Ben's really gay for Derek. And I hate Ben.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Married Andy after dating a month.
  • Friend to All Living Things: In sharp contrast with her general hatred towards humans, April loves animals, particularly her and Andy's pet dog Champion. Managing an animal adoption show while Leslie was busy elsewhere was the first time she didn't utterly hate government work, and many of her later story arcs also revolve around animals.
  • The Gadfly: More like gadhornet; Loves messing with people in various ways, such as tricking her doppelgänger into breaking into Dwayne Wade's house or putting question mark stickers on stop signs.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Firmly believes so, as demonstrated in "Jerry's Painting". Andy manages to convince her by the end that they can be responsible adults while still staying true to themselves.
  • Happily Married: To Andy. For a given definition of 'happy' in her case, anyway.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: She may talk tough and keep up a snarky exterior, but most of April's Emotionless Girl persona is really just a front to avoid openly demonstrating her emotions around others. Dating Andy and learning to embrace her career cracks that façade more and more, and by Season 6 it's almost entirely gone.
  • Hipster: Of course, with her snarky attitude. Her favorite band is Neutral Milk Hotel, and aside from that, she only listens to German Death Reggae or Halloween sound effects records from the 1950s. (And Bette Midler, obviously.)
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: April's a pretty big jerk, she enjoys mocking Jerry, openly dislikes Ann, has little respect for the rules and claims to hate everyone and everything. However she does have a softer side, particularly towards Ron, Andy and later Leslie. As the show goes on, the "jerk" aspect fades — though she's always pretty creepy and abrasive, and even then she only ever uses it to destroy anything she genuinely despises, instead of just everybody around her.
  • Large Ham: Whenever she acts in-show, like when she adopts her "Janet Snakehole" character.
  • The Matchmaker: Though not a very good one. April is the one who pairs up Tom and Ann, much to her regret as they annoy her later with their relationship problems. She also tries to set up Chris, still sad from breaking up with Jerry's daughter Millicent, with Andy's Women's Studies professor. Said professor ends up sleeping with Ron instead.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Her dad is white, and her mom is Puerto Rican.
  • Morality Pet: Andy becomes one for her in Season 2. Notably, her time with him leads her to reject her two gay boyfriends due to being annoyed by how artificial their hipster ways were, plus their unpleasant attitude towards Andy.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: To an incredible degree. Examples include being happy at having fake blood splattered all over her, wanting to live in a house that used to house the insane, and being more interested in the horrible and disgusting effects pregnancy would have on her body than actually having a child. Donna even calls her "Satan's niece." When Andy went in for his police exam, she made him a good luck charm: she found a dead rabbit at the side of the road, cut off its feet, and stuffed it before giving it to him. Andy loved it.
  • Not Good with People: Starts up a pet adoption to avoid having to fill in for Leslie at government meetings.
    April: I think I may have found a project I'd actually enjoy doing. Helping these cats and dogs. They should be rewarded for not being people. I hate people.
  • Odd Friendship: She becomes quite close with Leslie despite them having completely opposite personalities. Her no-nonsense attitude gets on the good side of Donna as well, to the point of being Donna's maid of honor at her wedding. Her initial friendship with Andy in Season 2 could also count, however, after they get married, they become more of the Odd Couple.
  • Opposites Attract: With peppy, dorky jock and rock singer Andy.
  • Pet the Dog: As befitting her being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, April is capable of acts of true kindness here and there.
    • Her relationship with Andy starts as this; she befriends the goofball while he's having general life troubles, and finds spending time with him more enjoyable than with her mean gay boyfriend and his boyfriend. Realizing how they much prefer to Kick the Dog while Andy's influence makes her want to Pet it, she ends up choosing Andy.
    • Literally in Season 3 when she and Andy adopt a three-legged dog named Champion. She adores him, states he's one of the few things she cares about, and eventually admits that helping homeless animals get adopted is one of the few things that could get her passionate about a boring, administrative job.
    • In "Meet and Greet", after seeing how uncomfortable and disgusted Jerry is over his daughter Millicent getting hot and heavy with Chris during the Halloween party, April swipes Chris' car keys so he won't be able to take Millicent back to his place to have sex with her.
    • After Leslie and Ben's argument in "The Treaty", she goes to console Leslie and encourages her to talk to Ben.
    • Guilty over successfully wishing misfortune upon Chris in "Bowling for Votes", she offers to take him to the movies with her and Andy with the tickets she won in the donation phone pool.
    • In Season 4, she sets Ann up with Tom because she genuinely thinks Tom makes her happy. She even tries to keep it a secret from Leslie because she knows about Ann's probable embarrassment.
    • Attempts to set Chris up with Andy's college professor. Though it's partially to get Chris off their backs, it was April who approached Chris first and invited him to dinner with them.
    • In Season 6, when she believes Jerry to be very ill, she tries hard to be nice to him, to the point of actually reaching into his shirt and scratching his back for him.
  • Pitbull Dates Puppy: April is snarky, mischievous, and claims to hate everyone, while Andy is goofy, upbeat and full of energy.
  • Professional Slacker: It's the whole reason Ron hired her.
    Ron: I don't care that you text all day and sleep at your desk. In fact, I encourage it.
  • Put on a Bus: The possibility is toyed with in Season 3, when Chris offers to take her back to Indianapolis with him to be his assistant.
  • Sarcastic Confession: In her words: "The truth is stupid. I only tell the truth when it makes me sound like I'm lying."
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Reveals to Ron that she's aware of his double life as Duke Silver, as her mother has all of his albums and she recognized him the second they met.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: April, being played by Aubrey Plaza, always looks pretty, but usually gives the impression that she doesn't fuss much about her personal appearance. As her character development goes on and she becomes more involved with her work, she starts looking a lot more polished.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Similar to Ann's One-Hour Work Week, April is a college student, but this isn't mentioned very often and she never seems to have to be in class, which implies that whatever college she's attending is close enough for her to be at the office so often during the day. In the tie-in book Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America, April says she only takes one course a semester at Pawnee Community College.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Dumps her cynical, moody boyfriend (and his boyfriend) because she likes the good-natured Andy.
  • Spicy Latina:
    • She acknowledges the trope while she normally inverts it with extreme prejudice — she's the only major Latina character, but is the most asocial and emotionless.
      April: (utterly deadpan) My mom's Puerto Rican. That's why I'm so lively and colorful.
    • When she's drunk, however, she makes those normally associated with the trope seem downright... stoic.
  • The Stoic: Played by Aubrey Plaza? That's pretty much a given. (Unless she's drunk.)
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: April's cold, aloof and sometimes quite callous and anti-social. However she also has a sweeter side, which she occasionally shows to those she cares about.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: She has a tendency to blurt out her feelings: "I'm bored!" or "I'm cranky!" Her facial expression barely changes, however.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Starting from around season 3, but especially in season 4, April becomes a kinder, more considerate person to those she considers friends. But she's still a Troll.
    • Season 4 has her even list off the things she cares about (Andy, her dog Champion, Leslie, and the animal shelter), which the old April wouldn't have. She also starts giving relationship advice to Tom, Ann, and in season 5, Ron. She even admits (very begrudgingly) that she cares for Ann when saying goodbye to her in "Ann and Chris".
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Do not embarrass Andy, hurt Andy's feelings, or be anything other than nice to Andy when she's around. Is usually more bark than bite but she's clearly furious when it happens so the potential is there. And if you are a woman, do not show any romantic interest in Andy whatsoever. He belongs to April.
  • Vocal Evolution: Her voice is softer and less expressive in the first two seasons than it is in later episodes.
  • When She Smiles: Especially in the early seasons; her few smiles are really pretty. After she loosens up a bit they start to become far more frequent and directed at people other than her Morality Pet Andy.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Spiders?: She has that arachnocornucopia thing.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Andy during the second season. They Do.
  • Womanchild: Starts out as a college student, but continues acting like a moody high schooler well into her twenties.
  • Yaoi Fangirl:
    April: I passed up a gay Halloween party to be here. Do you know how much fun gay Halloween parties are? Last year I saw three Jonas Brothers make out with three Robert Pattinsons. It was amazing.

    Andy Dwyer 

Andrew Maxwell Dwyer (Chris Pratt)
"I have no idea what I'm doing but I know I do it really, really well."
"The words that they say sound passive, but seem aggressive. I feel like there should be a term for that. Like, nice-y mean-y?"

Andy was introduced as Ann's idiotic musician boyfriend in the first season and originally intended as a temporary character. He was retained in the second season after Ann broke up with him and landed a job as a shoe-shiner at City Hall. He had a Will They or Won't They? relationship with April in the second season. In the third season, he and April married after having dated for less than a month, much to Leslie's horror. Since then, their marriage has proved surprisingly stable. At the start of Season 4, Andy leaves his shoe-shiner job and joins the Parks Department.

  • Acrofatic: While he's a bit on the heftier side, he's still pretty athletic.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Downplayed as the age gap between them is much less than is usual for the trope, and none of the other characters seem to take issue with it, but Andy is initially rather uncomfortable with the eight-and-a-half-year age difference between him and April. He gets over it.
  • Amicable Exes: Due to their mutual friendship with Leslie, and he finally moving on with April, Ann and Andy form a healthy friendship sometime after breaking up.
  • Amusing Injuries: Andy gets hurt. A lot. And it is almost always hilarious.
  • Animal Motif: A fairly subtle one, but Andy behaves a lot like a big, dumb dog. He's friendly, a little slow to pick up on things, and has somewhat unrefined manners. He even dries himself by shaking. When his legs were still broken, he even bathed himself outside in a kiddie pool and specifically mentioned that he got the idea from seeing his parents wash their dog.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: He has a strong case of this. He almost always misses important information because he gets distracted by things like a bird flying past.
  • Author Catchphrase: He mentions that he uses the lines 'spread your wings and fly' and 'you deserve to be a champion' in all of his songs. The first lyric at least can actually be heard in the studio versions of most of his songs.
  • Babies Ever After: With April in the Distant Finale.
  • Beta Couple: With April after they become a couple.
  • Brainless Beauty: He's an adorkable and cute guy, and is as dumb as a brick.
Donna: Andy, you're fine, but you're simple.
  • Breakout Character: Started out as the least important character on the show (being the boyfriend of someone not even in the Parks Department), but gradually becomes one of the most beloved characters in the series.
  • Buffy Speak: Largely due to stupidity and not really knowing any technical terms.
  • Butt-Monkey: While not as bad as Jerry, he can be a massive klutz and this is mainly due to how much of a careless goofball he is.
  • Captain Obvious: Because he's often Late to the Punchline, he'll usually restate something everyone always figured out.
  • Character Development: Started off as a Lazy Bum jerkass in Season 1 to a becoming a lot more responsible and considerate in Season 2, with his evolution continuing on from there.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mostly in Season 4 and after, comes with being The Ditz. It's not normal for someone to dedicate a whole episode's investigation just to find who threw the pie at Jerry in "Bus Tour". That's just one of many examples.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy:
    • He is jealous of both Mark and Eduardo when trying to win back Ann and April, respectively. Fortunately, the latter was merely an attempt at Operation: Jealousy.
    • He somehow becomes jealous of and furious at Chris based off of a purely hypothetical scenario where Chris ends up with April after Andy seemingly dies...a scenario which Andy himself came up with.
  • The Ditz:
    Andy: Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the thing up here and it says that you might have... Network Connectivity Problems.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm:
    • Due to being a Manchild.
      April: I'll go too.
      Tom: Really? 'Cause an hour ago you told me you'd rather watch a sex tape of your grandparents.
      April: Shut up! I don't have anything else to do. Do you want help or not?
      Tom: All right, see you guys later. [Leaves]
      Andy: I think that it's really, really sweet that your grandparents still make love.
    • In another episode, Andy and Tom are escorted to the archiving room by the extremely old Ethel Beavers. As soon as she leaves, Tom jokingly tells Andy to remind him to ask her where she was when Lincoln got shot. Andy makes sure to write it down.
    • This becomes rather ironic when he gets together with April, who is absolutely the most sarcastic and snarky character on the show.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: His entire character becomes entirely different after Season 1, where he goes from a Jerkass who is taking advantage of Ann to a lovable idiot who is among the nicest characters on the show.
  • Fake Guest Star: In the first season, Chris Pratt was credited as a guest star despite appearing in every episode. They did shuffle back and forth on putting him in the opening titles during the first season, but nevertheless he was consistently referred to as a guest star. From the second season onward, he was credited as a normal regular.
  • Feigning Intelligence: Andy has tried to sound smart on several occasions, and failed spectacularly every time. And, somehow, simultaneously Obfuscating Stupidity. For all of his idiocy, there are occasional hints that he's actually much more intelligent than he seems at first glance.
  • Formerly Fat: In the sixth and seventh seasons, he slims down quite a lot, owing it to having cut down on beer consumption. In real life, it was because Chris Pratt had toned up for Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Friend to All Children: He gets along great with young kids, due in part to him being an overgrown kid himself. Because of this, Andy finds his calling as a children's entertainer, and is remarkably good at it.
  • Genius Ditz: He's got a pretty sharp memory and can do well when he applied himself. He memorized tons of complicated ifnformation for his women's studies final, and was also the first applicant ever to get a 100 on the written part of the Police Academy exam, but completely failed the personality test. And despite the often silly or simplistic lyrical content, he's also a talented musician. He also gets so bored he starts to think about existentialism after Chris gives him a job as a City Hall security guard.
  • Global Ignorance:
    • In the same episode, he says Venezuela is both "across the pond" and a city in Mexico.
    • He thinks that the states that form the Four Corners are Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon.
  • Happily Married: To April after the third season. Despite having rushed into it on an impulse decision, it's a very stable union, with them being mutually supportive of one another.
  • Jerkass: He's a Lazy Bum who constantly takes Ann for granted in Season 1. When she finally breaks up with him, Andy starts to get his act together and becomes one of the nicest characters in the show.
  • The Klutz: Shares this trope with the more socially awkward Jerry Gergich.
  • Like a Son to Me: Ron is generally at his most fatherly when interacting with him. To a lesser extent, Chris as well.
  • Literal-Minded: Leslie commissions him to write a song for Li'l Sebastian's funeral that's "five thousand times better than 'Candle in the Wind'". Andy writes a song titled "Five Thousand Candles in the Wind".
  • Lost in Character: He ends up buying into his own hypothetical scenario where Chris ends up with April after his death to the point of angrily yelling at Chris for betraying him.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Andy tends to try to downplay serious injuries. Other times he completely forgets about them, such as when he broke his thumb while on the way to visit the doctor's office to get his concussion checked.
  • Manchild: He's extremely immature and childlike, acting like a hyperactive, easily excitable kid most of the time.
  • The Matchmaker: Pushes for both Ron and Tom to get together with Diane and Lucy, respectively, and makes genuine efforts to bring both couples closer.
  • Morality Pet: The only person April is consistently kind to, at least before she Took a Level in Kindness. He also brings out a softer side of Ron, who treats him like a surrogate son. (Not that Ron would ever admit it, of course.)
  • Nice Guy: While his stupidity can still lead to awkward situations at times, Andy overall becomes a very likable and well-meaning person after his Character Development, and is generally friendly to everyone except Jerry and Kyle.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Shows shades of this at times. When hanging with April pre-relationship, and practicing a Spit Take, it's obvious that he knows what he is doing when "doing it wrong" with a simple Eyebrow Waggle to the camera.
  • Oblivious to Love: Towards the end of Season 2, it becomes clear that this is at least partially an act due to the age difference between him and April making Andy a bit uncomfortable.
  • Odd Friendship: He spends a lot of time with Ben and Tom in later seasons. He's also quite close to Ron, bonding over their love of sports and food.
  • Opposites Attract: With April. She's a dark grouch and he's a sunny optimist. They balance each other out that way.
  • Parental Substitute: Ron is a straight example, while Leslie is a mix of this and a Cool Big Sis to him.
  • Put on a Bus: Due to Chris Pratt landing the starring role in Guardians of the Galaxy, Andy is given a temporary job in London that keeps him away from Pawnee in the first part of Season 6.
  • The Rival: During season 2 he forms with Mark over Ann, even though Ann makes it clear she is done with Andy.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • In Season 5, Andy does more to get Ron and Diane together than either Ron or Diane.
    • In "Jerry's Painting", he can also tell immediately that Ben likes Leslie and states his approval for them to get together.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • In the first part of Season 2, Andy keeps trying to win Ann's affections back, and even lives in a ravine near Ann's house to 'protect' her.
    • To a lesser extent in the first few episodes of Season 3, when he tries to redeem himself in April's eyes after admitting to having kissed Ann in the second season finale.
  • Stout Strength: He's a bit chubby, but also very strong.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: April's attempts at Operation: Jealousy both fail because he's too dumb or naïve to be tricked.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: While never particularly bright, he was originally more lazy and immature than stupid, and seemed a reasonably functional adult who just got way too co-dependent on Ann and was having trouble landing on his feet.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: His evolution into a more likable person during the second season. There was some of this in the first season too, particularly in one episode where he goes out of the way to clean the house (and himself!) as a surprise for Ann while impaired by his cast.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: In Season 2, April develops a crush on Andy, who at the time is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend Ann and is unaware of April's feelings throughout most of the season. However, he eventually catches on and begins to reciprocate her affection despite having been previously weirded out by their eight-year age difference. In the season finale, Andy asks April out, but she turns him down because she believes he still has feelings for Ann. Ann, meanwhile, is going through a romantic mess of her own and, in a moment of confusion, kisses Andy. Andy breaks his arm, causing April to realize that life is short and to agree to go out with Andy. Andy ruins his chances when he decides to tell her about his kiss with Ann. In the third season premiere, April returns from vacation with a new boyfriend, and Andy spends the next few episodes trying to win her back. He eventually succeeds, and despite a few more minor bumps in the road, they are married within 3 episodes of coming together.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: While everyone cycles through different positions over the years, Andy easily does so the most, likely due to never really being part of the Parks department. He starts off as an unemployed musician, then gets a part-time job shining shoes. He eventually leaves that to become Leslie's assistant, and also became City Hall's part-time weekend security guard. He applies for the Police Academy, but fails, and instead ends up becoming Ben's assistant at the Sweetums Foundation, doing well enough to manage a foreign deal on his own. After returning to Pawnee and leaving Sweetums, he hangs around the Parks Department for a bit seemingly in some assistant position, then joins the part-time Pawnee-Eagleton merger think-tank that then organizes the Unity Concert. During this, his music career takes off in an unusual way when he ends up becoming a successful kid's music performer and entertainer and eventually ends up leading a popular kid's show.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With April during the second season and first half of the third. They Do.

    Ben Wyatt 

Benjamin Wyatt (Adam Scott)
"Nerd culture is mainstream now! So when you use the word ‘nerd’ derogatorily, that means that you’re the one that’s out of the zeitgeist!"
"Well, you have to be able to make decisions like this, Leslie. You have to be harsh, you know. No one's going to elect you to do anything if you don't show that you're a responsible grown-up."

A state auditor who comes to Pawnee with Chris to evaluate the town's funds at the end of the second season. Promoted to series regular in the third season. He is blunt and cynical but has a Freudian Excuse.

  • Ambiguously Bi: When going off on a talk show host, he can be heard saying, "Everyone has gay thoughts!" He also wrote Star Trek slash at one point.
  • Aside Glance: Ben is the king of this.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Ben is incredibly good and efficient at his job. He's managed to save six towns (including Pawnee) from bankruptcy. Upon taking on a new job in Pawnee, he takes to it like a duck to water. Other accountants in the series call him brilliant and he potentially ends up president of the United States. He's so good, even Leslie considers him "a genius." The fact they're both so competent and good at their jobs is one of the reasons they work so well together.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Served this role in his initial appearance, wherein his cynicism and designation by Chris as the Bearer of Bad News made Leslie consider him the 'bad guy'. This very quickly changes though.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Chris often forces him into this position. In Season 6, it's revealed that Ben actually loved getting to play this role whilst working with Chris.
  • Berserk Button: Any mention of him as a mayor when he was 18 years old is bound to set him off.
  • Breakout Character: Steadily became the Deuteragonist due to overwhelmingly positive feedback for his character.
  • Brutal Honesty: Ben is a master of delivering frank but accurate assessments of the current situation. He admits that it's what he loves most about his job.
  • The Comically Serious: Generally always deadpan when faced with his co-workers' antics, though he does have a breaking point. Also indeed comparably serious to the rest of the Team (sans Ron) who are either pranksters, goofy, weird, childish or flippant.
  • Complexity Addiction: In regard to boardgame development. Ben favors intricate rules and playstyles that give the Cones of Dunshire an incredibly steep learning curve. The sequel is supposed to be punishing toward new players.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: To Mark, who was initially placed in the role of Leslie's love interest, presented as a playboy type who was relaxed and cynical about government. At the end of season two he was written out and Ben was added who then took on that role, him being a socially awkward nerd who could be a hard-ass but deeply believed in government and had high ambitions like Leslie.
  • The Cynic: Though he gets better, thanks to Leslie and Pawnee in general.
  • Deadpan Snarker: While subtler than other examples on this show, he definitely has his moments, though most of the time he is more 'deadpan' than 'snarky'.
    Leslie: Well, but Chris said you just had to tinker with things.
    Ben: Yeah, he said that because that sounds a lot better than "we're going to gut it with a machete".
  • Deuteragonist: Very quickly begins to share the center stage with Leslie, to the point of practically being the co-lead in later seasons.
  • Extreme Doormat: Although he's capable and authoritative in a professional setting, it's revealed he's easily walked over in his personal life. He struggles to confront April and Andy about issues when rooming with them and a big milestone for him and Leslie is her realizing she can't just steamroll him and his feelings.
    Ben: My family is very non-confrontational. My parents' method of problem-solving is to kind of keep everything bottled up and just subtly hint at what's bothering them.
  • Face Palm: Ben's typical reaction to Pawnee, its citizens, and his own personal disasters.
  • Famed in Story: Ben is somewhat well-known nationally because he was elected mayor of his hometown at 18 and it became a popular news story. Leslie had heard about his story before she met him and only didn't realize who he was because he was known as "Benji" Wyatt at the time.
  • Happily Married: To Leslie as of mid-Season 5. They are very much into each other and extremely supportive of the other's dreams and ambitions, with no jealousy or resentment to get in the way.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Puts a facade up when acting as state auditor and he has to be ruthless in order to make budget cuts and play bad cop to Chris' good cop. Years of being hated everywhere he goes also seems to have made him more brusque and closed off. However, it's quickly revealed that he's a lot sweeter than he appears and develops into one of the nicest characters on the show. He also softens up a lot socially thanks to Leslie and making friends with the rest of the Parks Department.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Definite Type II. He likes geeky genre fiction and will often mouth off about them (Star Wars, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones among others), but is still played by Adam Scott and is seen as relatively attractive in-universe.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: One of the main characters who wasn't introduced until the end of season 2.
  • Improbable Age: Was elected mayor of his hometown town at 18. A caller to the Crazy Ira and the Douche radio show lampshades this in the most offensively unintelligent way possible:
    Caller: Seems like eighteen is pretty young for a mayor. What were you, like, twelve?
  • In-Series Nickname: Ben accumulates a lot of these in his short time in the series ("Mean Ben", "Turd Boy", "Human Disaster", "Calzone Boy", "Nerd", etc). In fandom, "Human Disaster" especially has grown to almost memetic proportions.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: A Running Gag with him is Tom will make some kind of geeky insult about Ben and Ben responding with an even geekier answer. For example, Tom insults Ben by saying that Ben wants to take a Hobbit-themed tour of New Zealand, and Ben responds that he did not care for Peter Jackson's adaptation.
  • The Lancer: Both Leslie's closest ally and immediate foil following his introduction.
  • My Greatest Failure: Bankrupting his hometown of Partridge when he was 18. It's why he's so cynical in the present day, as he still carries a lot of guilt and shame over it and admits to Leslie that he works as a state auditor to make up for his past mistakes. Although Leslie eventually helps him move on, Season 5 establishes the Partridge citizens aren't so forgiving and the media brings it up to drag his name through the mud on several occasions.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Leslie especially believes this, who is so completely turned on by her husbands good looks, and proudly proclaims how sexy she finds him to anyone who will listen.
    Leslie: So Ben's will be running my campaign, because he's a super genius, and he's got a tight, compact, little body like an Italian sports-car.
  • Nerds Speak Klingon: He speaks Dothraki.
  • Nice Guy: Once you get past the Brutal Honesty and pessimism, Ben is easily one of the nicest and most reliable characters on the show, not to mention being the Only Sane Man most of the time. Notably, he's also one of the few, if not the only character, to have never made fun of Jerrynote . Even other "nice" characters like Chris, Andy, and Leslie can't say that. Though even he never refers to Jerry by his real name.
  • No Social Skills: Initially he's pretty awkward, tactless and doesn't try to make friends because he moves around so much. Leslie and the rest of the Parks department help him get more comfortable.
  • Not So Stoic: When some wise guy pushes his Berserk Button.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Ben seems to have a supreme talent for forming these with other men. Tom, Andy and Chris couldn't be more dissimilar to him, but over time his friendships with each of them begin to border on Heterosexual Life-Partners levels of closeness.
    • He also 'came out' that Jerry is his friend and the others shouldn't be so mean to him.
  • Official Couple: With Leslie.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe: Bankrupting his hometown during his stint as teen mayor when he built an expensive winter sports center. When Crazy Ira and the Douche bring it up in "Media Blitz", it absolutely ruins his composure.
  • One Steve Limit: Is an aversion. Ben was previously the name of April's boyfriend's boyfriend.
  • Only Sane Employee: He's about on par with Leslie in terms hypercompetency at his job, but is both more grounded and less obsessive than she is.
  • Only Sane Man: The most normal and rational character on the show, as well as one of the most serious. Despite this, he's a shining example of how the straight man can be just as funny and interesting as their wackier associates.
  • Opposites Attract: Subverted with Leslie, as after their rocky first impression they're actually shown to have incredibly similar qualities and the Ship Tease ultimately results in a seasons-spanning romance arc and marriage.
  • Persona Non Grata: "Partridge" shows that his eponymous hometown still holds a very intense grudge over the Ice Town debacle. His sister runs as soon as a crowd points her out as a relative, and Leslie and Ben even get chased out of a local park when a ranger recognizes him.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 3, along with Chris.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Loves geeky pop culture and has no shame over it and he can be very creative with it like creating his board game and making Claymation videos.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Chris' Red. Later Blue to Leslie's Red as well.
  • The Reliable One: To almost every character - he's Leslie's biggest supporter in her career, Chris' right-hand man, Tom's go-to guy for business advice (even if Tom doesn't take it all the time) and kicks Andy and April into high gear to become more responsible while living with them.
  • Resigned in Disgrace: Ben decides to resign when he and Leslie begin dating, which is against workplace rules because he's technically her boss. Everyone knows it's entirely consensual and neither were abusing their position, but it still triggers an investigation—which in turn reveals that they did bribe an electrician to keep his mouth shut, which looks very bad. They agree to just concede that they did screw up, and Leslie throws herself at the mercy of the council... only to get a slap on the wrist and two weeks paid suspension. She then finds out Ben took complete blame in his own hearing, and resigned. It then becomes a Running Gag in the next episode that Ben keeps specifically saying he "resigned in disgrace," and Leslie wishes he'd just say "quit."
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Savvy guy to Leslie's energetic girl. Leslie is a hyperactive do-gooder; Ben is her straightforward, down-to-earth love interest.
  • The Scapegoat: The debacle that was "Ice Town" caused him to be this for his hometown of Partridge, even though being voted into office at 18 years old and most likely having to have his ideas approved by the city council means the blame wasn't his alone. Continues into the present day, as Partridge's politicians still bring him up to deflect from their own failings. The current mayor even wastes time and money throwing a big fake key-to-the-city ceremony, something that would not be a practical use of city funds, just to boost poll numbers by bashing Ben.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: In a sleepy Midwestern town, he definitely stands out.
  • The Stoic: He is usually the calm and sensible guy, compared to the other employees. He rarely laughs, cries or loses his temper.
  • Straight Man: He is easily one of the most sensible characters on the show.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Mark. He doesn't have the same job, but he acts as a Straight Man to the rest of the cast and a foil/possible love interest to Leslie in a similar way. By the end of the third season, however, Ben is definitely his own character. Also, according to creator Michael Schur, even though Ben was brought in with the idea that he might be a love interest/foil for Leslie, he was hesitant to label Ben that, reasoning that they hadn't shot a single scene with the two of them yet, and implying that, like Andy/April, there needed to be chemistry for it to work.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Calzones, which earns him no end of derision from everyone he knows. Although he is temporarily disillusioned from beloved calzones after he incurs a devastating case of food poisoning in "Ann's Decision"; it proves not to last for long. He is also in denial about it as every time he does have a calzone, he calls it something else and won't listen to people when they insist to him that it is just a calzone.
  • True Love Is Exceptional: Chris comments that in the past, Ben has exclusively dated only tall brunettes, while the love of his life ends up being the short blonde Leslie.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: An arguably more Downplayed example than most. He's a stuffy, cynical, rational, rule-abiding state auditor and he falls for the energetic, incredibly optimistic, quirky, impulsive, and occasional rule-bending Parks director Leslie. They are eventually married and he loosens up considerably over the course of the series because of both her and Pawnee's influence. Funnily enough, in one of his very earliest interactions with Leslie, he inverts this: she is pissed at him for cutting the budget, but rather than confront her, he invites her for a beer even though it's 10.30am, and is frank with her about why he does what he does, which is the first moment where she starts to think he's more than just an Obstructive Bureaucrat.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Introduced as a state auditor, he helps Leslie organize a fair to raise money for the town, then stays on as Chris' deputy City Manager. He leaves in disgrace (his words) when his relationship with Leslie goes public, and becomes Leslie's campaign manager for her city council campaign. He takes a job with Jen Barkley campaign managing a senator's campaign, but returns to Pawnee and ends up becoming a manager for the Sweetums' Charity Foundation, until he's fired when Leslie speaks out against the company. He then takes over as City Manager when Chris leaves, and after the time skip begins a bid to run for congress. He's then offered a chance to run for governor, and in the Distant Finale, either he or Leslie are seemingly President/Vice President. And this is without all the times he takes the same accounting firm job only to leave immediately, in-between all those jobs; after Andy, he probably changes jobs the most, though he at least generally keeps it within the same general field of managerial/bureaucratic positions.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He's afraid of cops, and in "Dave Returns" has to interact with a lot of them.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Has so much of this with Leslie in Seasons 3 and 4, though ultimately They Do.
  • The Woobie:
    • Becomes this in-universe when Donna takes him on her and Tom's annual "Treat Yo'self Day" after seeing him outside at lunch:
      Donna: Oh, Lord. Is he eating soup on a bench? Alone?
    • His Woobieness increases later that day when he buys himself a Batman costume to wear as his version of treating himself and begins to weep, his sadness over the breakup of his secret relationship with Leslie finally coming out.
      Donna: Uh oh. Batman's crying.
    • He's pretty sympathetic throughout his and Leslie's break up. She at least has her campaign for city council to distract her, while Ben genuinely doesn't have much else in his life - much like before he arrived in Pawnee - and even asks her if they can stay away from each other because it's just too painful for him.
    • He also slips into this role whenever his past as an impeached mayor is brought up.
  • Workaholic: While not to the same extent as Leslie, he gets weird when he's left idle for too long.

    Chris Traeger 

Christopher Traeger (Rob Lowe)
"If I keep my body moving and my mind occupied at all times, I will avoid falling into a bottomless pit of despair."
"I take care of my body above all else; diet, exercise, supplements, positive thinking. Scientists believe that the first human being who will live a hundred and fifty years has already been born. I believe I am that human being."

Ben's partner, opposite and Heterosexual Life Partner. He is cheerful and optimistic, but, in an effort to be liked, he always forces Ben to be the messenger for any bad news. Chris is also a health nut. In Season 3 the mayor of Pawnee asks him to fill in for the city manager who's recovering from a heart attack.

  • The Ace: Attractive, physically impressive, and a respected government employee. Donna even calls him the Bionic Man.
  • Back for the Finale: He, Ann, and their son Oliver return in "One Last Ride" after their absence for the rest of the season.
  • Becoming the Mask: As a baby, Chris was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and was not expected to live longer than three weeks, but miraculously survived. As a result, he sees every day he is alive as a gift, which results in his intensely cheerful and enthusiastic personality. Which explains why we will now see Chris as a health-conscious neurotic who obsesses about everything, highly perfectionist to the point that he gets really upset when his rules aren't followed and things don't go his way and believes things like exposure to germs and red meat (and fatty foods) could LITERALLY kill him. He even freaks out when he finds out he has tendinitis.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: There is a considerable amount of steel and determination underneath the peppy niceness. In "The Trial Of Leslie Knope", Tammy Two left in a hurry without giving any testimony when Chris made it perfectly clear that he wasn't going to put up with any of her bullshit and she'd pay dearly for lying under oath. When Jamm interrupted Leslie and Ben's wedding, he and Andy looked equally furious when Jamm insulted Leslie, both of them jumping to their feet simultaneously. The only reason why he didn't join Andy in beating the shit out of Jamm was because Ron beat them to it.
  • Birds of a Feather: When he was dating Jerry's oldest daughter Millicent.
  • Breakout Character: He was originally only intended to appear in the last two episodes of Season 2 and the first six episodes of Season 3. However, after the positive critical reception of the character, Rob Lowe signed a multi-year contract and became a main cast member for several seasons.
  • Broken Ace: He's a hypochondriac, is shown to be unable to cope with the idea of being unhappy and his ultra-positivity often makes him unintentionally a jerk to others (i.e. his behavior toward Ann and Jerry, as well as designating Ben the Bearer of Bad News).
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his relentless optimism, his emotional troubles, and his many eccentricities, he is consistently shown to be a clear-eyed, cunning and capable administrator. He does make a handful of bad decisions right after becoming city manager, but if Ron is to be believed, this is par for the course every time the position changes hands, and Chris is insightful enough to know that rolling over on all of his decisions will undermine his credibility.
  • Catchphrase:
    • One of his strategies for making Ben seem like the bad guy instead of him involves variations of this. Turns into a Subverted Catch-Phrase when he tries to use it and Ben isn't in the room.
      [Character complains about X]
      Chris: Well, that's terrible! Is there anything we can do about that, Ben?
      Ben: Uh, no.
      Chris: Damn! [Hastens off the scene]
    • He tends to address characters by their full names (and pointing at them), particularly characters he likes, particularly Ann, to the point where "Ann Perkins!" becomes a catchphrase. He does it to Leslie as well, but less so.
    • He frequently uses the word "literally" in hyperbole, punctuating it for emphasis. "That is. Literally. The best news I've heard all day."
    • "I would like an X. I would like it to be Y. And I would like it to be Z." After he orders a drink this way at a restaurant, Ann riffs on it for her own drink order: "I would like some white wine. I would like it to be cold. And I would like it with one ice cube."
  • Characterisation Marches On: In an early appearance, Chris is given the job of providing cake for April and Andy's fancy party. Instead he makes a vegetable loaf, on the grounds that it's healthier, thereby almost making Ron burst a blood vessel. Later, when Ron takes the job of organising the employee appreciation barbecue and ruins it with his BBQ purism and childish insistence on doing it the way he wants it, Chris is the one who gently points out to him the next day that the point of the barbecue was to thank the employees by giving them a good time (not, as Ron was doing, keep them waiting hours while the food cooks, and only offering beer to drink at a party attended by children.)
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: He has to help everyone he meets if they have a problem. Even if he has no idea what the problem is, he jumps straight in and tries to help them in any way he can. This eventually drives Ann to a breaking point during her pregnancy, wherein he learns that the best advice is just to sometimes say, "That sucks" and let her complain.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The worst moment of this is probably when he breaks up with Ann through a feng shui metaphor so vague that she doesn't actually realize she's been dumped for a week.
  • Chosen Conception Partner: When Ann goes looking for a sperm donor to father her child, she eventually chooses Chris. But after they get back together, they wind up making a baby the old-fashioned way.
  • Even the Guys Want Him:
    • Andy states that Chris is the guy he would pick if "[he] had to pick a dude". Chris is rather flattered by this.
    • Jean Ralphio also acknowledges how handsome Chris is and seems open to the idea of a threesome with him and Ann. Again, Chris is flattered.
  • Foil: In many ways, he's the exact opposite of Ron Swanson. Chris is an upbeat, optimistic, health nut who sticks to the rules. Ron is a grumpy, pessimistic guy who primarily subsists on red meat; however, he does have a soft spot for the department and is more lenient with them.
  • Full-Name Basis: He greets everyone by pointing at them and saying their name.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: It's part of his usual greeting, but it's also what he does when he meets someone for the first time. It can be off-putting.
    Ron: Hello, gents! Ron Swanson. [Reaches for a handshake)]
    Chris: [Point] Ron... Swanson.
    Ron: Okay.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Chris is a morally upstanding, friendly, incredibly nice man who will lay down the law like no one's business. He takes his job seriously and forces everyone to stick to the rules he sets down, even Ben, his best friend. (Though he makes it clear he doesn't enjoy enforcing the "no office relationships" rule on Ben and Leslie, and would love to be doing anything else — but he can't play favorites.)
  • Granola Guy: Due to his health nut tendencies.
  • Hidden Depths: Chris rarely "poisons his body with dark alcohol", but considers Lagavulin to be excellent.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Revealed to be this in "Dave Returns". He doesn't know the words for "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", either.
  • Hypochondria: An extension of being born with a blood disease.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: One of the main characters who wasn't introduced until the end of season 2.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: His pink shower cap (from a breast cancer awareness triathlon), and he even has a leg razor. Chris sees none of this anything to be ashamed of. He also doesn't see kissing Ron on his birthday as anything strange.
  • The Matchmaker: He expresses a fondness for this in "Jerry’s Painting" and endeavors to set Ben up with someone. Played for irony given his new rules are actually keeping Ben from the one person he's actually interested in.
  • Meat Versus Veggies: The veggie eater to Ron's meat eater.
  • Moment Killer: In "Road Trip" where (1) Ben confesses to Leslie at dinner; Leslie leaves for a moment to consult Ann and steels herself to go back and kiss Ben only to find that Chris has appeared and has seated himself at their table, and (2) Ben and Leslie get increasingly cute while watching TV together on the couch in Chris' hotel room and Chris keeps interrupting with his frequent bathroom trips.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He is regularly described as being superhumanly attractive by other characters, and constantly wears tight-fitting clothing or goes shirtless.
  • Nervous Wreck: While Chris is generally cheerful and optimistic, he can also be very neurotic because of his hypochondria and his anxiety and depression over his physical health has resulted in him get therapy for his mental health.
  • Nice Guy: While his overly cheerful personality sometimes leads to unintentional Jerkass moments, Chris is overall a very well-meaning man who implements a health initiative out of a genuine desire to improve the health of the citizens of Pawnee. He is also friendly and polite to almost everyone. An excellent example of his niceness occurs during Ben's bachelor party when he finds out none of the other guys got to have their own bachelor parties for various reasons. His response? He gives everyone the perfect bachelor party they never got to have.
  • No Social Skills: An odd case. While he's incredibly outgoing and charismatic, he manages to be so outgoing and charismatic that it wraps around to making everything he says come off as stilted and strange. He basically operates on a level beyond the average person socially.
  • Official Couple: With Ann as of Season 6.
  • Older Than They Look: He's forty-four. The most common in-universe estimate is twenty-five.
  • Parody Sue: His extreme physical perfection and relentless positivity is often played for humor, in that most people can't really relate to him.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. In "The Set-Up" before he was introduced, Ann set Leslie up with a colleague named Chris (see Leslie's profile — he's the guy who gave her the MRI).
  • The Pollyanna:
    • So positive, he scares off Orin, the creepy and morbid Goth at April and Andy's wedding. When he was born with a deadly, rare blood disease, the doctors told his parents he would only live for a few months. That's why he is so positive!
    • Deconstructed towards seasons 3 and 4. When it becomes inevitable for him to feel bad things, his constant positive attitude becomes a problem because he is just not ready mentally to deal with that properly.
  • Principles Zealot: He will not budge or bend the rules, even if he would personally like to. He hates the fact that he has to investigate Ben and Leslie's relationship in "The Trial of Leslie Knope" and genuinely wants them to get off scot-free, but he refuses to half-ass the investigation and does it to the best of his ability.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 3, along with Ben.
  • Pure Is Not Good: His exceedingly healthy body, which he compares to a finely-tuned microchip, is more than once played as a weakness. When he catches the flu, it hits him like a truck.
    Chris: Stop... pooping...
  • Put on a Bus: After Ann gives birth in the middle of Season 6.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He becomes this, pointing out to Ron after the debacle of the family barbecue that the point of the barbecue was to thank the employees for their hard work (the implication being that Ron's determination to show off his meat-cooking skills, and his hissy fit when everyone kept complaining that it was taking too long, were inappropriate).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Ben's Blue.
  • Sarcasm-Blind:
    Chris: It is exactly because of that lewd photo that I am here. [...] If I could go back in time and cut your eyeballs out, I would.
    April: Wow, that is so sweet.
    Chris: Thank you.
Although in a later episode he seems to understand that Ann is using sarcasm, but not that it's meant as a jab at him.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to Ron's manly man.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Does this periodically, usually with his trademark happy smile.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • In "The Trial of Leslie Knope", he's so anxious and depressed about Leslie's trial that he loads up on herbal remedies in a way that is creepily reminiscent of a drug addict. Leslie notes he looks like he's radiating pure joy, but that's because he's trying to stay his upbeat self.
    • Other episodes show that he has crippling issues about his mortality that he barely manages to cover up. It's really the only reason he's such a health nut. He begins spiraling into depression when his break-up with Millicent and Ann's (apparent) moving on with Tom make him wonder if he'll just end up alone.
  • Straw Vegetarian: While he does eat meat, his health nut tendencies are usually focused on getting away from red meat and he's treated the same as a Straw Vegetarian. On multiple occasions, he's shown thinking various plants are reasonable alternatives to meat. Most telling is when he wanted to remove hamburgers from the commissary. He bet Ron he could make a turkey burger better than a hamburger. When they had the cook-off, Chris slaved over his burgers with the finest ingredients. Ron slapped ground beef on a grill. Ron won in a landslide because beef is just better. Even Chris was 100 percent convinced.
  • Terrified of Germs: During flu season:
    Chris: (increasingly frantic) I have to get out of here. I have 2.8 percent body fat. My body's like a microchip. A grain of sand could destroy it. My body's a microchip. (leaves)
  • Too Much Information: Chris has a habit of being very direct and honest with people. This sometimes results in him saying things that would probably be better left unsaid, like telling female colleagues when they've done something he finds arousing. For example, while dating Milly, Chris insisted on including Jerry in his courtship out of respect for him as her father. This includes telling Jerry whenever Milly slept over at Chris' house.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: When Chris first appears in Season 2, he quickly falls for Ann, who had just broken up with Mark (and had lingering feelings toward her other ex-boyfriend Andy) and is not interested. After pursuing her for some time, she eventually reciprocates and they date for a while in Season 3. When they break up, Ann spends the next several episodes trying to get over Chris while he has already moved on. Later on, around the middle of Season 4, Chris begins to have feelings for Ann again and spends the rest of the season depressed over her on and off relationship with Tom. Then in Season 5, Chris starts dating news reporter Shauna Malwae-Tweep and Ann (who has broken up with Tom for good by that point) becomes jealous.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: He's built his body to perfection. Unfortunately, that also means that his body is sensitive to things that most people aren't too worried about. Flu hits him hard, and he has to constantly replenish electrolytes. And his body's tolerances are so tight that he has to go to the bathroom twelve times a night.
  • Villain Ball:
    • Unfortunately picks it up by his own principles in "The Trial of Leslie Knope". He refuses to back down on his own rule of "no office relationships" to investigate and punish Leslie and Ben to the full extent of his ability. However, he also fully admits to not enjoying having to, is noticeably stressed out by it and openly happy it didn't uncover anything worse.
    • He also holds his own witnesses to the same standards, even if they are willing to perjure themselves to win him the case. In the case of Tammy 2, he reminds her that she will be under oath and that if she lies, he will find out, have her charged, and then fire her. She quickly recants that she has evidence that will prove Leslie and Ben did things that were unethical and leaves the courthouse immediately.

    Jerry Gergich 

Garry "Jerry/Larry/Terry" Gergich "Gengurch" (Jim O'Heir)
" I told them my real name was Garry, and they said "who cares?". What a fun bunch of guys."
"Well, you know it's like I always say, 'It ain't government work if you don't have to do it twice.'"

An older Butt-Monkey who has worked in the Parks Department since the 1970s. He's picked on by everyone, particularly "mean" characters like Tom and April, but also by "nice" characters like Leslie. He is regarded as a boring, out-of-touch loser, but actually seems to have his personal life squared away better than anyone else.

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Retires at the end of the fifth season, but is brought back part-time of the end of the same episode. He returns to the Parks Department full-time in the sixth season. And just when he's set to retire again towards the end of season 7, he is appointed the interim mayor of Pawnee, is elected to the post, and remains mayor until his death at the age of 100. Jerry/Larry/Terry/Garry just can't get a break, can he?
  • Accidental Misnaming: His name is actually Garry.
    Jerry: "On my first day here, the old director, he called me "Jerry" and I just didn't think I should correct him."
  • Alliterative Name: His real name, Garry Gergich. Not that anyone ever gets his name right.
  • Beneath the Mask: Later episodes have shown that it's actually difficult to maintain his upbeat attitude at the office in light of all the abuse he takes, which may lead to some of his clumsiness and social awkwardness.
  • Biggus Dickus: Apparently.
    Dr. Harris: That man has the largest penis I have ever seen. I actually don't even know if he has mumps, forgot to look. I was distracted... by the largest penis I have ever seen.
    • And in a deleted scene from season 5 Tom mentions Boogie Nights and Jerry tells the gang that Gayle always said that he reminds her of the main character. Jerry looks nothing like Mark Wahlberg, but his wife does know him a little bit more intimately than we do. If you know what I mean.
  • Boss's Unfavorite Employee: Jerry is the Parks Department's resident Butt-Monkey, with everyone except Ben always ragging on him. Even hyper-kind do-gooders Leslie (who outranks everyone except the apathetic Ron) and Chris (who outranks everyone) put him down constantly.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • He gets yelled at and demeaned by everyone in the office, to the point where he's this show's version of Toby.
    • Inverted when he's with his family, when he inexplicably morphs into The Ace.
  • Catchphrase: "Oh jeez..." whenever someone yells at him for doing something wrong. Which happens all the time.
  • The Chew Toy: The show never misses an opportunity to put him down.
  • The Comically Serious: Jerry is a very diligent man but he's often mocked for his naivety, incompetence, clumsiness and awkwardness.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Not in any traditional sense, but when Leslie finally sees Jerry's home life, it's very clear that he's a completely different person around his family; and even though they can be completely over-the-top with how sickeningly sweet they are, he's probably the most content and self-assured person in the entire series. Contrasted with how he's shown around his co-workers throughout most of the series, this is a pretty huge contrast.
  • Deceptive Legacy: When Mark accuses Jerry of hiding how his adopted mother was arrested for drug possession, Jerry reveals he never knew he was adopted.
  • Doting Parent: He has three daughters, all of whom he dotes on. In turn, they positively adore him.
  • Dumb, but Diligent: Despite being a dedicated hard-worker and has generally clever moments and shows a lot of commitment to the people he cares, he's mainly known for being a pathetic and incompetent goofball that no one takes seriously because they see him as a complete klutz who can't seem to get anything right around the office. However, he's also got the highest tolerance for boring grunt work of all the characters, and if he gets it wrong the first time, he'll cheerfully stay up all night to do it over again.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the abuse he took from his coworkers, his dependability finally gets recognized, when Ben suggests he serve as the interim Mayor. He becomes so beloved by the whole of Pawnee for his role, he remains the mayor through write-in votes until his death at the age of 100.
  • Extreme Doormat: He's a bit weak-willed and takes the abuse without a word of protest. However, it really doesn't get to him much.
  • Flanderization: Thanks to Early Installment Weirdness, Jerry in Season 1 is depicted as competent and responsible enough to lead a group of kids on a field trip in plant identification; it's Leslie who's so incompetent that without waiting for Jerry's say-so, she eats a weed which makes her tongue swell up. By Season 6, Jerry can't even bend over without trashing a room.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: He's kind, polite and caring to all of his coworkers, and is always invited to major events in their lives, but everyone treats him like crap, unless it's something serious, like the time he had a heart attack in which even Tom, his biggest tormenter, turned his cruelty into concern.
  • Gasshole: Has been this at times, and because he's Jerry, it of course always happens at the worst of moments. Especially when he has a heart attack (Ann explains that flatulence is a common side effect of heart attacks), but since Tom is present, it of course becomes Black Comedy.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Dies peacefully on his 100th birthday, happily holding hands with Gayle and surrounded by his large and beautiful family.
  • Happily Married: To his wife Gayle. Ben even says that Gayle and Jerry are the most stable marriage he knows.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a very good and impossibly fast artist. In "The Camel", he's the only member of the Parks Department (other than Tom, who simply purchased his from an art student) to produce a decent entry for the mural replacement - a pointillism photo collage of City Hall composed of pictures of Pawnee residents. However, a slip of the tongue causes everyone to just write it off as crap.
    • Though clumsy around the office, his reaction time and reflexes are amazing at home. He's also shown to be a highly talented pianist.
  • I Have Many Names: He's actually named Garry Gergich, but on his first day on the job, the department director mistakenly called him "Jerry" and he didn't have the nerve to correct him, so it stuck until his retirement. When he returned to the Department a few months later, April declared his real name was Larry Gengurch after he requested they started using his real name instead of Jerry. At some point during the Time Skip in "Moving Up," the office began calling him Terry instead; on the Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show, he also plays Mailman Barry. At the very end of the series, everyone starts calling him by his real name. Noted when the guys burnt their initials into a "Buddy Box" for Chris as a going-away present.
    Chris: (Confused) Who's GJLGG?"
    Larry: Garry Jerry Larry Gergich Gengurch.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Before Gayle's first pregnancy, he supposedly had a similar figure to Chris, but he put on sympathy-weight he couldn’t shake off. Chris wasn’t thrilled to hear this.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: He actually dresses in completely unremarkable business casual the majority of the time, it's just that he has no interest whatsoever in what's trendy. Tom naturally picks on him endlessly for this.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: The reason he keeps coming out of retirement; he just really likes doing tedious paperwork nobody else can stand. When he gets his Notary Public License, he's giddy about it for months. He mentions taking a vacation to Muncie, Indiana, which is basically the municipal equivalent of Ridiculously Average Guy. He and his wife have a timeshare there.
  • Kavorka Man: Sort of. His wife is absolutely stunning and completely adores him, despite him being an old, overweight and unattractive dork, but otherwise, all other women are just as openly disgusted by him as men are. He's even the one person who Mona Lisa Saperstein wouldn't have sex with, giving him a "hard pass".
  • The Klutz: At the office and in public, but not in his home. His favorite ice cream place always scoops him a second cone for when he drops the first one.
  • Leap Day: His birthday, naturally.
  • Malicious Misnaming:
    • At the start of the sixth season, April effectively changes his name to "Larry Gengurch." He's been known exclusively as "Larry" ever since. Even NBC's website for the show now recognizes him as Larry Gengurch!
    • During the Time Skip at the end of "Moving Up", people began calling him "Terry" due to there being another Larry. In Season 7, he uses that name until Donna uses "Garry" on his banquet placecard, at which point everyone starts calling him that.
    • In the series finale, even his headstone winds up getting his name wrong.
  • Nice Guy: Despite being constantly dumped on by his coworkers and by the universe in general, Jerry doesn't have a mean-spirited bone in his body. The only exception is Kyle, whom even Jerry can't help but despise for some mysterious reason.
  • No Social Skills: Jerry is often the most socially awkward person in the show and tends to incoherently mumble his speech whenever he talks more than usual.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Had no idea he was adopted until Mark looked up his background and mentioned that his adoptive mother had been arrested for marijuana possession. Jerry just said he didn't know he was adopted.
  • Odd Friendship: With Donna. They know each other well enough to win Tom's "Know Your Boo" game show attempt, and she cares about him enough to make sure that at her wedding, he'll be known by his real name, Garry. She makes fun of him like everyone else, but in her case it comes off as light-hearted ribbing most of the time and recognizes when the others go too far.
  • Older Than They Look/Younger Than They Look: Oddly combined in that Jerry is supposed to be sixty-four as of the fourth season (the episode "Sweet Sixteen" discusses his Leap Day birthday), and of course has a lot of Informed Flaw in terms of his appearance, but when that episode aired, Jim O'Heir was only fifty. In fact, he's eight years younger than Christie Brinkley, who was cast as Jerry's wife.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Dammit, Jerry!"
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Along with Donna, after Chris and Ann left.
  • Raised Catholic: While it isn't brought up a lot, Jerry is apparently Catholic, such as the time he crossed himself after he got so involved with campaigning for Leslie, he forgot to vote, praying she doesn't lose to Bobby by One vote.
  • The Scapegoat: Everything is always Jerry's fault, whether it actually is or not.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • In "Jerry's Painting", he tells Leslie that allowing the painting to be destroyed is something he would do, and that he didn't expect her to give in.
    • A comedic example in "The Bubble": Chris says he believes Jerry is capable of so much more. Jerry's immediate reply is a flat "I'm not."
  • Shrinking Violet: Doesn't confront anyone over anything, including saying his name right. This is why Ron feels Jerry does best in his menial position. "Jerry can only function when no one's looking. You shine a light on him and he shrinks up faster than an Eskimo's scrotum."
  • Technologically Blind Elders: His way of getting to his Yahoo email is to go on Altavista and type "please take me to" and has no clue what bookmarks are.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Gets three pretty significant ones in season 7:
    • In "Donna & Joe" Donna labels Garry's dining place with his real name, thereby ensuring his co-workers will now address him by that name, albeit in a mocking way. He's thrilled about this development.
    • And then in "Two Funerals" Ben appoints Garry Interim Mayor of Pawnee after the incumbent Mayor dies two months before his term is up, complete with a completely over the top inauguration ceremony, where Garry is carried to a hot-air balloon by a Roman legion and then flies away.
    • In "One Last Ride", Garry is then elected mayor of Pawnee for real, and then proceeds to fill the office for the rest of his life, adored by his large family and loved by the people of Pawnee. Even his death is unbelievably heartwarming: He dies peacefully in his sleep, holding the hand of his beloved Gayle (who looks AMAZING).
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: He doesn't have Leslie's motivation, Ron's hands-on skills, or Tom's charisma. Basically, all he's good for in the office is mindless busywork like collating, taking phone calls, licking envelopes, and filing papers. That said, he's really good at it. Donna even becomes hypnotized by him licking and sealing envelopes for hours on end without getting bored or tired. He's almost Zen about it.
    • When Ben needs to get copies of April's resume typed up and sent to dozens of prospective employers, he knew there was only one man for the job.
    "Get me Garry Gergich!"
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Jerry is the only person Mona-Lisa Saperstein showed no interest in sleeping with.
  • True Love Is Exceptional: Played for Laughs when he reveals that his utterly gorgeous wife Gayle didn't physically appeal to him at first.
    Garry: I met Gayle right here at Sherm's [ice cream shop]. She was slim, blonde hair, big breasts, long legs. Ugh, not my type at all.
  • Unlucky Everyman: While Jerry is one of the most normal characters in the show with very few quirks, he pretty much serves as the punching bag for the sake of comedy.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: His three girls are stunners, despite him not being portrayed as particularly good-looking. When Chris meets his daughter Millicent, he congratulates Jerry.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: His wife Gayle is played by Christie Brinkley, and is considered an absolute beauty in-universe. Ben constantly wonders how they got together.

    Donna Meagle 

Donna Meagle (Retta)
"I'm live-tweeting this dumbass conversation."
"We're not big on hospitality. The Meagles are a cold people."

A Sassy Black Woman who is the office manager for the Parks Department. Donna has expensive tastes as she apparently comes from a wealthy family (R&B singer Ginuwine is her cousin, as revealed in "Sweet Sixteen"). Her most prized possession is her Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV, which you better not mess with if you know what's good for you. She Really Gets Around and has had a variety of weird sexual exploits, which we mostly hear about in Noodle Incident format. She eventually settles down and gets married in the final season.

  • Aerith and Bob: Her brothers LeVondrias and George.
  • Ascended Extra: While she's been present in the show from the very beginning, she doesn't get much actual focus or character development until season 3, and no actual story arc (her relationship with Joe) until season 6.
  • Berserk Button: Do not touch her Mercedes.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Donna is the most rotund character (next to Jerry) and it doesn't do any harm to her ability to attract men, as she regularly hints at an active and very varied sex life. Andy's "codename" for her is "It Happened Once In a Dream".
  • Character Development: Her relationships with members of the main cast grow deeper as the show goes on, particularly after Chris and Ann leave and Donna is given a bit more focus.
  • Cool Car: She's very proud of her 2006-2011 W164 Mercedes M-Class SUV, which she has named "Michael Fassbender".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Donna is always on hand to sarcastically comment on hijinks and roll her eyes.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: She tells Ron that her love interest Joe is her "Tammy", which Ron takes to mean that Joe is an abusive Bitch in Sheep's Clothing until he realises that he's actually a genuinely nice guy; Donna tells Ron that she meant that she changes when he's around him (i.e. becomes more introverted as he is), and didn't consider that as Ron might not appreciate comparing her loving if slightly boring relationship with his two abusive relationships.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Comes from the passive-aggressive grudge holder variety. Donna lists off several examples; the last few Meagle family Pictionary tournaments all ended at the hospital and apparently no more than 3 Meagles are allowed on an international plane together. Donna is herself estranged from her younger brother LeVondrias due to an incident involving microwaved popcorn and he was not invited to her wedding. Until April brought him anyway.
  • Ethical Slut: Heavily implied to sleep around a lot, but is no less valuable to the team for it.
  • Happily Married: After spending much of her time on the series as a free bachelorette, she ultimately settles down with Joe in the final season.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Although she looks like an average office worker, Donna is very cultured, well-traveled, and sophisticated, and a trained opera singer, as is Retta.
    • Subverted for laughs in the episode "The Camel." Leslie assumes that Donna has a secret artistic streak because of her beautiful and elaborate manicures. Donna is quick to correct Leslie: she gets her nails done professionally.
  • History with Celebrity: R&B singer Ginuwine is her cousin. In "Moving Up" she pushes him to perform at the Unity Concert by threatening to spill embarrassing childhood stories.
  • I Call It "Vera": One episode reveals that she has named her Mercedes "Michael Fassbender" because "they're both German and they're both sexy as hell".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Not jerky to the same extent as April, but she does come across as aloof and selfish. However, when she sees that someone needs help or the group is acting mean (usually to Jerry), she'll immediately do the right thing.
  • Odd Friendship: With Jerry. They know each other well enough to win Tom's "Know Your Boo" game show attempt, and she cares about him enough to make sure that at her wedding, he'll be known by his real name, Garry. She also develops one with April in the later seasons, to the point of appointing April as her Maid of Honor.
  • Pet the Dog: She brings Ben to her annual "Treat Yo' Self" day with Tom, when she sees him eating soup by himself on a park bench. And at her wedding, she marks Jerry's spot on the table with his actual name Garry.
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: A decidedly adult version of this, Donna is frequently seen on her phone during office hours and plots about her are often about social media (e.g. live-tweeting a Death Canoe movie in "Halloween Surprise" and her account being the subject of a political witch-hunt in "Gin It Up!").
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Along with Jerry, after Chris and Ann left.
  • Really Gets Around: Until she settles down with Joe.
  • Sassy Black Woman: A black woman who is sarcastic, flamboyant, and easily annoyed.
  • Secretly Wealthy: It's never made clear exactly how rich she is (until the last season when she gets much richer through real estate), but she definitely has a lot more money than anyone else in the main cast save Ron. Her spending habits are similar to Tom's, but while he's explicitly crippled with debt from it she has cash on hand to drop 15 grand on club shares with no notice.
  • Sherlock Scan: She's actually pretty observant, as she could tell Ann was pregnant just from knowing her mannerisms, even accurately figuring out how far along she is. Then she asks Chris when he changed his underwear.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: After some resistance due to a difference in lifestyle, she gets together with Joe, an almost inhumanly-nice music teacher.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Her precious Mercedes is constantly in danger because of her coworkers.

    Mark Brendanawicz 

Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider)
"Recently I have been thinking about maybe leaving this job, but I felt like I needed a sign. And then Ann broke up with me the week I was going to propose, the government got shut down and yesterday one of those pigeons took a [bleep] on me. And I was indoors, so..."
"I hit rock bottom that night. I mean I literally fell to the bottom of a pit and hit a rock. I remember laying there thinking, 'There’s probably a good reason why I'm down here.' And then I remember thinking, 'I need morphine.'"

A city planner. Straight Man caught in a Love Triangle between Leslie and Ann. He started off the series as a Handsome Lech, but this was quickly dropped and he spent most of his time on the show being a Ladykiller in Love. He was Put on a Bus when he joins a private company at the end of Season 2.

  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Non-villainous example. Some years prior to the first season, Mark and Leslie slept together once. This was a very important event in Leslie's life and she imagines their working relationship has been filled with Unresolved Sexual Tension since. Mark sleeps with so many women that he barely even remembers it.
  • The Casanova: In the first season. He later dropped this when he and Ann began dating in the second season, and actually was a faithful boyfriend.
  • Character Development: In the second season, he began a steady relationship with Ann and remained faithful to her. At Valentine's Day, he (admittedly) gives her every clichéd Valentine's Day gift he can think of because it's the first time he's been able to give someone such a gift. In the first episode of season 2 Ann notes that his personality seems to have shifted overnight after he suffered a head injury at the end of season 1.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Would often make sarcastic remarks about those around him, especially Tom.
  • The Generic Guy: For two seasons, he stood in the middle of a cast of more interesting characters and acted sane. Obviously, a Straight Man is supposed to do that, but unlike other characters who have fulfilled this role on the show (such as Ben), Mark lacked any quirks that allowed the character to take part in the shenanigans. It's Lampshaded when Ann admits that while Mark is very stable and "safe", he's also rather boring, and states that her relationship with Andy may have been unhealthy but at least it was interesting.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pre Character Development, while fairly aloof and sarcastic, he often felt genuinely guilty whenever he hurt somebody.
  • Ladykiller in Love: How his Character Development happened — he was something of a lothario in Season 1, but settles into a relationship with Ann in Season 2.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Hit on Ann before she actually broke up with Andy, and then fell into the Pit behind Ann's house later that night, just as Andy had done to inaugurate the series.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "Practice Date", he eagerly joins in with a game in which the department go dig up dirt on one another, but accidentally reveals to Jerry that he was adopted. At this point, he feels he's gone too far and backs out entirely.
  • Perma-Stubble: He doesn't grow out a beard.
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of Season 2, Ann breaks up with him and he leaves the government to work for a construction company after Pawnee is declared bankrupt.
    • Long Bus Trip: Even though Pawnee is a fairly small town where it would've been fairly easy to run into him again, he never makes another appearance. The writers did plan to have Mark reappear once in a while as a Drop-In Character, but Paul Schneider had no desire to return to the show again, leading to this.
  • Unperson: Despite his prominence early on, later seasons avoid all references to him. It's especially notable in the episodes "Halloween Surprise" (where he is the only ex-boyfriend of Ann's to not be referenced when she assembles her "ex-boyfriend boxes") and "Pawnee Commons" (where the park plans he drew up for Lot 48 at the end of Season 2 are completely forgotten about).

    Craig Middlebrooks 

Craig Middlebrooks (Billy Eichner)
"I have a medical condition, all right! It's called caring too much! And it's incurable!"

The Camp Gay former office manager of Eagleton's Parks Department who transferred to the Pawnee department when the two towns merged. Has No Indoor Voice and prone to Comical Overreacting.

  • Ambiguously Gay: For his first season on the show. He acts incredibly camp, and has stereotypically gay interests and mannerisms, but never shows interest in men until the seventh season.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's prone to overreacting to everything, acts campy and his intensity manages to even unnerve Leslie for a bit. However, he's also very competent at his job, eventually taking over Ron's position in the Parks Department.
  • Camp Gay: Confirmed to be at least interested in men in Season 7, getting married to Typhoon in the Distant Finale.
  • Comical Overreacting: He will do this over anything.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Even when he's not in stressful situations, he's still easily set off. In the final season, he learns to get a better handle on it thanks to going through some therapy.
  • Happily Married: Ties the knot with Typhoon in the series finale and a flash-forward shows them growing old together.
  • It's All About Me: Reacted to the news of Leslie's pregnancy by ranting about how every time he accomplishes something, someone else always upstages him, like when his cousin died on the opening night of his one-man show.
  • No Indoor Voice: Craig has a seeming inability to use an indoor voice.
    • After the Time Skip between Season 6 and 7, he's learned to control it. His therapist (Dr. Richard Nygard) advised him to "take a deep breath and say three great things about being alive" whenever he feels the need to yell.
  • Sixth Ranger: The only member of the Eagleton Parks and Rec department to become a full-fledged member of the combined Parks Department. Eventually, he even takes over as director.

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