Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Parks and Recreation

Go To

New entries on the bottom. SPOILERS, naturally.

    open/close all folders 

    Political candidate 
  • Why was that robotic guy that Ben and April's workplace just staring at the wall, again?
    • I think it's a satire n plastic political candidates who only "come to life" during photo ops, etc.
    Mockumentary format 
  • As with its counterpart The Office, the show's Mockumentary format makes for a lot of Fridge Logic. Sometimes the characters don't acknowledge the fact that people are always filming them. The episode "Christmas Scandal" makes a big deal out of the paparazzi taking pictures of Leslie with Dexhart, but no one seems to remember that Leslie is already being followed around everywhere by a filming crew. Ultimately the documentary style is just used for presentation, and should not be examined too closely.
    • The most glaring example is in "End of the World," when Andy and April are trying to film an amateur action movie. They complain about having to use a crappy cell phone camera to film it, despite having a filming crew with a working camera recording all of this. Andy even speaks right into the camera before smashing through the glass door.
      • Well, that's different. Are they really going to pay the documentary crew to film the movie the way they want? Filming it on the side as a documentary is one thing, filming a movie for them and letting them edit footage they aren't paying for is something else entirely.
    • I figured they're just dancing on top of the fourth wall, dancing like nobody's watching. Alternatively, the talking heads and glances to the camera only happen in the characters' heads.
      • That can't be the case. At one point, Tom is addressing someone, doing a talking head but the scene stays with Ron, who grabs him and interrupts.
    • Considering they're public officials, this is even worse than The Office. This should be... a lot more scandalous. Not to mention the implications at "The Trial of Leslie Knope."
    • The Watsonian explanation is that the show was supposed to be a more clear-cut Spiritual Successor to The Office, but gradually became it's own thing, and the character reactions to the camera just kind of hung around as a residual appendix of what the show used to be. It's probably not supposed to be a proper Mockumentary any more, the characters just break the fourth wall every so often because that's kind of the show's thing.
    April as personal assistant 
  • April's personal assistant position seems to be a regular nine-to-five type job, but "Media Blitz" indicates she's still in college. It's unclear how or when she's taking her classes.
    • The Pawnee book and "Smallest Park" confirm that she's in community college and only taking a few credits per semester.
    • There is also such a thing as evening and Saturday classes.
    Ron as Libertarian 
  • Ron is supposed to be libertarian. He even says in the episode Sweetums people have the choice to put what ever crap they want into themselves no matter how damaging. However, only five episodes later he vehemently speaks against the legalization of marijuana. This might be an intentional moment of hypocrisy caused by his dislike of Michael Tansley's "hippie" lifestyle.
    • I don't think he ever says he's really against legalization of marijuana. It's just that Tansley (1) goes on and on about legalization (Ron's reaction appeared to be a simple "Jesus Christ here we go again" to me) and (2) Ron considers him a hippie loser. I mean, he gets high on the job.
      • Exactly: Not hypocrisy, just disgust. Just because you think alcohol should remain legal doesn't mean you'd appreciate someone endlessly talking about it and using it on the job. [Not exactly the same thing, but in a lot of people's mind close]
      • The same concept (and basically the same jokes) recurs when he meets his "doppelgänger" Ron Dunn. Again, the same defence is possible: it's disapproval of this lifestyle on the level of taste, rather than thinking it should be illegal. Flanderization is creeping in, though: why should Ron have anything against composting, of all things? It would be nice if more episodes delved more closely into the complexities and contradictions of Ron's belief system, though I'm given to suspect that the writers aren't inclined to think it through fully.
      • Composting in particular makes no sense, because Ron is also a survivalist (lives in a cabin in the woods with no public utilities, keeps a bug-out bag in his office, pretty much anything with the Pawnee scouts, numerous other examples). Shouldn't he be in favor of making his own soil or fertilizer, especially considering his other interests in DIY projects and self-recycling?
      • Compost is used to grow fruits and vegetables. Ron eats meat and eggs almost exclusively.
      • He calls fruits and vegetables "the food that my food eats." It's not like he doesn't know where meat comes from. Plus, in the episode where he sells his cabin, he mentions having a berry patch that he fertilizes with leftovers from hunting.
      • He also drinks alcohol (made from various things, all of which use fertilizer) and eats hamburgers on the bun (made from grains, which use fertilizer). His devotion to DIY — "people who buy things are suckers" — also makes it weird that he'd be against growing his own plants for homemade booze.
      • Not sure about his liberarian beliefs, but he seems to have a general idea of "man vs. nature" (hunting, fishing, surviving) and perhaps composting and giving back to the environment is coddling it in his eyes. He tends to hold the idea of not helping or being helped and taking your fate into your own hands pretty highly.
      • With regards to composting, it might be a case less of the act itself and more his disdain of the person doing it. He might in general circumstances approve of, or at least be neutral towards, the act of composting in and of itself, but he's just bringing up it here because it's someone who really irritates him in virtually everything else who is doing it and he's just latching onto reasons to dislike him.
    • Ron has other instances of un-libertarian behavior. His "government is a thankless job" speech in season six is extremely out-of-character from his earlier characterization, pulling an almost one-eighty from his earlier views to console Leslie that government employees should do what they know to be right even if people don't thank them for it.
      • Ron's been working in government for years at that point. He doesn't have to believe in government to recognise that the work that government employees actually do frequently is thankless. In any case, the point of that speech isn't that government work is wonderful, it's to tell Leslie to follow her own conscience whether or not the people around her agree with her — essentially, to rely on her own individual judgement, which is a central idea of libertarianism.
    • The answer to this is simply that Ron — like the rest of us — can be a wee bit of a hypocrite from time to time. He believes everyone should live their lives how they choose, but — again like the rest of us — also believes that everyone's life would run best if they made the same choices he makes. Also, as noted above, one can support the legalisation of marijuana in general terms while simultaneously wishing that the people who really support the legalisation of marijuana to a much more intense degree than you would maybe shut up and back off about it a little bit. As someone who knows, it can be a Single-Issue Wonk to a truly irritating degree with some people. For Ron, it might just not be a huge priority with him.
    • It's also that Ron isn't a just a one-dimensional libertarian stereotype (although he may have started out as one). His life and ideas have wrinkles that don't slot perfectly into libertarian ideology because he's human, and no human adheres completely to their chosen ideology. Ron's not a perfect libertarian because no libertarian is a perfect libertarian, just as no communist is a perfect communist, no anarchist is a perfect anarchist, and so forth.
    Donna's Mercedes 
  • How could Donna afford a Mercedes-Benz on a low-level municipal employee's pay?
    • A couple of deleted scenes have her addressing this in talking heads. Both times, she answers "I'm in over my head". Not especially funny (hence deleted scenes), but there's your explanation.
      • Finally explained. Her family is fabulously wealthy, and Ginuwine is her cousin.
      • Also, she's a real estate agent.
    April's attitude 
  • What the hell is with Ron's decision to have April take over some of Leslie's responsibilities? She treats everyone around her like trash, especially poor Ann. Her character has always seriously bothered me from day one, but since she never did anything of consequence before I could just ignore her. If she's going to get a bigger role, though, I might actually stop watching the show. Andy managed to grow the hell up and stop being a Jerkass, why can't she?
    • She is growing up. She comforted Chris over Millicent, she smoothed things over between Tom and Ann, and then there's "Campaign Shake-Up", the episode you're basing this complaint on. She's maturing and beginning to care about her co-workers...she's just fighting it every step of the way because she's afraid of growing up and being an asshole is a cornerstone of the image she's cultivated.
      • She was extremely insufferable before she did all of those things, though. She wished that Chris's happiness would go away and she had to get drunk to be around Tom and Ann. We never actually see her solve the water fountain thing, which I think probably would have helped. If she was shown in a position where she fixed a problem without treating everyone around her terribly, the newfound duties she'll be getting would probably be easier to swallow. I just don't want to see her use her new position to continue disrespecting people.
    • I don't think you're looking at Ron's decision from Ron's point of view. Ron likes April, and likes the idea of nothing getting done... how she's treated coworkers in the past has never really been an issue to Ron. And being a Jerkass is her character. If she stops being a Jerkass, she stops being April.
    Inconsistency with Chris' rules? 
  • Chris doesn't allow employees to date but is perfectly fine with Andy and April getting married.
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Andy a shoe-shiner at the time? He didn't work for the government, he probably owned his own business and just rented space from Pawnee inside city hall.
    • Chris only has a problem with an employee dating a subordinate.
      • Plus, Andy's not really sure who his boss is—if he even has a boss.
      • Weren't they in a relationship anyway before Chris ever showed up? They could have been grandfathered in that way. He can oppose new relationships starting but he can't reasonably force couples to break up if his rule wasn't being enforced when they got together. Of course it's been a while since season 3, so I can't really remember if they got together before he showed up or not.
      • Andy and April first admitted they had feelings for each other in "Freddy Spaghetti," which was Chris's second episode ever; Ann kisses Andy in this episode so April sort of breaks things off with him until "Time Capsule" when April breaks up with her boyfriend after Chris gives Andy advice on how to deal with it. Chris was fine with Andy and April's relationship because for one, Andy was completely upfront with him about his feelings and intentions with April and, since Andy was not technically a government employee, Chris was in no place to forbid him from dating April, and when Andy eventually joins the government as Leslie's assistant, there's no issue because Andy can't give April any special treatment or vice-versa.
    • This is actually Truth in Television - lots of government and military settings explicitly prohibit inter-office relationships only when they would present a professional conflict of interest. Andy and April are too low-level and neither one is subordinate to the other; whereas a deputy director of a department dating the city manager demonstrates a clear professional conflict of interest - this is addressed in the show several times with Leslie and Ben awkwardly trying to balance their personal feelings from their professional judgment and Ben finding it hard to disagree with Leslie professionally.
    Inconsistency with Chris' rules part 2 
  • How can Chris condone Ann interviewing for the position of new Health person when he's so strict on rules? First she is interviewed by Leslie, who's her best friend. Then her second interview is with Chris, who she dated for quite a while. Those are –literally– the two least-objective people when it comes judging her skills for the job. Why didn't Chris mandate for other people to take the interviews?
    • YMMV, but I think it's part of the joke of the Chris character that he is so wound up about the Leslie/Ben thing, yet lets just about everything else go. Even when he's part of the budget cutting crew, he wants everything to happen and doesn't have the heart to cut anything.
    Tom's name 
  • Tom Haverford invented his name, having changed it when he decided to go into politics to avoid the stigma against Muslim-sounding names. It seems odd, given his later characterization for vanity and style, for him to have chosen such a bland name. Even if he wanted to fit into white middle-America, he could have chosen something much more snappy and memorable.
    • Despite Tom's vanity and swag, he's often been shown to be seriously out of touch with what is actually considered "stylish." Maybe he genuinely thought Haverford sounded like a cool name.
    • Thomas Montgomery Haverford is like, the wasp-iest name in the history of ever. Given he was trying to distance himself from the perception that he was a foreigner, I'd say he chose well.
    • Don't forget that Dante Fiero changed his name to Dennis Feinstein because that was considered more exotic in Pawnee.
    Town slogan 
  • Why would they have "Welcome Taliban Soliders" and "Welcome Viet Cong Soliders" in a red state?
    • Presumably they were expecting spectacular losses in those wars and subsequently invasion. They'd want to please them, right?
    • That was the joke - it started with "Welcome German Soldiers" during WWII, and kept changing for each new opponent even though the Viet Cong and the Taliban had absolutely no chance of conquering America.
    • Wait, do you think a city in a Blue State would be pro-Taliban?
    • Just because Pawnee is in a red state doesn't mean that the city itself is politically conservative. Considering that the Sweetums factory is the largest employer in the town and that it has a huge city government for a town of 50,000-80,000 people, it probably leans Democratic.
      • What does Sweetums employing most of the town have to do with a Democratic leaning?
      • Industrial places tend to vote left-ish (i.e., workers traditionally vote left).
      • True, but Pawnee seems pretty right-wing in general. Admittedly, this may be The Law of Conservation of Detail since Leslie seems pretty leftish and showing the citizens who agree with her wouldn't advance the plot.
      • They could be conservative Democrats; not every member / voter of the Democratic party is a dyed-in-the-wool leftist progressive, and Leslie might just simply be further to the left than most of the rest of Pawnee.
    • Since Pawnee is fictionalized, they could be fictionalizing whether Indiana is a red or blue state.
    Chris and the Parks department 
  • Why does Chris have a special friendship with the members of the Parks and Rec department. He is the city manager so he wouldn't he be equally cordial with everyone in the Pawnee government?
    • Is there anything in the show to suggest that he's not cordial with other departments?
    • For the same reason Jimmy James from NewsRadio spends all his time micromanaging his radio station despite owning a huge business empire, and the same reason Jack Donaghy of 30 Rock spends all his time solving problems at TGS, despite being the president of NBC and a high level GE executive.
    April in Washington 
  • April has taken a job as Ben's assistant in Washington. Seriously, this is April we're talking about. Do I even need to say anything else?
    • yes
      • All right, if you insist: It seems Out of Character (she's not usually ambitious, she thinks Ben is a dork, she misses Andy, etc.) and the show provided no explanation for why she accepted the job.
      • She's been living with Ben for a while, though (months?). She can think he's a dork and still like him. Also, she's enjoyed some travel in the past and Washington is a pretty cool place. And she clearly has little interest in the job itself or using it for further advancement. Seems more like sympathy for Ben combined with a desire to get to visit D.C. without needing a real job.
    • Much of the point of the character is that she isn't a tenth as mean and apathetic as she likes to project and everyone knows it, which she hates. I think the moral in most of the episodes where she has a subplot is that she is, in spite of what she claims herself, very smart and engaged and everyone trusts her to do her job and do it well. She would go to hell and back for you, once you are in good standing, even if she complains the entire way.
    Ron babysitting Diane's children 
  • In the episode "Women in Garbage", Ron and Ann (though a series of unfortunate events) accidentally leave Diane's children in a locked room with Ann's nurse kit. They both cut each other's hair and are very close to doing worse (keep in mind that these children are both around five years old). When Diane stops by near the end of the episode and sees, she doesn't care. Um, her children almost mutilated each other thanks to Ann's (mainly Ann's, but also Ron's, due to leaving the children to her, even despite her mentioning that she is terrible with children) carelessness. And DIANE DOES NOT CARE. Um, Out of Character, much?
    • Being a single parent of multiple youngsters means you have to go with the flow a lot. When she got there and saw Ron and Ann panicked, but the only damage was a pair of bad haircuts then she was probably so relieved that it passed.
      • I understand that, but you'd think that she would be a little mad at Ron and Ann for not being more careful. The potential for the children to cut themselves was astronomical.
      • This is an "all's well that ends well" kind of scenario.
    • Are you kidding me? She's a single mother of two kids who are what, 6 and 8 or so? Do you really think she'd freak out that much at them being alone in the same room as a pair of scissors? I know that there's an epidemic of overparenting, but thinking that would genuinely be an issue is comical.
    • Rule of Funny probably applies - Diane having a realistic argument or fight with Ron about it wouldn't be very entertaining to watch.
      • The person who posted this comment about Diane's character has never had kids, babysat kids, had a sibling, was probably homeschooled and never attended a public or private school, and probably uses a bullet-proof Popemobile for every trip, even if it's going from the kitchen to the living room. I mean, seriously? When you have kids, you learn to take a little thing like an impromptu haircut in stride. And what do you mean, "they came very close to doing worse?" What, are you thinking the two little girls are going to start cutting off each other's fingers and toes? They're sisters who are just playing, not budding serial killers. If it had looked even remotely like they were in any danger of hurting each other, Ron would have ripped that door off its hinges. Besides, we do understand IT'S JUST A SHOW WITH MAKE-BELIEVE CHARACTERS AND THE RULE OF FUNNY APPLIES, right? Let's not drag our issues into it.
    Marshall Langman 
  • Why on earth is Marshall Langman on the "Leslie Knope Says: No Fun For You" float in the Season 5 finale? His entire ethos is that same kind of finger-wagging, and he nods when the woman from the Small Business Association says Leslie is "against personal liberty". Well, so is he. I know he's against Knope, but he and his wife have spent the entire series attacking Leslie for completely opposite reasons.
    • It's actually fairly common for people to support restrictive policies while accusing the other side of being anti-freedom because they're only thinking of the liberties their side supports when they say that. Saying that someone is anti-freedom has just become a way of saying you don't like them or support their policies.
    • A rallying cry among lot of moral police types is freedom from government interference, which is used as argument against mandatory sex education and public school in general.
    • Also, the running joke with Marshall Langman is that he's both a moral watchdog and REALLY flamboyant, so a big honkin' negative campaign ad parade float is ludicrous but fits that character pretty well.
    Ann's costume 
  • Why is Ann wearing that eggplant costume in Meet 'n' Greet? As an Italian-American, it has some very bad and hopefully unfortunate implications, as the Italian word for eggplant is often used as a derogatory term for Black people.
    • Um, okay. You do realize that eggplants are also an actual fruit, right?
    • It probably just didn't cross the writers' minds or nobody on the writing staff knew that.
    • That would be a possible concern if Ann were in any way Italian-American, perhaps. Sometimes an eggplant is just an eggplant. It was likely just what the props department had, for whatever reason.
    • It's probably part of the joke that instead of a stereotypical Halloween costume like a sexy nurse, an actual nurse has to dress as the most bland and unsexy thing possible. Also, it was established in a previous Halloween episode that Ann's usual social circle of doctors and nurses is awful with costumes. They may make her feel her costume ideas are better than they are, the way that Ben's accountant colleagues make him feel like the king of comedy.
    • Probably because people in Pawnee speak English and not Italian.
    • Also because the alternative meaning is probably not particularly widely known outside of a relatively small population, meaning that the producers were likely unaware of it. While my own experiences are hardly conclusive or universal, speaking personally this is literally the first I'd ever heard of this meaning, and I suspect that I'm not alone. To be honest, I'd respectfully suggest that anyone who sees Rashida Jones dressed up in an eggplant costume and immediately leaps to assuming that the producers are even inadvertently sending a coded racist message involving the Italian word for the fruit is probably looking for things to be offended by. As stated above, sometimes an eggplant is just an eggplant.
    Ron's will 
  • Ben tells Ron that if he dies, his estate will go to the government. But that's not true, because at this point Ron is married, and his wife will automatically get everything in the event of his death, will or no will.
    • Maybe he's lying to Ron because it's still a really good idea to have a will.
    • Intestacy laws can vary from state to state, and while I have no idea exactly how difficult or easy it is in Indiana, in (fictional) Indiana there could be a whole bunch of unnecessary legal red tape that would have to be sorted out before Diane would be able to claim the inheritance as next of kin, whereas making an official will just cuts right through it. That said, as mentioned above it's probably just a little white lie to manipulate Ron into actually doing it.
    Leslie's job 
  • Why is Leslie still considered the Parks and Recreation department even after she's elected to city council. Jamm says she can't keep control of her own department or something? She has an awful lot of interaction with her own department for someone who's supposed to be overseeing the whole city.
    • City councilmen usually are affiliated with a particular part of government. Plus, "councilman" often isn't a full-time job (This seems to be the case in Pawnee, as evidenced by the fact that Jamm has enough time to run a dental practice) so Leslie is still the Deputy Director of Parks and Rec, who also happens to be a Councilwoman.
    • It's possible for the city council in small towns to have other jobs. It's explained in one episode during the campaign - when Ron tells her that councilwoman is a part-time job, but campaigning is a full-time job, and she can come back when she wins the campaign.
    Leslie's character 
  • Is there a good in-universe explanation for why Leslie has suddenly started becoming successful and respected among her colleagues since Season 1? In the first season (and even some of the second season) we were shown a character who had for a long time was an unpopular member of her office who no one took seriously. How do they explain the fact that she went for several years as someone with few friends, a very limited sex life (she was hung up on a guy who slept with her years ago), and a very tenuous grasp on the temperments of her coworkers, to suddenly being someone who became a great and positive social presence in the lives of her coworkers. Was there supposed to be some sort of catalyst that caused her to become successful (out-of-universe, we know the show was taking a while to find its groove chemistry-wise and for the writers to get a handle on the character) so suddenly? It's hard to buy it was some natural progression, that all of a sudden she figured out how to become a people person overnight.
    • Early Installment Weirdness. The show was still finding its voice and hammering out characters. They kept major plot threads, but characters got tweaked to make them funnier/more interesting/more likable.
    • The original intent was to make her like Michael Scott, except in a government setting. In fact, a number themes from The Office were transplanted (Mark Brendanowicz was a very clear Jim expy, the whole documentary angle, etc) before the showrunners wisely decided to dispense with all that and make P&R its own show.
      • That's pretty much the gist of it, but an in-universe explanation would probably be the development of her friendship with Ann and her work with the pit on Lot 48. When you consider that Ann is the best friend Leslie's ever had and the pit is the first real project Leslie's ever succeeded in, she starts to gain some momentum in her personal and work-related growth. From season 1 to 2 her quirks turn into hyper-competence since she's so engrossed in the project she's working on. Soon after that, Chris becomes city manager and makes her a priority, so she quickly becomes more able to get things done. As for her relationships in city hall, Ann's relationship with Mark allows Leslie to get over him since she's such good friends with Ann, and the introduction of Ben as a stable love interest for her cemented that. In fact, Leslie's one of the characters who changes the least from season one. Look at Andy and Tom, for instance.
    Ron as Libertarian part 2 
  • Ron is a libertarian. He believes that government is inherently wasteful and inefficient. His solution to this is... to take a public sector job in which he cashes a paycheck drawn on taxpayer money and not do the job he's being paid to do. How is this supposed to improve anything? Isn't that a bit like protesting BP by buying a barrel of their oil and dumping it in your back yard?
    • He was meant as a parody of a certain brand of libertarian, the type who decry any and all government (his ideal government is one guy in a room who makes decisions) yet still subsist entirely on the government (by libertarian standards nothing is more useless than a branch of government dedicated entirely to providing recreational services at taxpayer expense). He is the head of the Parks department, a position its shown he actively fought for. Yet he still lets Leslie do whatever she wants, offering, at best, token resistance to her plans.
    • I think the justification the show attempts is that Ron feels that it's better occupying his position as an obstructionist, lest somebody efficient (like Leslie) have it instead. Of course, this raises a few questions like how he got it to begin with. This is a general impression, but my feeling is that in early seasons the audience was given more space to denounce Ron as a hypocrite, but that's been buried over time in a lot of "Ron is badass" indulgences on the part of the writers.
      • Except that Leslie, by Ron's own admission, is efficient. In Ron's perfect world there would be no such thing as taxation, but given that taxpayer money is taken away from them and given to the government, why is it better to take that money and throw it in a bin than give it to somebody who will actually work on the public's behalf? It's cutting off your nose to spite your face.
      • Ron no doubt feels that he can temper Leslie's excesses, either directly or indirectly. Again, it's how Ron justifies this to himself that's at issue. We the audience are free to denounce him as a hypocrite, in theory.
      • While Ron takes a government paycheck, he does actually try to keep use of taxpayer money in his department to a minimum, and as noted above doesn't want someone like Leslie having the position. He also clearly outlines in season 2 that he wants to become City manager and likely advanced in government strictly so he could get in a high enough position to tear it apart from the inside.
      • I imagine that Ron's initial idea with hiring Leslie was that he was looking for someone who would look efficient without actually being efficient. In Ron's mind, he's all about undermining the government from within, but you've got to walk before you can run; if he shows up and immediately begins overtly running the department into the ground and visibly not doing anything, he's probably gonna get fired and replaced pretty quickly because his official job isn't actually "run the Parks department into the ground and don't do anything worthwhile as part of a sort-of secret plan to undermine the government from within". So his idea is that he hires someone with a lot of energy and enthusiasm who looks busy and capable, but turns out to be ineffective, thus making it seem like the department is running the way it should while it's actually being run down and not accomplishing anything. He probably wasn't expecting Leslie to be as capable as she ended up being, by the time he realised it it was too late, she hasn't given him any cause to fire her (since "you're too good at your job and it's foiling my sort-of secret plan to undermine the government from within" isn't actually a fireable offence) and he ended up liking her despite himself.
      • Ron explains why he keeps Leslie around in season 5s "Soda Tax". She totally conflicted with his beliefs and his plan to sabotage the government, and in fact he tried to have her fired on 4 different occasions for insubordination - she was extremely eager and efficient, and even though he nixed or undermined every idea she had, she found loopholes around it or just ignored him. The only reason she has a job is that every time he field to have her fired he ended up withdrawing his request, because much as he disliked her politics he admired her for having drive and convictions, and was worried that whoever replaced her would be a wishy-washy kiss-ass who just caved in to him. There is an unmade season 0s worth of stories where Leslie is the plucky underdog just starting her new job at Parks and Recs and Ron is effectively the Noble Demon Big Bad of the show battling her at every turn but grudgingly growing to respect her, and what we see of him in the show proper is after he has Took a Level in Kindness and done a Hazy Feel Turn.
    • Ron was based on a real person that the producers met while researching for the show and shadowing a real small town's parks and rec department. At worst an obstructionist anti-government type becoming a department director is a case of Reality Is Unrealistic.
    • Ron believes that he earns his pay by keeping the "frivolous and unnecessary" parks department from spending any money and doing anything. It's why he hired April- to keep anyone who wants to meet with him to discuss projects away from him. This is also why he has a bunch of slackers working in the office- they don't have any ambition and they won't get any projects done. He likely justifies this model with the idea that the handful of moderate salaries paid to his department saves a lot of taxpayer money in the long run. Then Leslie comes in and destroys that idea. Ron tried to fire Leslie four times because of that.
    Andy as Leslie's assistant 
  • Andy becomes Leslie's assistant through the rigorous process of... Ron saying, "Andy, you are now Leslie's assistant." This in a city government that not long ago underwent a total shutdown for budget reasons, but now Ron can apparently create a new position out of thin air without clearing it with HR or consulting the budget to figure out where the money to pay him is coming from, and staff it by fiat without posting a job opening or holding job interviews. What? Seriously, what?
    • The show has a lot of strange things like this, none more so than the fact that Leslie can broker the Eagleton amalgamation with Pawnee while seemingly neither consulting the electorate nor even the (completely obstructive) city council.
      • It has a lot of strange things like that lately. It didn't used to: for the first few seasons it was a relatively realistic depiction of the challenges of getting anything done in local government (take it from someone who knows from experience). The "Andy is now Leslie's assistant" bit is particularly jarring for coming so soon on the heels of the massive Reality Ensues that was the government shutdown arc, and the Harvest Festival that was specifically and repeatedly stated to be a last-ditch and relatively risky money-making venture for the city.
      • Likely Ron, being anti-government, didn't really care to go though all the red tape and cleared it with Chris afterwords. Given that Chris loves Andy and would love the idea of a shoeshine boy moving up the ladder to assistant, it was probably an easy sell and given how apathetic the government is anyway, they likely wouldn't care that an assistant was hired though connections rather than interviews.
    • Perhaps the position was a long-standing vacancy that Ron had just never bothered to fill up to that point?
      • This is the likely answer, as the same thing happened a few seasons earlier when he hired April.
  • Ron is the director (that is, head) of the department. Why should he have to consult the City Manager for hiring issues? It's doubtful the City Manager micromanages each department to that degree.
    • He probably wouldn't have to consult the City Manager to fill an existing position, especially a fairly low-level admin role. But he likely would at least have to give them a heads up if he was creating a new position out of nowhere, even a low-level admin role, since that's something that's going to have to be taken into account with regards to budgeting, payroll, HR, department organisation, etc. This is where the OP's question comes in; the idea that Ron has apparently just created a new position entirely out of whole cloth without letting anyone else know.
    Pawnee's obesity problem 
  • A running joke in the show is that Pawnee is one of the fattest cities in America, so... where are all the fat people at? In the main cast Jerry's on the heavy side and shown to have health issues and I'd say Donna is a BBW. We see a lot of Pawneeites (Pawneens?) through the public forums and Leslie's campaigning and while they span many body types none spring to mind as morbidly obese, which is generally how the characters talk about them. Why make a point of the town being fat and not bother to have fat actors play the townspeople?
    • I think it is intentional, and like you said, a running joke that so far has little on-screen evidence, yet is constantly remarked on as being a known fact. And that makes it funny (to me).
      • I second that. Huntington, WV was recently called the fattest city in America and there seems little evidence of it if you walk around that city. The "Fattest city in America" title is generally more a soundbyte than an entire scientific study
    • I'd say it's a case of Informed Attribute done for the lulz.
    • That singles mixer that Ann attends in season 3 has far more attractive people than you would ever find single in the Midwest.
    Pawnee apathy 
  • The city of Pawnee has a population of approx 70,000 people, yet meetings in City Hall, etc., only have very low attendance, sometimes there is less than 15 townies showing up.
    • That's on purpose. It's to hammer in the fact that Pawnee is incredibly apathetic towards their government and don't give a rat's ass about anything they're doing (unless there's something to protest about).
    • It's also Truth in Television.
    Election recall 
  • If Leslie won the city council election by twenty-one votes, shouldn't there have been another recount since that was the same amount she lost by that resulted in the first recount?
    • There's no reason to think the mandatory-recount limit is the same on a recount's results as in the primary count.
    • There's also the fact that the opposing side didn't really want to call one: Bobby's campaign manager only opposed the first recount because she was almost out the door and Bobby was relived when he didn't get the position.
  • What happened to Paul, the original city manager? Chris was brought in as a temporary replacement while he was recovering from surgery, but as of the end of Season 6, over three years later, he hasn't even been mentioned again.
    • It's common for "temporarily replacements" to end up losing the temporary part of their title. The previous city manager likely retired or took on a less stressful position, as the surgery was presumably quite major and such surgeries often have effects even years later.
    City Manager position 
  • Why wasn't Leslie considered for the position City Manager as well as Ben?
    • She may have been in the initial running but pulled herself out when it meant she would have to leave the Parks department.
    Indiana weather 
  • I don't know the weather in Indiana, but in Christmas Scandal, which takes place around Christmas, the establishing shots show kind of SoCal kind of weather (green lawns and shrubs). Then on the evening when the Christmas tree is going to be lit, everyone shows up muffled up in warm coats and earmuffs, and it is snowing (unless it was in-universe artificial snow).
    • Parks and Rec was filmed in Pasadena, California, and elsewhere in the Southern California area. They didn't do a very good job of staging Indiana weather, it looks like. You're definitely not the only one who noticed! (Or maybe climate change has struck Pawnee before the rest of the nation. That kind of bad luck would happen to Pawnee.)
      • That Sweetums factory has most likely permanently warped the climate around there.
  • In Tammy and Ron we are given flashbacks to November 2014, roughly six months after the Unity Concert in May 2014. She is as thin as ever despite canonically being around eight months pregnant with triplets.
    • Writers Cannot Do Math.
    • It’s also not uncommon for pregnancies involving multiple children to not last all the way to term; on average, triplets are born 4-8 weeks early. If that’s the case, the babies could well have already been born... Leslie going right back to work isn’t exactly out of character.
    Leslie's character part 2 
  • Why is ANYONE, Ann especially, friends with Leslie in the first place? She's hyperactive, naive, obnoxious, immature, selfish, disrespectful, unhealthy, obsessive, compulsive, loud, and arrogant. Is it just because she has random spurts of over-the-top generosity? She does improve somewhat over the seasons, but she is still on the level of Michael Scott in terms of how inappropriate or annoying she can be. It would be like befriending a toddler/small child. Why would people take time out of their lives to hang out with her outside the office or do special favors for her?
    • Because she is also an incredibly thoughtful and helpful person. We see that she often takes time out of her (incredibly busy) schedule for her coworkers, and by the later seasons Ann and Ben are getting tired of losing gift exchanges with her because she always gets them exactly what they want. Calling Leslie selfish is kind of a misnomer, as well. As the one police chief said, "Leslie is the kind of person who uses her favors for others."
    • It's so out of proportion, though. Leslie constantly expects people close to her to completely re-vamp their schedules and daily lives, drop any other engagements, and do exactly what she wants or she will be angry at them. She's obsessed with her own success to the point that she will undermine or belittle the success of her peers. All the gifts and occasional favors in the world couldn't make up for the fact that the rest of the time they have to constantly do her bidding and de-prioritize their lives.
      • She may have in the earlier seasons, but she learns to let up and does learn overtime to be less intense. It's especially evident in the late parts of Season 6 where she does come to see how her coworkers all came into their own, April and Tom (whom she nearly tried to undermine initially) especially.
      • Also, this essentially means that she's a bit pushy, overbearing and thoughtless at times. While potentially irritating character traits, this hardly makes her the reincarnation of Himmler or anything. Leslie has friends the same reason that anyone has friends; she has sufficient positive qualities that people find appealing enough to be willing to overlook her more negative traits.
    • As to why Ann, specifically, becomes best friends with Leslie, just consider what she was like when the two of them met- Ann had a deadbeat boyfriend, she lived next to a giant hole, and she apparently had no friends of her own (I mean, for her Halloween party she invited the other main characters and her work colleagues). She is also the sort of person to take on traits of those close to her (for instance, she admits that when she first dated Chris she got really into health and fitness because that's what he was into). She's stressed, she's bored, she's a bit aimless...and then comes along this equally-lonely, hyperactive, eccentric weirdo who is determined to fill that giant hole for her and get her involved in stuff. Leslie shook up her life in a good way and gave her a sense of purpose and camaraderie that she was lacking in her life, and further she and Leslie came to genuinely like each other and look past one another faults, so why wouldn't they become friends?
    Eagleton Ron 
  • At the end of the episode with Other Ron, when Leslie informs him that he will not be needed anymore Other Ron says he could sense it, and comments to Ron how their zodiac signs are incompatible anyway. Ron Swanson tries his hardest to make sure nobody knows when his birthday is, and even though several Parks and Rec workers know when it is it is still said to be a big secret during the episode with the woodworking award. So how did Other Ron know what his zodiac sign was?
    • Other Ron's kind of a New-Age Retro Hippie who's probably into some "spiritual" vibe reading stuff. So, Rule of Funny.
    • People who believe in the zodiac tend to ascribe particular character traits to the different signs (for example, being born under Pisces is supposed to make someone generous, compassionate, faithful, caring and artistically inclined). Other Ron is likely just working backwards by noting Ron's personality traits and comparing them to what he believes to be the most applicable sign of the zodiac. For all we know, he got Ron's zodiac sign completely wrong.
    Summer Catalog 
  • Does it seem weird to anyone else that in season two, the Pawnee Summer Catalogue includes tennis "for the first time in twenty years", but there's always footage of someone playing tennis in the opening credits?
    • Most likely there are tennis courts where anyone can play at any time, but the catalog includes tennis classes, which weren't available before.
    • Also, opening credits aren't legally binding. The tennis is just a quick shot of the kind of services that a local parks and recreation department typically provides for the citizenry to let the viewer know "hey, this is the kind of thing our main characters typically deal with". Frankly, if we're nitpicking the opening credits we're entering a very special layer of pedantry here.
  • In Season 7, what on earth happened to Nadia? She was only supposed to be on her DWB mission in Rwanda for two years and even tells Tom she'll call him when she gets back and yet is never even mentioned even though she would have returned by then.
    • The Time Skip was three years (between 2014-2017). They could've likely reconnected during that time in between and then just simply didn't work out.
    • Or they could have just simply moved on with their lives. How many times do you hear of old friends, partners etc. promising to keep in touch but just kind of drifting apart? Two years is a long time.
    Jerry's name 
  • In "Practice Date", how did everyone have detailed dirt on Jerry (including Dave, a police officer) without discovering that his real name is Garry?
    • The issue might be less that they never discovered that his real name is Garry as much as they just couldn't be bothered remembering it when they did.
    Campaign funding 
  • How on EARTH did Leslie fund her campaign after her managers stepped away? She hired Ben (who, even if he was willing to work for cheap out of his love for Leslie still had to pay his more-than-half of the rent at April and Andy's house), she made a massive campaign bus, she rented out a skating rink and bowling alley, her election day party was in the Jermaine Jackson Ballroom... where did she get the money for all of this? (And, if she had the money for all of that, how could they not find a nicer place for the debate watch party than April and Andy's house?)
    • You kind of answered your own question: that watch party was for wealthy doners who had already given money previously. Before that there could have been smaller donations or even the characters themselves paying out of pocket. Ron at least has hoarded a large amount of money over the years.

Example of: