For those of you who haven’t seen Parks and Recreation, watch it. I was skeptical at first because I watched parts of season one, which was mostly a bad knock off of The Office, but has become a lot more. Parks and Rec is now the funniest show on basic cable, with the strongest case of anything I have seen since Friends or Seinfeld.
So, I decided to rank the 10 best characters on the show for those who watch the show to enjoy, and to entice those who haven’t yet seen an episode.
10. Jerry Gergich
Jerry is the lovable loser in Parks and Recreation. He is an incompetent, bumbling moron who often gets harassed by his fellow employees. One time he even fell into a creek, severely hurting himself chasing after a burrito. He wasn’t featured much in season one, and may not be integral to the show, but he is definitely a great supporting character.
9. Donna Meagle
Much like Jerry, Donna became a regular in season two and has been solid ever since. She is a vapid person whose priorities seem to be her Mercedes, picking up men, and personal appearance. At first she seemed severely annoying, but now it seems the show would be missing something without her.
8. Ben Wyatt
Ben Wyatt was a late addition to the show, arriving towards the end of season two as a hard-ass state government employee set on shutting down the Parks department. He was fairly one dimensional at first, but you quickly see that there’s a lot of depth in his character. He is liked by most of his office while still taunted by Tom constantly. His awkwardness, mixed in with his rich history has created quite a strong character.
7. Jean Ralphio
I struggled with including Jean Ralphio on this list since he isn’t a regular cast member. But seeing as he is still one of the funniest characters on the show, I had to put him in here. Jean Ralphio was first introduced as a friend of Tom’s who was applying to be Ron’s assistant. Instantly you can see that most people, especially Ron, hate Jean Ralphio and his attitude. But that doesn’t stop Tom from bringing him around and eventually going into business with him.
6. April Ludgate
I have to admit that at first I hated April. I found her character to be a younger, less successful version of Aubrey Plaza’s role in Funny People. But after she showed a heart in her search for a relationship with Andy I began to enjoy watching her. Even though she is still the office sourpuss who loves to taunt Jerry, she has a strong character that her office mates look to for guidance and support. It has also been great seeing April’s relationship with Ron grow into a father-daughter dynamic.
5. Chris Traeger
Chris showed up the same time Ben did and for the same reasons. I don’t know how I wasn’t already aware of it, but Rob Lowe is hilarious. His character, Chris, is a guy with extreme optimism and excitement for life. His main focus is working out and eating healthy along with talking to the “most interesting people in the world.” He is even so nice that after he broke up with Ann Perkins (not funny enough to make the list), she didn’t know it for over a week.
4. Leslie Knope
It was a real struggle for me to get into this show at first because Leslie was just a bad, female version of Michael Scott from The Office. Finally she grew into her own character who has the same naivete that Michael does, but with an underlying compassion and work ethic that shows she is a redeeming person. She’s also a hell of a lot smarter than Michael and knows how to get stuff done. (See: Harvest Festival) Her passion for Pawnee, Indiana is unparalleled and her desire to make it better is amazing.
3. Andy Dwyer
Andy is the office idiot. He isn’t exactly incompetent, but he doesn’t really think before speaking and as a result often sounds like a moron. He is introduced first as someone who has hurt themselves by falling into a pit near his home. He goes from a lazy, inconsiderate jerk who eventually becomes the most beloved person on the show who does anything for a friend.
2. Ron Swanson
Ron is a die-hard Libertarian who doesn’t listen to anyone. His passion is woodwork, whiskey, and steak. There is really too much to say about him here, so all I can say is if you enjoy the following clip, watch the show.
1. Tom Haverford
Tom is a selfish city employee who has dreams of power and money. He has tried creating a liquor, owning a bar, and starting his own entertainment company. He has far too many great clips, including one that spawned it’s own website, so I’ll just show you my favorite.