Parks and Recreation was a mockumentary that revolved around employees and politicians in the Parks Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. It aired for seven seasons from April 9, 2009 to February 24, 2015. Greg Daniels and Michael Schur created the series that aired on NBC. The series used the same format and writers from the American version of The Office. Parks and Rec didn’t do very well in its first season and was heavily criticized. The creators made adjustments to the presentation and tone of the series following the first season. All following seasons were universally praised for its outstanding writing and directing. In 2012, Time magazine named Parks and Rec the number one comedy of the year. It was nominated twice for Outstanding Comedy Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards. It won the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy.
Parks and Recreation starred Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope. Additionally, the series featured an exceptionally talented ensemble cast. Besides Poehler, much of the cast was relatively unknown before the series, with a few exceptions. Many of the cast has gone on to have very successful careers; and in some cases, are the biggest stars in the world. The series ended a few years ago and many wonder what the Parks and Rec stars have been up to since the end. Here is a look at the Cast of Parks and Recreation: Where Are They Now?
15. Jenny Slate – Mona-Lisa Saperstein
Mona-Lisa Saperstein was the twin sister of Jean-Ralphio. She was straight up insane and terrifying. Jenny Slate portrayed Mona-Lisa in a recurring role. She first appeared during season five and had a recurring role in the final two seasons. In 2009, Jenny joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. During her first sketch, she infamously swore on live television. Her contract wasn’t renewed the following season. In 2010, she created the short animated film and children books Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. During Parks and Rec, she was praised for her performance in the film Obvious Child. After Parks and Rec, she starred in the first season of Married and voiced Harley Quinn in The Lego Batman Movie. In 2017, she appeared in the film Gifted with Chris Evans. She voices Valerie Di Vinci in the upcoming animated film Despicable Me 3 and will appear in Hotel Artemis.
14. Billy Eichner – Craig Middlebooks
Craig Middlebrooks was the office manager of Eagleton’s Parks Department. He joined the Pawnee department after the Pawnee-Eagleton merger. Craig was overly dramatic and often loudly shouted when angry, frustrated, or annoyed. Billy Eichner portrayed Craig in the series. He joined Parks and Rec in season 6 and became a regular in season seven. In 2011, he created the series Billy on the Street with Billy Eichner, which is now on its fifth season. He also appeared in New Girl and voiced Mr. Ambrose in the animated series Bob’s Burger. Since the end of the series, he has been in great demand. He appeared in the film Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and will voice Timon in The Lion King remake. He also appeared as himself in an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He currently stars in the Hulu series Difficult People. Additionally, he will appear in the seventh season of the anthology series American Horror Story.
13. Paul Schneider – Mark Brendanawicz
Mark Brendanawicz was the city planner for Pawnee, Indiana. He was somewhat negative and bleak. He once slept with Leslie and was one of Ann Perkins’ many ex-boyfriends. Paul Schneider played the role of Mark Brendanawicz for the first two seasons. The original plan for the character was for him to move between working for the government and in the private sector. Mark was to return in the series as to show the realities of going back and forth between jobs. However, the character never returned, nor was he mentioned again. Prior to Parks and Rec, he appeared in several films, including Elizabethtown, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Lars and the Real Girl. After leaving Parks, he received critical acclaim and the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Bright Star. He also starred in Goodbye to All That, Café Society, and Rules Don’t Apply.
12. Ben Schwartz – Jean-Ralphio Saperstein
Jean-Ralphio truly believed he was God’s gift to women. He was Tom’s best friend who considered himself a business mogul and pick-up artist. He was known to be very conceited and full of himself. He was oblivious to the fact that nobody, besides Tom, seemed to like him. Ben Schwartz played the role of Jean-Ralphio in a recurring role. During Parks and Rec, he starred in the series Undercovers and House of Lies. In 2009, he won an Emmy for co-writing Hugh Jackman’s opening number at the 81st Academy Awards. He also worked as a freelance writer for Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. After Parks and Rec concluded, he served as a voice consultant for BB-8 in the epic film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He will appear in the upcoming film Happy Anniversary and will voice Dewey in the Ducktales reboot.
11. Jim O’Heir – Garry Gergich
Garry Gergich was an employee in the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department. Garry is somewhat of a push-over and is constantly the butt of every joke. He has an utterly gorgeous wife, Gayle Gergich (Christie Brinkley), which baffles the other characters. Throughout the series, the characters refer to him as Jerry, Larry, and Terry before finally calling him by his birth name, Garry. Jim O’Heir portrayed Jerry…er…Garry in the series. Initially, Jim had auditioned for Ron Swanson but the producers liked him so much that they found another role for him. Prior to Parks and Rec, he appeared in minor roles in various series, including ER, Ally McBeal, Friends, Desperate Housewives, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Castle. Since the end of the series, he’s had several minor roles in Veep, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Speechless. Additionally, he’ll appear in the upcoming films Take Me and Logan Lucky.
10. Harris Wittels – Harris
Harris was one half of the stoner duo Harris and Brett (Colton Dunn). They were the inept Animal Control Department employees. Harris Wittels portrayed Harris in the series. Prior to working on Parks, he was a writer for The Sarah Silverman Program. Additionally, he wrote the 2007 and 2008 MTV Movie Awards. During season two of Parks and Rec, he became a staff writer and executive story editor. He was later promoted to executive producer. He also wrote and became a consultant for Eastbound & Down. In 2010, he coined the phrase “Humblebrag” and wrote the book Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty. He had openly discussed his history of drug use and problems. He had two stints in rehab but struggled with sobriety. Harris died on February 19, 2015 days before the Parks and Recreation series finale. The Parks and Rec series finale as well as Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden and the season one finale of Masters of None are all dedicated in his memory.
9. Rob Lowe – Chris Traeger
Chris Trager was a state auditor that came to Pawnee to deal with the government’s financial crisis. Chris is intensely cheerful, optimistic, and is a health nut. Rob Lowe portrayed Chris Traeger in Parks and Rec. He joined the series at the end of season 2, but was only intended to be a guest role for eight episodes. That changed, and he stayed with the series until season six before returning for the series finale. Prior to Parks and Rec, Rob had a hugely successful TV and film career. He starred in numerous memorable films, such as The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, Wayne’s World, and Austin Powers. He also starred as Sam Seaborn on the critically acclaimed series The West Wing and as Robert McCallister in Brothers & Sisters. Since the end of the series, he’s starred in The Grinder, Code Black, and Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe. Additionally, he’ll star in the upcoming film Super Troopers 2.
8. Retta – Donna Meagle
Donna Meagle was the office manager of the Parks Department. Her stinging insults were often cold and blunt. She’s very secure financially due to a number of outside business ventures and investments. She has a very active dating life and dates more than any other character. Also, her cousin is R&B singer Ginuwine. Retta portrayed Donna Meagle in the series. Retta started performing stand-up comedy in 1996 and performed on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. Later, she had minor roles in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Fracture, and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. After her success on Parks and Rec, she’s appeared in many films and TV shows. She currently portrays Barbara on the series Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce. She will star in the upcoming crime series Good Girls. Additionally, she appeared in the films Other People, Operator, and Band Aid. She will also star in the upcoming film Bastards.
7. Adam Scott – Ben Wyatt
Ben Wyatt is a state auditor that comes to Pawnee to evaluate the town’s management of funds. He takes his job very seriously and doesn’t like to goof off. He can be harsh, blunt, and sometimes, a bit too honest. Initially, Leslie despises Ben when he comes to town but later, they fall madly in love. Adam Scott portrayed Ben Wyatt in the series. The character was first introduced at the end of season 2 and became a regular starting with season 3. Before Parks and Rec, Scott appeared in ER, Party of Five, and Six Feet Under. He had a role in the sitcom Party Down, but left the series for Parks and Rec. Since the conclusion of the series, he’s appeared in Angie Tribeca, The Good Place, and Big Little Lies. He also appeared in several movies, including Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Black Mass, and The Most Hated Woman in America. He will star in the upcoming series Ghosted.
6. Nick Offerman – Ron Swanson
Ron Swanson was the director of the Parks and Recreation Department. For most of the series, he’s Leslie’s superior. They have a close relationship but are two very different people. Ron believes the government should be privatized and is a staunch libertarian. He also loves woodworking, 15-year-old scotch and eating meat. Nick Offerman portrayed the man’s man, Ron Swanson, to critical acclaim. The character is considered the breakout star of the series. Prior to Parks and Rec, he appeared in several popular TV series, such as ER, Will & Grace, 24, Deadwood, and Gilmore Girls. Since the end of the series, he has written several books including Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Workshop released in 2016. He received universal praise for his role as Karl Weathers in season two of the FX series Fargo. Additionally, he’ll co-host the upcoming reality series The Handmade Project with Amy Poehler.
5. Aziz Ansari – Tom Haverford
“The Brown Gosling” Tom Haverford works in the Parks Department. He’s essentially Leslie’s right-hand man. He doesn’t enjoy working in government and feels he’s destined for bigger and better things. Aziz Ansari portrayed Tom Haverford in the series. Aziz had his big breakthrough when he created and starred in the MTV sketch series Human Giant. During the series, he also appeared in a few funny movies such as Funny People, 30 Minutes or Less, and This is the End. Since the conclusion of the series, he’s continued to work in television and film. Aziz is best known for creating, writing, and starring in his critically acclaimed and award-winning Netflix original series, Master of None. He has made it a family matter with his real-life father, Shoukath Ansari, when he won best supporting actor for playing his babuji on the hit show. Currently in its second season, his mother, real-life friends, and young cousin have been on the show as well.
4. Aubrey Plaza – April Ludgate
The dark and disturbed April Ludgate worked in the Pawnee government. Despite being unenthusiastic about her job, she rises up through the department. Leslie considers herself April’s mentor. April sometimes found Leslie to be annoying but nonetheless, still cared about her. Aubrey Plaza was universally praised for her portrayal of April. In fact, the role of April was specifically written for Aubrey. Prior to Parks and Rec, Aubrey worked as an intern and NBC Page. She later starred in the web series The Jeannie Tate Show. During the series, she starred in the independent film Safety Not Guaranteed. Since the end of Parks and Rec, her career has skyrocketed. She has starred in the movies Dirty Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. She will appear in the upcoming films The Little Hours, Ingrid Goes West, and An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn. Additionally, she currently stars as Lenny Busker in the FX superhero series Legion.
3. Rashida Jones – Ann Perkins
The wonderful Ann Perkins was Leslie Knope’s best friend. Ann was a nurse and not a politician, but she was pulled into Leslie’s intense world. They believed in and supported each other. Rashida Jones portrayed Ann Perkins in the series. Jones left the series during season six but returned for the finale. Before Parks and Rec, Rashida played the role of Karen Filippelli in The Office, which was developed for American television by Greg Daniels. During Parks, she wrote and starred in Celeste and Jesse Forever. Since the end of the series, she has continued to act and write. She currently stars in the sitcom Angie Tribeca. Additionally, she voiced a character in Inside Out and appeared in A Very Murray Christmas. She produced the Netflix documentary, Hot Girls Wanted, and is an executive producer on the upcoming series Claws. She is currently writing the screenplay for Toy Story 4, which is slated for a 2019 release.
2. Chris Pratt – Andy Dwyer
The lovable goofball Andy Dwyer started out as a jobless slacker but later became a shoe-shiner at the City Hall and eventually, Leslie’s assistant. Chris Pratt portrayed Andy Dwyer in Parks and Rec to rave reviews. Initially, Andy was only to appear in the first season, but the producers liked the character and Pratt so much that he became a regular. Prior to Parks and Rec, he appeared in the TV series Everwood and The O.C. During the series, he had his big breakthrough in Moneyball and his first leading role as Peter Quill/Star Lord in Guardians of The Galaxy. Since the end of the series, he has become one of the biggest stars and leading men in Hollywood. He has starred in Jurassic World, The Magnificent Seven, and Passengers. He recently starred in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and will reprise the role in Avengers: Infinity War. He will also star in Jurassic World 2.
1. Amy Poehler – Leslie Knope
The bubbly and determined Leslie Knope was Pawnee’s Deputy Director of the Parks Department. She was very committed to her job and believes that the government should serve the people. She is incredibly positive, enthusiastic, and caring but can sometimes be overbearing. Amy Poehler played the role of Leslie Knope.
In the first season, the character received significant backlash and was described as lacking intelligence and being “ditzy.” The writers never intended this and adjusted the character. Leslie is now considered one of the greatest female characters. Prior to Parks and Rec, Amy was best known for her appearances on Saturday Night Live and Mean Girls. Since the end of the series, she’s executive produced Welcome to Sweden and the upcoming BBC series, Zero Motivation. Along with Tina Fey, she’s hosted the Golden Globes on three occasions to rave reviews. Additionally, she starred in the Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and 10 Years Later. She starred in the film Sisters with Tina Fey and will star in the upcoming comedy The House with Will Ferrell.
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