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Top 10 Hilarious Parks and Recreation Running Gags

VO: JP WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Script written by Savannah Sher These are the best and funniest Parks and Recreation running gags! We’ve included Pawnee City Hall's Murals, Lit'rally, Everyone Hates the Library, Leslie's Love of Waffles, Pawnee vs. Eagleton, Ben's Love for Calzones, Ron's Love of Food, Dammit, Jerry!, Li’l Sebastian, Leslie's Compliments to Ann and Ben Wyatt - The Mayor of Ice Town.
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Top 10 Parks and Recreation Running Gags


We are LIT’RALLY laughing ourselves to death. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Parks and Recreation Running Gags.

For this list, we’re looking at our favorite jokes that crop up again and again on this hit NBC show.


#10: Pawnee City Hall's Murals


Throughout the series, we get tidbits of information about the history of Pawnee scattered amidst other storylines. One indication of the city’s dark past is on prominent display in the murals found lining the walls of city hall. The murals each depict a key moment in the formation of Pawnee, but each one seems more gruesome, violent, or racist than the last. In a Season 2 episode, city hall decides to replace one particular mural which has been vandalized multiple times because of its questionable subject matter. Of course, things don’t go as planned and the old mural remains.


#9: Lit'rally


The character of Chris Traeger was an addition to “Parks and Rec” in the show’s second season, and after he arrived, everything looked a little bit brighter. This character’s undying optimism is infectious, except when it’s totally annoying. Clearly trained in the art of making personal connections, Chris never fails to use someone’s full name when addressing them- even if it’s his romantic partner. His most notable personality quirk, however, is his overemphasis on the word, “literally.” His blind enthusiasm makes us forget that half the time, he’s using the word incorrectly.


#8: Everyone Hates the Library


Everyone knows that the library is “the worst group of people ever assembled in history”- right? While at first this sentiment seems ridiculous, as the series progresses, it starts to make more and more sense. In terms of interdepartmental rivalries, there is none more deepseated than that between the parks and recreation department and the library. Pawnee’s library department is run by Ron’s manipulative ex-wife, Tammy II, who acts as one of the series’ biggest villains - though she is nothing compared to Tammy I.


#7: Leslie's Love of Waffles


Everyone knows that Leslie Knope puts nothing before her job. Okay - maybe her friends. But she puts nothing before her friends… except maybe waffles. Leslie’s frequent visits to JJ’s Diner always end with a giant plate of waffles, no matter the occasion. It was once estimated that she spent over a thousand dollars in a calendar year on the sugary breakfast food. She has them in good times and bad, for better or for worse. If only JJ’s were real so we could try some for ourselves!


#6: Ben's Love for Calzones


Why eat pizza when you can have a calzone? Everyone knows it’s just your grandfather’s pizza. It seems everyone on this show has a specific food item that they have a weakness for and these delicate little dough pockets just happen to be Ben Wyatt’s. The former mayor of Ice Town loves calzones almost as much as he loves “Game of Thrones.” When he’s not busy working on the Cones of Dunshire, he’s coming up with awesome ideas for Calzone chains. Ben - we believe in you and would totally eat at Low-Cal Calzone Zone.


#5: Pawnee vs. Eagleton


Their air may smell like vanilla because of the scent wafting from their cupcake factory, but every true Pawnee citizen knows that Eagleton is trash. It’s the birthplace of Lord Voldemort (according to Leslie) and a land of “rich snobby jerks.” The rivalry between these neighboring towns has been going on for decades, since Eagleton was founded by the wealthiest members of Pawnee back in the early 1800s. Pawnee got the last laugh, though, when Eagleton was ultimately absorbed into the city of Pawnee in Season 6.


#4: Ron's Love of Food


Ron Swanson (aka Duke Silver) is a simple man. He doesn’t want much, but when he finds something he loves, he loves it with his whole heart. Just like his colleague Leslie, Ron harbors a deep affection for breakfast food (along with pretty dark haired women) even going as far as hanging a picture of it in his office. His love of meat is only rivaled by his love of scotch, with both holding a near equal importance. Ron will always say no to salad and skim milk and when he asks for all the eggs and bacon you have - you’d better give it to him.


#3: Dammit, Jerry!


Jerry, Terry, Larry, Barry, Gerry, whatever you want to call him, this guys has been ruining everything in the parks and recreation department since he started working there. It’s impossible to list all of the errors, flubs, and mishaps he’s been involved in, but trust us, they are plentiful. Despite all that, he has a beautiful and loving wife, as well as a charming family. His co-workers constant bullying may seem mean-spirited and sometimes they can take their frustration a step too far. Most of the time, though, we just want to scream, “dammit, Jerry,” along with them.


#2: Li’l Sebastian


If you don’t understand the appeal of Li’l Sebastian, you’re clearly not a real Pawneean. Do NOT call him a pony - this miniature horse was stealing hearts in Indiana for years before meeting his unfortunate demise in the third season of “Parks and Rec.” An inspirational figure to all who met him, Li’l Sebastian was a true national treasure. While he sadly was not present in the later seasons of the show, his memory lived on. He was even memorialized as a hologram during the Unity Concert in the Season 6 finale.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Tom's Entrepreneurial Ideas


Burt Macklin - F.B.I


Ben Wyatt - The Mayor of Ice Town


#1: Leslie's Compliments to Ann


In many ways, “Parks and Rec” was all about the meaning of friendship - and there is no friendship on the show that perfectly exemplifies that theme as the one between Ann and Leslie. Leslie’s borderline obsession with Ann is always hilarious, but never more so than when she’s doling out her weird and wonderful compliments. Throughout the series, she cycles through dozens of different ways to express to Ann how much she loves her, and each one is stranger than the last. We hope everyone eventually finds the Leslie to their Ann.
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