Politician Cameos in ‘Parks and Rec,’ Ranked
For some mysterious reason, a large number of real-life U.S. politicians have made appearances on Parks and Recreation, the beloved comedy about a loveably pure-hearted public servant who's forced to put up with a bunch of lazy, ignorant, wildly demanding citizens who— Oh, okay, we get it now.
In retrospect, some of these cameos are better than others, and note to readers in the future: President Aubrey Plaza had yet to enter politics when this article was originally written.
Disgraced former Speaker of the House Gingrich somehow secured a cameo on Parks and Rec, apparently because he has a last name that is vaguely similar to Jerry Gergich’s. At least the show’s other cameos are motivated by the story; here, Gingrich just randomly shows up at a steakhouse to ruin an otherwise fun episode.
Leslie seeks advice from Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of State over waffles. This one loses points because of Albright’s stilted acting — and also all that terrible stuff she did that no amount of waffle breakfasts can erase.
California Senator Boxer shares a meeting with Leslie in Season Seven, but before that, she shows up at a D.C. party with fellow Senator (at the time) Olympia Snowe. They don’t really have anything to do other than serve as a catalyst for Leslie to immediately freak out. This is swiftly followed by a scene in which John McCain awkwardly attempts to retrieve his coat. Speaking of whom...
McCain also showed up in a later episode, attempting to ditch Leslie, remarking that her “tenacity can be intimidating.” It’s an amusing scene, and at least it’s way less uncomfortable than the previous time Amy Poehler and McCain shared the screen for a faux erotic thriller on Saturday Night Live.
Before her failed 2020 presidential bid, Gillibrand signed a copy of her book to Leslie — with the inscription already filled in.
Then-Vice President Biden appeared on Parks and Rec twice (not counting the Photoshopped image of him riding a horse while shirtless). The first time he meets Leslie, the future Head of State is subjected to some fairly inappropriate groping. Then, in the distant future year of 2025, Biden and his wife Jill welcome Leslie into their home for a cocktail party — possibly set in an alternate universe where he lost the presidency.
Cory Booker and Orrin Hatch
Leslie and April meet with Senators Booker and Hatch, who use the sit-down as an opportunity to promote their Polynesian folk music band “Across the Isle.” Even though the late Hatch was awful, repeatedly trying to “open Utah's Red Rock wilderness to commercial development,” which you’d think would make him Leslie’s sworn enemy, his delivery is genuinely funny.
The former First Lady does a perfect job playing the straight woman as Leslie has a minor meltdown and is unable to control the volume of her voice before attempting the world’s awkwardest high five.
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