From April’s cynicism to Leslie’s overexuberance, the main characters of Parks and Recreation are hilarious. Yet, their comedic chops are often matched by the regular citizens of Pawnee. These people are absurd. They have outrageous complaints, ridiculous beliefs, and altogether they aren’t the smartest bunch of people around.
They truly shine during the Pawnee public forums, where they get to make their voices heard. And these scenes act as one of the most consistently funny running gags in the series. With all of the crazy things said at these events, it’s easy to forget some of the best ones, so here is a reminder.
10 “I Think We Should Put In The Bible.”
Season three of Parks and Rec has always been regarded as one of the best. The inclusion of a hilarious public forum probably helps in that regard.
The purpose of the event is to figure out what to put in the Pawnee time capsule. Before starting, Leslie makes it clear that any religious items need to be avoided as it is a government project. So what does the first citizen do? He suggests putting in the Bible. It’s either a classic example of the dim-witted nature of the people of Pawnee or their natural defiance.
9 “Her Daughter Is An Idiot!! Her Daughter Is An Idiot!!”
A regular attendee of public forums is Chance Frenlem. He is best known for trying to start ridiculous chants to get his point across. On one such occasion, another resident suggests getting Chutes and Ladders for the Rec Center because her daughter likes the game. Chance comically doesn’t appreciate the suggestion because winning the game requires luck, not strategy.
In response, the woman points out that her daughter is only five. This doesn’t deter Chance, who calls her child an idiot, before trying to get everyone to chant the same thing.
8 “The Point Is, My Friend, Thinks You’re Cute. Give Me Your Number, So He Can Have It.”
Ann discovers the difficulties in running a public forum when she tries to get everyone to stop eating Sweetums NutriYum Bars. She allows the public to ask questions regarding the dangers of the snacks, and it doesn’t go well.
For instance, one guy compliments her appearance before asking for her number on behalf of his friend (who may not exist). Although ‘asking’ is the wrong word as he pretty much demands it. While Ann is not the perfect person, she deserves much more respect than that. It’s still a funny moment, though.
7 “Whether Or Not I Pay Income Tax Is None Of The Government’s Business.”
When the citizens of Pawnee discuss a soda tax, unsurprisingly, most are against it. One man is worried that it’ll lead up to other things being taxed, like income.
Obviously, income is already taxed, as Leslie points out. But the guy makes a hilarious counterpoint by claiming it’s not the government’s business whether he pays income tax. Once Knope presses him on the issue, he claims they don’t know his name or what he looks like, so they can’t get him. It’s a comical back and forth.
6 “If Sugar Is So Bad, How Come Jesus Made It Taste So Good?”
During the Sweetums NutriYum bars forum, they get on the topic of the dangers of sugar. One citizen defends the substance by arguing that Jesus wouldn’t have made it taste good if it was unhealthy. As the people of Pawnee are generally horrible, this comment is quite wholesome by comparison.
It’s a great argument too, because what does someone say in response? Outside of refuting the existence of Jesus, there’s no good answer to it. Ann responds by ignoring the humorous question.
5 “I’m Worried About The Turtle Flu.”
In a Ron-hosted public forum, somebody says that children shouldn’t be allowed on the playground equipment. Ron responds sensibly by giving the man suggestions if he’s scared of the swine flu. He’s not, though, as he reveals that he’s already had that disease, and he’s more worried about the Turtle Flu.
Pawnee is an absurd place, so it wouldn’t be too shocking if they had a mysterious flu that’s carried by turtles. But based on the dumbfounded look on Ron’s face, it seems like they don’t.
4 “But Isn’t All Food Bad For You? I’ve Been Eating Lasagna And Muffins Everyday Of My Life For Forty Years, And I Feel Terrible.”
It’s easy to forget some things about Pawnee, yet most people remember that it is one of the most overweight cities in America. And their lack of proper dietary knowledge might be the reason why.
For instance, as revealed in a public forum, one woman keeps a long-term diet of lasagna and muffins and feels terrible as a result. It’s unclear why she chose to make a lifetime commitment to that specific unhealthy diet. Although, in her defense, it does sound delicious.
3 “I Don’t Know. I’m Just Scared.”
At one point during the time capsule forum, a man stands up and says, “we don’t know what the world is going to be like in 50 years. We could have all been wiped from disease or the flu.” Donna then asks what his suggestion for the time capsule is, but he doesn’t know.
His first comment is made out of fear and doesn’t have anything to do with the capsule. While it’s a strange thing to say at that exact moment, his prediction of the future is scary.
2 “I Found A Sandwich In One Of Your Parks, And I Want To Know Why It Didn’t Have Mayonnaise.”
This is a prime example of the insane complaints that the citizens of Pawnee often make. A woman is upset about the lack of mayonnaise on a sandwich she found.
The comment is so ridiculous that Ron Swanson responds with laughter thinking it’s a joke. Unfortunately, it’s not; the resident is deadly serious. If she’s eating sandwiches that she’s finding in the park, then the ingredients shouldn’t be her main worry.
1 “What Am I Going To Do With My Kids All Day? Keep Them In My House? Where I Live?”
In one of the show’s better season finales, the Pawnee government is shut down, which means that the parks suffer the same fate. Leslie and Ron hold a public forum so the locals can vocalize their concerns about the situation.
One mother stands up and questions where she’s going to keep her children when school is out. She is comically horrified at the thought of keeping her offspring in her own home. Most parents probably feel the same way sometimes.
NEXT: Parks And Recreation: 5 Reasons We’d Want To Live In Pawnee (& 5 We Wouldn’t)
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