- During the seven-season run of “Parks and Recreation,” the show went to Washington, DC, a few times.
- Each time, at least a couple of well-known politicians would cameo as themselves.
- Joe Biden appeared as a present for Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), who harbored a huge crush on him.
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All across social media on January 2o, aka Inauguration Day, many “Parks and Rec” fans knew exactly how to express their feelings about the new president. All they had to do was look to a season five episode in which Leslie Knope meets her idol (and celebrity hall pass) Joe Biden, and can only ask incredulously if this is real life.
But the president isn’t the only political figure to appear on the show. Politicians from both sides of the aisle appeared on the NBC sitcom, from Newt Gingrich to Barbara Boxer.
Keep scrolling to see all 11 political cameos in “Parks and Recreation.”
Joe Biden appeared on two episodes of the show, making Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope overjoyed.
The future president appeared in two episodes of the show, season five’s “Leslie vs. April,” when Ben (Adam Scott) surprised Leslie with a meeting with Biden as an engagement present, spawning many a reaction GIF.
He popped up again in the series finale in a scene to establish that Leslie had game night buddies with the Bidens.
Future first lady Jill Biden also appeared alongside her husband.
The future FLOTUS popped up in the series finale, “One Last Ride,” alongside her husband to complain about Leslie’s obsession with game night and competitiveness.
Leslie met Michelle Obama in the season six finale.
During the episode, titled “Moving Up,” Leslie is introduced to Obama by Grant, an employee of the National Parks Service who is trying to convince Leslie to take a job with them, leaving Pawnee behind. Leslie was, understandably, starstruck.
Ben introduces Leslie to Senators Barbara Boxer and Olympia Snowe during a season five trip to DC.
During the season five premiere, “Ms. Knope Goes to Washington,” a few politicians appear, including California senator Boxer and Maine senator Snowe. Ben introduces Leslie to both of them, but she’s too busy focusing on her professional problems to really focus.
Boxer appeared again in season seven’s trip to DC, “Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington,” for a brief scene in which she supports Leslie.
Senator John McCain appeared in two episodes.
The Arizona senator first made an appearance in “Ms. Knope Goes to Washington” – Leslie is sitting, defeated, on the floor of the coat closet at a party and doesn’t even bother turning around when McCain attempts to grab his coat.
McCain returned in season seven’s “Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington,” when McCain asks Leslie, fairly, “Did anyone ever tell you that your tenacity can be intimidating?”
Jim O’Heir’s bumbling Jerry Gergich gets confused by the similar-sounding name of Newt Gingrich in season five.
The 50th Speaker of the House appeared in the season five episode “Two Parties.” Ben’s bachelor party turns into six mini-bachelor parties – and Ron’s party takes the crew to a steakhouse where Gingrich happens to be dining as well. Jerry mistakenly thinks his name was called (the “Gergich party”), and the guys almost steal Gingrich’s table.
Madeleine Albright helps Leslie talk some feelings out over waffles in season seven.
Albright, the former secretary of state, appears in a scene in “Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington” to help Leslie work out her feelings about her friend and mentee April’s decision to leave the National Parks Service – of course, the conversation happens over waffles.
Senator Cory Booker tries to convince Leslie to see his Polynesian folk music duo, Across the Isle.
The New Jersey politician has a scene in “Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington” in which he tries to convince Leslie to see one of their shows.
The other half of Across the Isle is former Utah senator Orrin Hatch.
The “Across the Isle” pun clearly refers to Hatch and Booker’s opposing political stances, as well as a nod to the Polynesian Islands – isle/aisle, get it?
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also appears in the season seven episode.
Gillibrand is accosted by Leslie on the streets of DC – Leslie asks Gillibrand to sign her copy of the senator’s book, “Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World.”